February 14, 2001

More Information


Contact: Jill Hummels, School of Engineering, (785) 864-2934.

Engineering Expo designed to provide fun for all

LAWRENCE -- A blockbuster, laser-emitting, waterlogging, high-flying Engineering Expo is being prepared for Friday, Feb. 23, at the University of Kansas.

The annual event begins at 9:30 a.m. and features a keynote speaker, exciting contests and mind-opening displays. Most events will take place at Learned Hall on the KU campus. This free extravaganza, put on by the students of the School of Engineering, is open to people of all ages, with elementary and secondary school students particularly encouraged to attend.

Engineering Expo showcases the many facets of engineering and how engineers touch the lives of everyone. Visitors, and especially students, will have an opportunity to learn about different engineering disciplines as well as how to have fun with science and exploration. The emphasis is on cool.

The day will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Swarthout Recital Hall with the Expo's keynote address by Milt Sills, a 1955 engineering graduate from KU and senior vice president of product engineering at Cessna Aircraft Co. in Wichita. Sills' address will be "What it Takes to Be a Real Engineer." Sills began his career as a U.S. Naval aviator and has worked as a flight test engineer for Boeing Military Airplane Co. and McDonnell Aircraft Co. He joined Cessna in 1965 as an engineering test pilot and his skills have taken him up the corporate ladder in the 35 years since.

At 10:30 a.m., displays will open in Learned Hall. Many displays will offer hands-on explorations of engineering and science. Expo visitors will be free to ask questions and explore the exhibits until they close at 4 p.m.

Design contests begin at 11 a.m. The contests, their sponsor and location are:

 • Pasta Bridge, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Learned Hall. The object is to build the strongest bridge possible using dried pasta and school glue. The bridge that can hold the greatest weight will be the winner.

 • Rocket-Powered Car, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Wescoe Beach. Students must build a small "car" powered solely by chemical reaction.

 • Popsicle Stick Tower, Architectural Engineering, Learned Hall. Several awards will be given for well-designed towers, made solely from wooden craft sticks and rubber bands, that demonstrate important construction principles.

 • Computer Programming, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Learned Hall. Students must demonstrate programming problem-solving skills by producing accurate solutions to programming tasks in the least amount of time. This brain-intensive team event is limited to two hours.

 • Rube Goldberg Machine, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Learned Hall. Contestants must build and demonstrate a machine that completes a simple task (in this case, turning on a light) in a tragically roundabout way.

 • Rubber-band Aircraft, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Learned Hall. Contestants must design and build a rubber-band powered aircraft. The craft that stays aloft for the longest time wins.

Students taking part in the competitions must be registered in advance, however anyone may watch the competition events.

For more information about expo or the competitive events, or to register for the contests, go to www.engr.ku.edu/~kuesc/expo/.

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