VIRGINIA TECH Science Festival - Science is bigger than you think! - Saturday, November 4, 2017
Science is bigger than you think!
Saturday, Nov 4, 2017

Plan Your Visit


Visit the Moss Arts Center, Alumni Mall, Henderson Lawn, Newman Library, and Torgersen Hall from 10 AM to 4 PM for all kinds of hands on science exhibits and fun. Attend Nutshell Games at 4:00 and Christopher Emdin's inspirational talk at 7:00. Also, don't forget to check the affiliated events for other events happening in the area. All Virginia Tech Science Festival activities are free and open to the public.

Download an Exhibitor Catalog: VTSF-ExhibitorCatalog2017.pdf

Download a Program: VTSF-Program2017.pdf


10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Festival Expo: Moss Arts Center, Newman Library, Torgersen Hall, Alumni Mall

4:00-5:30 PM
Nutshell Games: Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, Moss Arts Center

7:00 PM
An Evening with Christopher Emdin: STEM Education and Empowerment for the Rest of Y'all: Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, Moss Arts Center

Festival Exhibits

See also alphabetical listing.

Download an Exhibitor Catalog: VTSF-ExhibitorCatalog2017.pdf

Science is bigger than you think
Moss Arts Center, Turner Street entrance

Virginia Tech Science Festival

Science is on the road
Alumni Mall

Autism sensory, social, and cognitive exploration
Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research
Ages 5 and up

Hands-on activities will show sensory, social, and cognitive features related to autism spectrum disorder.

Human Powered Submarine
Human Powered Submarine
Ages 8 and up

The Human Powered Submarine (HPS) Team is a student-run engineering design team. The team's mission is to design, build, and race submarines that are propelled solely by human power. Having just come out of a competition cycle, the team is now working to design a completely new submarine.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle
Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team at Virginia Tech
Ages 5 and up

Student engineering design team converting a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid-electric vehicle as part of the EcoCAR3 competition - a competition sponsored by the US Department of Energy and General Motors.

Off road vehicle design
Baja SAE at Virginia Tech
Ages 5 and up

Baja SAE is a competition that simulates real-world engineering design projects and their related challenges. Every year the VT Baja team is tasked to design and build an off-road vehicle that will survive the severe punishment of rough terrain, and the harsh environment of competition.

Patient Transport
Carilion Clinic
All ages

Hands-on display of Carilion Clinic ambulances of varying sizes and types. Kids are welcome to climb on board and see what the inside of an ambulance is like!

Planet Size Comparison
Design for America
Ages 5 and up

We know planets are big, but how big is big? Which planets are similar in size? How big is Earth compared to other planets? Come find out the answers to these questions and more!

VT Motorsports Formula SAE
VT Motorsports Formula SAE
All ages

VT Motorsports Formula SAE is a student design team where we design, build, test, and compete two formula style race cars. We have a combustion car and a fully electric car, and sub systems that correspond to different aspects of the car.

Science is the earth
Moss Arts Center, Balcony Lobby

Become a Watershed Detective!
Virginia Tech LEWAS Lab
All ages

Where does all the Blacksburg rain go? Discover for yourselves with our interactive touchscreen display and a virtual reality site visit! Find out how the LEWAS Lab uses a Raspberry Pi, Python computer code, and water sensors to remotely monitor the Stroubles Creek watershed.

The Changing Technology on the Trail
CHCI: Technology on the Trail
Ages 5 and up

Hiking provides the opportunity to connect with nature. With new emerging technologies today, they are replacing older gear in favor of digital devices that can do it all. But does the newer gear mean better? Come interact with both, the new and the old, and choose for yourself!

Creating Tomorrow's Community Places: the world of landscape architecture
Landscape Architecture Program at VT
ASLA-VT: student chapter of the ASLA
Ages 8 and up

Creating fun, healthy community places takes more than pretty design. Come plan an art museum, a park or a shopping area using your knowledge of art, engineering, natural sciences, and people.

From your faucet to the ocean, how our Watershed Works.
American Water Resources Association Chapter at Virginia Tech
Ages 5 and up

This exhibit displays how water flows throughout our watershed. A source of pollution can travel a long way, affecting many plants and critters.

Looking Down is Looking Up— How Aerial Photography and Geospatial Data Illuminate Our Communities
Geography/Forestry/Virginia View
Virginia Geospatial Extension Program
All ages

Our exhibit introduces visitors of all ages, and levels of interest, to basic methods for examining the Earth's surface to see how people use the landscape, and our impacts, at varied scales. For many visitors, viewing how familiar local landscapes change over time is especially engaging.

Shape your own watershed with the Augmented Reality Sandbox
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
All ages

How do mountains and valleys in a watershed affect streams and rivers? Shape your own watershed using DEQ's Augmented Reality Sandbox! Build a dam and see how that changes the flow of water. Make it rain and watch how the rainwater runs off into the streams and river -- in augmented reality!

Stream Team Build-A-Stream
Virginia Tech Stream Team (Dept. of Biological Sciences)
All ages

The landscape around a stream affects how streams flow and change over time. Design your landscape and discover how the stream responds with our hands-on stream table. Come build a stream with us to see how it works!

Science is in the Cube
Moss Arts Center, Cube

3D Printing
Virginia Tech DREAMS Lab
All ages

Come and learn about 3D printing with the Virginia Tech DREAMS Lab! Visitors can interact with 3D printed objects, learn about different kinds of 3D printers, and see firsthand our 3D printing robot and small-scale machines!

Bringing Fossils Back to Life: An Immersive Fossil Excavation (Promo)
VT Paleobiology & Geobiology
All ages

Last summer ICAT joined the VT Paleobiology Research Group in the Triassic redbeds of Wyoming for the excavation of a phytosaur skeleton. Presented in 360 3D, this promo will give the audience an immersive view on what it’s like to dig up fossils! Full experience to come in the spring.

Science is bigger than you think
Moss Arts Center, Grand Lobby

Greg Kennedy, Innovative Juggler
Innovative Juggler
All ages

Originally trained as an engineer, Greg uses the principles of geometry and physics to create groundbreaking work with original apparatus. Jugglers know him for his award-winning creativity. Audiences know him for his entertaining performance, making visual spectacles by combining art and science.

Harness the potential of biology
Novozymes Biologicals
All ages

At Novozymes Biologicals we have a passion for harnessing the potential of biology! We do this by using bacteria in unique and exciting ways. In our project we will display how we use bacteria in everyday life and how they impact each and every one of us.

Incredible Wearables
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Ages 5 and up

Design a wearable device that will record biological signals to help you make informed decisions about your health. The 4-H National Youth Science Day challenge will focus on three important topics: engineering design, wearable technology, and health monitoring.!about-nysd

Virginia Tech Science Festival

Making Science Fun
Science Museum of Western Virginia
All ages

The Science Museum of Western Virginia is making science fun with hands-on activities that showcase the science of our incredible exhibits and programs.

Meteorology Club at Virginia Tech
Ages 5 and up

See the wonderful mystery that is the weather. See weather up close and personal with a tornado in a bottle, instant snow, and much more.

Virus Tracker
Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech
All ages

Virus Tracker is an educational game that can transform any event into a full-blown zombie epidemic. Players score points by passing on your zombie virus to other players or curing them with the latest vaccine. The game creates a map of all interactions—information that helps real-life scientists.

Weather School
WDBJ Television
Ages 5 and up

From clouds in a bottle to why are hurricanes so strong this year? Our meteorologists are here to answer your questions!

Science is sensory-friendly
Moss Arts Center, Room 251

Sensory-friendly space
Center for Autism Research at Virginia Tech

Science is robotics
Moss Arts Center Grand Staircase

Assistive Robotics
Assistive Robotics Lab in the Mechanical Engineering Dept. at VT
Ages 5 and up

See a back exoskeleton designed to help its wearers lift up heavy boxes. A high-powered prosthetic leg includes the knee and ankle joints. Both projects are from the Assistive Robotics Lab in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Virginia Tech.

E-NABLE: A Global Network of Volunteers Providing Free Open-Source 3D-Printed Assistive Devices
Ages 5 and up

E-Nable is a global network of over 10,000 volunteers in more than 40 countries who provide free open-source 3D-printed assistive devices to anyone who can use them. Mechanical hands printed and assembled on site, with finished devices on display. Hands-on assembly opportunities.

Improving Ergonomics with 3D Printing
Formy, Inc.
All ages

Blacksburg startup Formy demonstrates how 3D scanning and 3D printing can be used to create more comfortable hand grips for products.

Terrestrial Robotics Engineering and Controls
Mechanical Engineering Department
All ages

Participants will interact with robots developed by students in the Mechanical Engineering Robotics Lab. Learn about the humanoid robots ESCHER, THOR, and DARWIN, who plays soccer! Talk to the students who work with them daily and learn how to get into the field of robotics.

WDL Systems & ICOP presenting 3D printers and interactive DIY Arduino Robotics projects
WDL Systems
Ages 5 and up

WDL Systems, with our manufacturing partner ICOP, will be displaying 3D printers and interactive Arduino-based DIY robotics projects. Join us to win 3D prints, play with our Arduino-based projects, and ask us questions about our products or related topics.

Science is in the arts
Moss Arts Center Learning Studio, Room 253

Direct your own virtual concert!
Noah Miller Lab
Ages 5 and up

Using virtual reality, you will be able to be the director of a concert with natural hand motions in an immersive environment.

Kid-made Electronic Musical Instrument
Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology
Center for Research in SEAD Education
Ages 5 and up

ICAT's Instrument Maker Camp teaches kids to design an electronic musical instrument from a Raspberry Pi computer, junk, wires, and some coding. Talk to the kids and see an example of what they made.

Musical Robots: MechXylos, Global-Standpoint
All ages

Mechanical contraptions with a fondness for music!

The Nature of Art
Children's Museum of Blacksburg
All ages

From Fibonacci to fun, explore math, science, problem-solving, and beauty in nature-inspired art. Join us for a hands-on, play-based community art experience with a twist!

Science is hands on
Moss Arts Center Learning Studio, Room 253

Children's Teddy Bear Clinic
Carilion Children's
Carilion Clinic
All ages

Come to our virtual clinic where you can view simulated X-rays of body areas, take vital signs, listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope, and make a hospital-type bracelet to wear.

Seeing Engineering Everywhere
Virginia Tech Partnering with Educators and Engineers in Rural Schools (VT PEERS)
Ages 8 and up

Explore the engineering design process as you disassemble, troubleshoot, and explore the function of everyday objects.

Science is messy
Moss Arts Center Portico and Lawn

Agriculture in Your Life
Ag Econ Club
All ages

Join Virginia Tech's Ag Econ Club to learn about agriculture in Virginia, what we grow, how it contributes to our economy, and how it plays a role in our lives. Come make a grain jar with us and see our state's agriculture for yourself!

Are you Gellin'?
Department of Chemistry
Robert B Moore Research Group
All ages

Gels exist everywhere, from the foods we eat to the shampoos we use to wash our hair. This exhibit will teach the basic concepts of gelation using hands-on demonstrations that are fun for all ages. Experiments will explore everything from gel formation to gel properties and real-life applications.

Exploring the Solar System (in person?)
Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society
Ages 5 and up

Join local amateur astronomers as they explore our Solar System through hands-on activities for all ages. Discuss the effects of long-duration missions beyond Earth’s orbit on the human body with Dr. Dwight Holland, past president of the International Space Medicine Association.

Galipatia Marshmallow Towers
Center for Enhancement of Engineering Diversity
All ages

Join the students of the Galipatia Living Learning Community and use your engineering skills to build a tower with marshmallows and toothpicks.

Moving Slime, Bottle Rockets, and Super-absorbent Polymers
Alpha Chi Sigma
All ages

Make goo move with magnets, compete with friends and family to shoot off film canister rockets, and watch a powder expand to many times its original size! All while learning about the chemistry that makes these things possible.

Curie and DaVinci Living Learning Community
All ages

Our project is Oobleck. We will introduce visitors to Oobleck and let them touch and play with it first hand. We will teach them about non newtonian fluids and get them interested in hands on science.

Soil Judging
Soil Judging Club at Virginia Tech
Ages 8 and up

As soil judgers, we assess the landscape and the color, texture, and structure of soils to consult landowners on how to best use their land. Our goal is to spread knowledge about soil science to many age groups, so that everyone can understand the importance and beauty of soil.

Science is life
Moss Arts Center Mezzanine Lobby

Conservation and Bio-Fact Station
Mill Mountain Zoo
Ages 5 and up

Conservation issues often seem far away or beyond our control, but small actions can have a big impact. Through games, educational materials and bio-facts, Mill Mountain Zoo will help educate people on the challenges facing animals and habitats across the globe and in our own backyard.

Creepy Carnivorous Plants
Hahn Horticulture Garden
All ages

Plants have amazing adaptations that help them to survive! Check out some creepy carnivorous plants and learn why they evolved to have the ability to consume insects.

Fishing is More Fun with a Well-Managed Population
Virginia Tech Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Ages 5 and up

New River walleye are adapted to life in the river. Managers used to stock non-native walleye. Each spring, we collect spawning walleye and examine their genetics. Native individuals are spawned in a hatchery and their young are stocked in the river to restore the native population.

Fossil Identification in Action
Paleobiology and Geobiology Research Group
Global Change Center
All ages

The Virginia Tech Paleobiology Research Group explores and studies the breadth of the fossil record in comparison with living animals in order to understand evolution. We will show how to use bony features to learn how animals move, grow, and eat.

How do flying snakes "stick" the landing?
The Socha Lab Biomedical engineering and mechanics
Ages 11 and up

Flying snakes are amazing because of their gliding abilities, but they are also impressive climbers! To be able to land on trees and climb steep slopes, the snakes must be able to grab onto things. Come find out how these snakes hang on without hands, and how we study the friction they experience!

Inside Reptiles (and You)
McGlothlin Lab at Virginia Tech
All ages

See how we use X-rays to look at lizard bones, and discover what bones can tell us about how other animals are related to us!

Microbial World
Microbiology Club at Virginia Tech
All ages

Learn about the microbial world around, on and within you. Participants will use microscopes,observe live microbes on Petri dishes and learn the importance of proper hand washing.

The PASSER Project: A Computer Automated Feeding System in use from Virginia to Peru
Radford University's Ecophysiology Lab
All ages

The PASSER Project automates the collection of biological and environmental data of feeding behaviors of bird populations. The PASSER Project has also been used to study primate feeding behaviors in the Amazon rainforest of Peru. Our "Human Feeder," which dispenses M&M's for human consumption, will display how the PASSER system works.

Plants, prizes, selfies, and specimens with the Massey Herbarium
Massey Herbarium
Biological Sciences Department
All ages

Get an inside look at the Massey Herbarium, Virginia’s largest scientific plant collection! Take a selfie at our Specimen Selfie Station using real specimens and collecting gear! Make your own miniature plant specimen to take home! Come spin the Botanical Wheel of Destiny!

Strawberry DNA Extraction
Biomedical Engineering Society
Ages 8 and up

Ever wonder what DNA looks like? Stop by and we will guide you through the process of DNA extraction of a strawberry. You can even take home a sample of the DNA you extract!

Science is process
Newman Library Multipurpose Room, Room 101, and adjoining lobby

The Balance of Nature
Interfaces of Global Change
All ages

There are so many beautiful things to touch, taste, smell, hear, and see all around us thanks to the Earth. But did you know that the Earth needs us to help keep it healthy? Come learn about ways that you can help take care of our planet and keep nature in balance.

Game Changineer
Virginia Tech
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Ages 8 and up

Computational thinking and programming video games in plain English. Create your video game in just minutes, with an option to share your game. Computing concepts of abstraction, object-oriented design, algorithmic thinking, problem solving, debugging, and critical thinking are incorporated.

Virginia Tech Science Festival

Let's Be Scientists!
Virginia Career VIEW, Virginia Tech School of Education
Ages 5 and up

Virginia Career VIEW will focus on exploring what it means to be and think like a scientist: to Question, Experiment, and Share, through hands-on activities focused on participant-led questioning...what happens if?, guessing (hypothesizing), and testing. Printable resources provided.

Library Technology Showcase
University Libraries
Ages 5 and up

Newman Library has tons of innovative and fun technology to support teaching and learning. Join us for a hands-on introduction to 3D-printing, virtual reality, educational toys, creative design, and more. Be sure to also check out our Places and Spaces: Mapping Science exhibit on the fourth floor.

NanoEarth: What is Nano and What Does It Have to Do with the Earth and the Environment?
All ages

Nanotechnology is everywhere: in your smartphone, in your food, and in nature. But what can nanotechnology do for the Earth? And what can it mean for the environment? Come find out at the NanoEarth booth!

T.E.K. Robotics at Virginia Tech
Ages 8 and up

T.E.K. Robotics strives to engage school-age children in STEM education through hands-on activities. By allowing kids to accomplish simple objectives using remote-controlled robots, we hope to spark their curiosities into how these machines work.

Scoring an A+ in Scientific Research
Good Laboratory Practice Program, College of Veterinary Medicine
Society of Quality Assurance
Ages 5 and up

Put on your lab coat, set up your test tubes, grab your checklist and learn why Quality Assurance (QA) is important to research! Perform an experiment as the Laboratory Scientist or act as the QA Auditor and check the experimental results for completeness and accuracy. Discover how QA is done!

Virus Tracker
Public Health Association, Department of Population Health Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech
Ages 5 and up

Virus Tracker exhibit in the Moss Arts Center. Virus Tracker is an educational game that can transform any event into a full-blown zombie epidemic. Score points by passing on your zombie virus to other players or curing them with the latest vaccine.

Science is process
Newman Library Fusion Studio, Room 2038

A Baby Grand Piano for your Backpack
Octivs Inc. (Soon to be Octave Inc)
All ages

Octave's Modular Electric Piano is changing the way pianists play on the go, with a weighted electric MIDI piano that fits in your backpack. For melodies that are always with you, Octave's Modular Electric Piano is always in reach, exciting the next generation's pianists, producers, and performers.

Fusion Studio
University Libraries
Ages 11 and up

The Fusion Studio is a project space for undergraduate groups working on interdisciplinary projects. Come check out the studio and learn about Octivs, one of our project teams!

Science is process
Newman Library, Fourth floor

Places and Spaces: Mapping Science Exhibit
University Libraries
Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center
Ages 8 and up

This exhibit consists of over 100 static and interactive visualizations. Topics range from Ptolemy’s Cosmographia World Map to modern examples of ground-breaking geospatial, mathematical, and scientific concepts. The maps serve as fantastic examples of the intersection of art, design, and science.

The Virtual Environments Studio
University Libraries
Ages 5 and up

Come see the Virtual Environments Studio, a new space in Newman library offering Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality experiences for patrons. We'll be showing off some popular VR experiences and explaining a little bit about how VR and AR technology works to visitors!

Science is entertainment

501st Legion Star Wars costuming group
501st Legion Garrison Tyranus
All ages

Star Wars costuming group celebrating creativity and giving back to the community.

Science is helpful
Torgersen Hall, Room 1070

Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies Presents Tools for the Classroom
Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS)
Ages 8 and up

Get a hands-on experience using tools that Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies a division of Information Technology offers to the Virginia Tech community. We will have hands-on demonstrations of 3d printers/software and Assistive Technologies that are used in the classroom.

Science is safety
Torgersen Hall, Room 1020

Helmet Lab
Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics
Ages 5 and up

Discover what current football and hockey helmets are made of and try your hand at building one yourself. Test your design against helmets that players wear to see which keeps you safer!

Deception of the Senses: Neuroscience Club at Virginia Tech
The Neuroscience Club at Virginia Tech
All ages

Taste Threshold participants will assess changes in their threshold of sweet taste before and after drinking Gymnema tea. Neuroplasticity participants will try to make the basketball into the hoop while wearing distortion goggles.

Glo Germ
Carilion Clinic
Carilion New River Valley Medical Center
Ages 5 and up

The Glo Germ "kit" shows kids where germs hide on their hands…even when they look clean. This interactive demonstration allows you to see the sticking power of germs, how they spread, and the necessity of good hand washing techniques!

Transportation in a disrupted world - Traveling safe
SAFE-D University Transportation Center
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
All ages

The way we move around is changing fast! New technologies and services like automated cars, Uber, and vehicle-sharing give us a lot of options and benefits, but they also can result in unintended challenges – particularly for families. Learn about how to stay safe while moving in this new world!

Science is sensory
Torgersen Hall, Room 1100

Can You See Me Now? Using Eye Tracking to Understand Babies and Kids
infant Language Emotion Attention Perception (iLEAP) Lab
Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech
All ages

We offer a fun series of movie clips (for example, scenes from UP) for free viewing on a laptop computer that is fitted with a portable eye tracker. We can replay the viewer's exact pattern of attention to each movie clip. These patterns tell us a lot about a child's attention and processing.

Flexing our muscle: an electrifying experience
Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech
Ages 8 and up

Learn how we can measure muscles' electrical signals and use them to play Dance Dance Revolution! We’ll show you how our team and the rest of the biomedical field is developing technologies to solve medical problems around the world!

Science is motion
Torgersen Hall, Room 1100, and Atrium

BOLT Electric Motorcycle
BOLT at Virginia Tech
Ages 8 and up

BOLT Electric Motorcycle at Virginia Tech is an interdisciplinary team which designs, builds and competitively races 100% electric motorcycles.

Virginia Tech Chem-E-Car Team
Ages 11 and up

We are tasked with building a shoebox-sized vehicle that is controlled by chemical reactions. The team applies fundamental chemical engineering principles, in addition to skills in programming and mechatronics, to control our vehicle.

Hands on with Space
Students for the Exploration and Development of Space
Ages 5 and up

Check out rocket parts, learn the basics about how a rocket engine works, and play with fun hands-on activities related to space!

Virginia Tech Science Festival

NASA's Wallops Flight Facility
All ages

Learn more about NASA's only owned and operated launch range that can be found in Virginia!

NRV Rocketry Come Fly With Us!
New River Valley Rocketry
Ages 8 and up

New River Valley Rocketry is a model and high power rocket club here in Blacksburg VA. We have a 10,000ft FAA flight waiver, experienced experts and industry safety standards to ensure all our monthly launches are fun, safe, and memorable for flyers and spectators alike.

Rocketry at Virginia Tech
New River Valley Rocketry and Tripoli Rocketry Association
All ages

Visit the club and undergraduate design team associated with the Virginia Tech Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department and New River Valley Rocketry. Our mission is to create an environment for students of all backgrounds and ages to learn and work together building rockets.

VT Physics Outreach
Virginia Tech Physics Department
All ages

The Physics Outreach team has many exciting and electrifying hands on demonstrations of physics concepts. Crowd participation is encouraged! Both young and old will be able to enjoy learning everything from what happens to marshmallows in space, to how electric generators work.

Science is well-being
Torgersen Hall Atrium

Breathe Better with Science
Jefferson College of Health Sciences
Carilion Clinic
Ages 5 and up

See real lungs and learn how they work and how they change when damaged by smoking or pollution. You will also see and feel how a special vest helps people with Cystic Fibrosis breathe better.

DermaScan Sun Damage Viewer
Carilion New River Valley Medical Center
Ages 5 and up

Sun Damage Viewer is a DermaScan electronic ultraviolet light source that enables you to view damaged skin on the face and neck area. It is not a diagnostic tool. Promotes preventative skin care, sun screen use, and regular skin check ups.

Virus Tracker Vaccinations
Carilion Children's
Biocomplexity Institute at Virginia Tech
Ages 5 and up

How fast can germs spread? Through interactive technology, event goers can see just how fast a virus can spread. Our staff will be on the scene to help “vaccinate” Science Festival attendees from the “zombie virus.”

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