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March 26, 2013

SDSU boasts scientific research

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Written by: Will Houston

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03_26_13_News_ScienceSampler1_JMLast week, San Diego’s scientific community kicked off the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering to educate the public and display the city’s scientific prowess to the world. San Diego State’s College of Sciences and Engineering also joined in the festivities by hosting the SDSU Science Sampler on campus last Friday.

Faculty and students from SDSU’s science departments opened their doors and minds to the public to showcase SDSU’s ongoing scientific research. A number of expositions were presented during the three-hour event, including a tour of the night sky in the campus planetarium, a look into the human brain with MRI research, and making ice cream using the cryogenic power of liquid nitrogen.

Many of the expositions aimed for the involvement of the younger community by allowing them to not only view, but also to interact with researchers. Some of the children at the event seemed to know more about the names and positions of the stars than typical 21-year-old science students.

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One of the expositions in SDSU’s award-winning Visualization Center explained how the advancement of science and technology are helping to connect and create a better future. VizCenter Director Eric Frost, explained how SDSU students are helping to locate Haitian refugee camps and provide food using open-source tools, such as Google Maps and NASA technology. Currently, students in Frost’s master’s program are working with international students to find and help refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.“The best way to teach about a disaster is to work on a disaster,” Frost said in his lecture.

Frost said the students in his program gain a greater educational experience by knowing they are helping others and not only obtaining a grade.

“The purpose of our program is to address the question of how we get students to get a passion for helping others,” Frost said.

The exposition at the Donald P. Shiley BioScience Center put on a grand display its research in heart disease. A large screen in the Alan and Debbie Gold Auditorium for the Life Sciences showed a heart rate monitor, which could be linked to any visitor who dared to show off their life-bearing pulse. One of the tables in the room showcased pig hearts, which were dissected in order to show the various chambers within them. Tours of the BioScience Center labs were also given to those who wanted greater insight into the diligent lifestyle of a scientific researcher.

The SDSU Science Sampler provided a chance for the public to have an in-depth view of what happens in San Diego’s scientific community and garner a deeper understanding of its applications in the modern world.

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