December 2010

Inaugural USA Science and Engineering Festival a Rousing Success

This past October, ASBMB participated in the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival. More than 2,000 people stopped by the ASBMB exhibits to learn about the molecules of life and make a tasty DNA treat.

Science Festival
At the ASBMB “A Taste of Genetics” exhibit, participants made DNA out of licorice and marshmallows.

This past October, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology joined 850 other science organizations and universities at the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival. Under beautiful fall skies, more than half a million visitors attended the festival, spread out at four different locations around the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to participate in the 1,500 different exhibits and performances.

Among the countless informative and interactive booths, visitors could speak with astronauts, play soccer using robots, look at cells under a microscope and even touch a squid. In between visiting the booths, they could take time to watch some science comedy, magic shows, juggling and other stage acts that both entertained and educated.

ASBMB’s two exhibits, “Molecular Machines” and “A Taste of Genetics,” were extremely well-received – more than 2,000 curious individuals stopped by during the two-day event to learn more about the molecules of life and make a tasty DNA treat.

“While it was disheartening that no one under the age of 15 has ever heard of Watson and Crick, we are happy to report that more than 1,000 moms, dads and kids now know that life happens in water, or more specifically, that proteins fold in the polar, watery media of the cell, following basic principles of chemistry and physics,” said Tim Herman of the Center for BioMolecular Modeling at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, who oversaw the “Molecular Machines” booth.

“Overall, it was a wonderful experience for all the CBM staff, who had the opportunity to ponder questions like, ‘How does the cell remember the exact amino acid sequence of each of our 30,000 proteins?’ with the visitors who came to the ASBMB booth,” he continued.



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