Sandia brings the magic to Science Fiesta

By Whitney Lacy

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Annual fair for school children goes online

tree set on fire by solar power
SOLAR POWER — Sandia systems engineer Ken Armijo shared a video with New Mexico Science Fiesta participants, showing a Christmas tree being set afire by solar power on top of the Labs’ Solar Tower. (Images courtesy of New Mexico Science Fiesta)

In September, Sandia participated in the New Mexico Science Fiesta Expo, a weeklong STEM celebration hosted by Albuquerque’s Explora Museum. This year, the event was held online because of the pandemic, but children of all ages from across the state were treated to live-streamed events from more than 80 contributors, including Sandia, the Albuquerque Public Library, Science Girl’s Lab, and the University of New Mexico School of Engineering, among others.

The scheduled talks, demonstrations, tours and workshops were all held via Zoom meetings, and registered viewers were able to participate by asking questions during each live virtual event. The sessions were recorded so those who weren’t able to attend a live event can watch the videos on the New Mexico Science Fiesta YouTube channel.

In one event, Sandia solar systems engineer Ken Armijo took participants on a virtual tour of the Labs’ Solar Tower using Zoom technology and Google maps. When Ken showed a pre-recorded video of a pine tree being set afire by solar power, the Zoom board lit up with children excited to ask questions, which Ken happily accommodated.

LaRico Treadwell and colleagues doing experiment in parking lot
CHEMICAL SOLUTION — Sandia chemist LaRico Treadwell and colleagues performed socially-distanced chemistry experiments in the parking lot of the Advanced Materials Laboratory for the 2020 New Mexico Science Fiesta.

Several Sandians, including chemist LaRico Treadwell, in the Advanced Materials Laboratory hosted The Magic of Chemistry, performing multiple live-streamed experiments, including fan favorites such as Fun with Luminescence, the Importance of the Catalyst, and the ever popular Mentos in Soda Explosion. The faces of wowed children on the Zoom screens was enough to make LaRico laugh out loud.

Participation in the Science Fiesta is yet another important link in Sandia’s involvement with community events. For more information on upcoming educational events and volunteer opportunities, visit Sandia’s Community Involvement website.