September 29, 2011

6 Min Read
USA Science & Engineering Festival Expands for 2012

The Nation’s largest celebration of science and engineering, the USA Science & Engineering Festival, is returning to Washington, D.C., April 28-29, 2012. Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, hosts of the Discovery Channel's hit TV series MythBusters, and Bill Nye the Science Guy, are among the science superstars signed up to join the Festival Expo at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and other key locations in the greater District of Columbia area. The 2012 Festival will include a new book fair and career pavilion as part of the Finale Expo.

The USA Science & Engineering Festival, hosted by Lockheed Martin, is focused on encouraging the next generation of engineers, scientists, and technologists, and to increase public awareness of the importance of science and math education.

“Lockheed Martin is proud to again be the presenting host of the USA Science & Engineering Festival,” says Dr. Ray O Johnson, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Lockheed Martin Corporation and Festival co-creator. “As a nation, we must recognize the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math education for our security and economic strength. Student success depends on cooperation and collaboration of industry, educators, policy makers and families."

A report delivered to Congress last fall found that the U.S., a world leader in nearly every respect, ranks 48th in terms of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. The Department of Labor has identified U.S. students' lackluster performance in math and science, as well as an increase in global competition, as a new economic and technological vulnerability comparable to a military or terrorist threat.

The highly successful inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival, the Nation’s first and only national science festival, included nearly one million participants across the U.S. in the month-long celebration. The culmination of the Festival was a two-day expo on the National Mall in October 2010, and included over 2000 hands-on activities and 100 live performances, made possible by more than 500 scientific organizations.

“The 2012 USA Science & Engineering Festival is already shaping up to be much larger than our inaugural event,” said high-tech serial entrepreneur Larry Bock, executive director and Festival co-creator. “With nearly eight months before our finale event, we already have more sponsors, partners, performers and exhibitors than we did for our first event. We look forward to bringing even more passion and excitement for the sciences and engineering to children and families across the nation and around the world.”

The newly-created science and engineering-related book fair will focus on authors with significant works in the science and engineering fields geared toward a K-12 level of scientific understanding. During the Expo, more than thirty notable authors will give 50-minute presentations on their books, including a 15-minute question and answer session, followed by a book signing. Authors include award-winning children’s science authors Seymour Simon, Joy Hakim, Sean Connolly, Dia Michels, and Bruce Degen. Professional scientists and authors Lisa Randall, Robin Cook, Homer Hickam, Jeffrey Bennett, and Celeste Baine. The Festival organizers encourage publishers to nominate national authors who have published books from January 2011 through April of 2012 in the areas of science, math, engineering, technology, and innovation to participate in the book fair.

Students and adults will have the opportunity to explore tomorrow’s hot careers in areas such as renewable energy, robotics, space tourism, nanotechnology, virtual reality, clean technology, genetics, education, and many other exciting fields. Visitors will have the chance to meet real-life role models in STEM; find out about internships, mentorships, scholarships and after-school programs; meet representatives from some of the leading colleges and universities focused on STEM; and meet some of the companies now recruiting STEM-related professionals.

Leading science celebrities like Bill Nye the Science Guy and Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage of the MythBusters will appear live during the finale Expo. Also scheduled to appear are Jeff Lieberman from Discovery Channel’s series Time Warp and Apollo Robbins, the Gentleman Thief from National Geographic’s Brain Games. Similar to last year, Festival staff members are currently working to recruit cast members from many other popular scientific TV shows as performers at the finale event. 

Science entrepreneurs, who are veritable rock stars in the business world, will participate, including: Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla; renowned video game developer and space tourist Richard Garriott and Kevin Kinsella, founder of more than 60 scientific companies and a Tony Award Winner. These entrepreneurs are sure to inspire today’s youth regarding the many opportunities that exist in science careers.

Several special events are scheduled for the 2012 Festival, including: The World’s Largest Science Cheer, led by Science Cheerleader, Science for Citizens, and Discover Magazine, a Star Gazing Party hosted by Celestron, Ellipse Day with Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), Kavli Foundation Science Video Contest, The Grand Challenges 60 Second Pitch Contest by, in addition to many nationwide contests and satellite events.

Friday, April 27, 2012 will be an invitation-only sneak peek for students and teachers from area and underserved schools, home school groups, military families, government officials and media. April 27-28, 2012 will be open to the public.

In the days leading up to the Festival finale event, the USA Science & Engineering Festival will connect middle and high school students in the greater Washington, DC area with more than 125 of the nation’s most dynamic and influential scientists and engineers through its Nifty Fifty program, sponsored by AT&T. The Festival carefully selected participants, representing all ages, different fields, with diverse talents and backgrounds – to present their stories on science and engineering.

Speakers scheduled to participate in the 2012 Nifty Fifty program, include: the “Father of Green Chemistry,” Paul Anastas; the first female private space explorer, Anousheh Ansari; science Pulitzer Prize winner, Natalie Angier; Human Genome Project leader, Francis Collins; NASA Deputy Administrator, Lori Garver; Titanic exploration leader, David Gallo; original storm chaser, Dr. Josh Wurman; Dr. Karen Panetta with Nerd Girls; and many others.

The “Lunch with a Laureate” program is a rare opportunity for a small group of middle and high school students to engage in informal conversations with 15 Nobel Prize winning scientists during a brown bag lunch. Students will learn first hand about exciting scientific discoveries, hear about the trials and tribulations of fast-paced research, and find out what makes a Nobel Laureate tick. Laureates scheduled to participate include: Dr. Peter Agre, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2003 for his discovery of aquaporins; John C. Mather, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006 for his work on the Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite (COBE); and William D. Phillips, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997 for his contributions to laser cooling.

For more information on the USA Science & Engineering Festival, visit

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