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This Saturday I woke up feeling pretty bad. A few of my friends wanted to go to the Engineering Open House on Campus, and I managed to find some way to get dragged into it. I felt that it would be some drab academic material that would bore me to death.

So at around 11:00 we went walking around campus, and while we were walking down Mathews street, we saw people dropping cups from the second story of the Transportation Building. So we hurried into the building and up the stairs to find a buzzing line of people collecting materials to build a cushioning system to stop eggs from hitting the ground.

The rules were simple. Each group had 10 virtual dollars to buy either string, tape, newspaper, cotton-balls, ballons, or rubberbands. Everybody had to be creative in building their contraption. Some groups had balloons strung together to slowing down the falling egg. My favorite devise was just a cone of newspaper that was supposed to absorb the shock of the egg hitting the ground. But my group focused on a simple parachute, that worked really well, for our egg survived un-scathed.

Afterwards my group went to DCL. I saw an exibit with a microscope, so I decided to see what was magnified. There was an array of cells that I saw were adult mice stem cells. I learned that given certain chemicals, each stem cell could turn into a specialized type of cell, like bone or fat cells. I also found out that these cells needed very regulated conditions to survive, for many cells where shriviling up under the miscroscope.

We continued on to Siebel, where there was a virtual rality light sabre duel. I got a green “lightsabre” and an orange labcoat, while my opponent was in a different room, with a green labcoat and red lightsabre. There was a video that combined both of us in an image, and photo receptors that recorded when a lightsabre made contact with the similar color labcoat on the screen.

The experience was disorienting, since I didn’t know exactly where my opponent was supposed to be, so I lost. There was also a few second delay between my actions and what the screen showed, but the experience was pretty special.

My friends decided to go to the Hydrosystems Laboratory, so off we went. Inside, we competed to build boats from aluminum foil. I made a big boat, compared to my friends, which turned out to be a big mistake. My boat draged along the botton, while my friends small boats seem to cruise without difficulty.

At the other end of the building was a mixture of sans and water with a water punp simulationg water flow. We experienced how water can flow underneath the soil, erode the soil, and flow faster in narrower areas.

By the end of the Engineering Open House, I had learned that engineering wasn’t boring accademics, but could be fun and interesting. The hands-on exibits, such as the egg drop, and boat racing required creativity, and it was nice to watch my egg land safely, and the boat race was exciting. All in all, I intend to spend more time at the Engineering Open House next year.

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3 Comments

  1. Wow, EOH, wow.

  2. comment

  3. spam hat trick


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