Engineering in spotlight at Night of the Open Door

February 23, 2015

How can you see heat? How can you get a balloon to rise 100,000 feet? How can you detect the germs that are all around you?

Want the answers to those questions and many others like them? Night of Open Door engineering Download Full Image

You can get them from about 200 students, faculty and staff members of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Night of the Open Door. The fun-filled, family-oriented event takes place from 4 to 9 p.m., Feb. 28, at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. 

University researchers and members of student organizations will conduct hands-on activities and demonstrations showing how engineering impacts our everyday lives.

You’ll see how solar cells can generate power to charge your cell phone – and how to build and race a small solar car made with LEGO building blocks.

Members of Daedalus Astronautics will open up their workshop to exhibit endeavors in rocketry. The student-directed research group ASCEND will showcase its efforts in designing and building high-altitude helium balloons.

Explore what amazing things are being made possible by 3-D printing technology and the advances in medical technology such as biosensors and other devices that promise to improve health care.

Learn from members of the Sun Devil Robotics club what new robotics technologies are in development.

See how ASU engineering students are learning to make bridges and similar structures that are stronger and can last longer.

Design, build and race small “roller-coaster cars” made from common household materials.

Children who attended an ASU engineering summer camp will display projects showing what they learned about the urban heat island effect and what can be done to deal with it.

“This is all about fun and interactive ways for children and their parents to learn together, to see all the things that engineering brings into our world,” said Jennifer Velez, a senior education outreach coordinator for the Fulton Schools of Engineering. “It’s a great way to light that spark of curiosity in kids about things they could do in their future careers."

The engineering exhibits are just one part of a wider array of attractions on campus that also showcase what’s happening at ASU in the sciences, arts and humanities. Dance, music, theater and poetry performances will be part of the festivities.

Now in its fourth year, Night of the Open Door – one of the signature events of Arizona SciTech Festival 2015 – has become the university’s largest open house gathering, drawing thousands of visitors.

In addition to activities provided by the Fulton Schools of Engineering, the Tempe campus event offers attractions presented by ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Biodesign Institute, the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the W. P. Carey School of Business and other ASU colleges, schools and programs.

Sponsors for this year’s event include Honeywell and ASU Summer Programs.

Read more about Tempe’s Night of the Open Door and other ASU Open Door events, and register early to receive a free gift the Tempe event.

You can also follow on Twitter: @ASUopendoor #ASUopendoor

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


New ASU book focuses on growing field of creative nonfiction

February 23, 2015

ASU professor Lee Gutkind, a writer, teacher and storyteller, said he knew he'd hit a home run a few years ago when he brought together a group of writers and scholars, and watched as they created compelling, fresh narratives that conveyed complex scientific information.

As Gutkind's team of storytellers began to develop engaging creative nonfiction stories around science, technology and innovation policy, their efforts spawned the narratives in "The Rightful Place of Science: Creative Nonfiction," the most recent volume in the book series from Arizona State University's Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes (CSPO).  The Rightful Place of Science: Creative Nonfiction Download Full Image

Creative Nonfiction is also the name of the first and largest literary magazine to publish narrative nonfiction exclusively, of which Gutkind is editor. A CSPO faculty member, Gutkind said the need for good storytelling is significant.

"Stories make a lasting impact on a large and diverse readership," he said. "This book is part of what is being called ‘the new narrative’ – collaborations written by teams of next-generation creative nonfiction writers and policy scholars.”

According to Gutkind, creative nonfiction is the fastest-growing writing genre in the publishing world.

"It means true stories well told, communicating ideas and information in an accessible narrative form to enlighten general readers," he said. "We are witnessing the beginning of a worldwide narrative movement that will make a lasting impact on a large and diverse readership.”

Edited by Gutkind, David Guston (co-director of CSPO) and Michael L. Zirulnik, this collection of narrative essays presents expert knowledge about science, technology and innovation policy, without the use of buzzwords and jargon, and is fifth in the series, which launched in 2013.

Editor of the book series, ASU professor G. Pascal Zachary said the stories explore the complex interactions among science, technology, politics and society.

“The narratives in this new book examine important policy issues with depth and vigor,” said Zachary. “But – uniquely, in terms of policy discussions – these stories bring the human element of these issues to the fore, making them more nuanced and engaging.”

This volume, along with the previous books in "The Rightful Place of Science" series (Politics, Biofuels, Government & Energy Innovation and Disasters & Climate Change), are available in print and e-book editions in the United States and Europe via

The Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes is a research center in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Jason Lloyd

Program manager, School for the Future of Innovation in Society