Pure Genius

Saturday was all banana hammers and bunny suits.

Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta held an event called Pure Genius at the Georgia World Congress Center. It ran from 10-5 but only took about two hours to see everything so we got there about 1:30. I’m glad we weren’t any later as about half the exhibits were closed at 3:30. Anyway, it was all about science and technology and there were many interesting exhibits, demonstrations and activities.

We got there just in time to see the liquid nitrogen demonstration led by a chemist and former Girl Scout leader named Jo Ann Arceneaux. She poured some of the nitrogen into a cooler and froze various objects to see what would happen. A balloon not only shriveled up but the carbon dioxide inside turned to a liquid. As it warmed up in the room air,  the carbon dioxide reverted back to a gas and it re-inflated. A stretched-out rubber band held its stretched out shape, a perfect rectangle. Next she froze a banana for a few minutes and then used it to hammer a nail into a board. We stopped by her station maybe 30-45 minutes later and the banana was still hard as a rock and very cold to the touch.

The big hit with the liquid nitrogen, though, was making ice cream. Dr. Arceneaux and her assistant poured half and  half, whipping cream, sugar and vanilla into a metal container, donned witches’ hats, then poured the nitrogen in and started stirring.

Stirring up some ice cream

Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn and caldron bubble

There was no fire, but plenty of smoke from the cold. They passed out cups of ice cream but there was always a line, so Katy didn’t get any.

There were two robotics exhibits. I don’t remember who built this first robot, some college I think, but it was designed to pick up balls and put them in a basket and was used in a competition.

Katy and the ball-picking-up robot

The Girl Scout First Lego Team was also there with some of their robots and projects. One of their projects was a wheel-chair back-up camera for a friend who kept plowing his wheel chair into people and objects behind him because he couldn’t see where he was going. The monitor is on the arm of the chair and can be folded down.  This board also shows some sensors they developed that beep when the chair gets too close to something, helpful for someone with vision problems who can’t see a monitor.

Katy checks out the gadgets on the wheelchair
The robotic team’s display and some of the team members

The Society of Women Engineers was there with several displays on lasers and how they work and various products they are used in.

Experimenting with a laser made from ruby

A popular booth was the EPA. The girls dressed in bunny suits and prepared to go into a contaminated area to clean it up. Don’t tear your suit or you’ll get contaminated! They didn’t get to try on any masks, but they did learn about them and how the different filters work.

Katy had a hard time with the hood
Receiving final instructions before going in

We didn’t get to some of the more popular activities, as it was pretty crowded. The girls made slime and lava lamps and built robots that were powered off of a computer. Katy’s done all those things, so it wasn’t too big of a loss.

There was a Lego engineering activity that was kind of neat. The girls had to copy a Lego structure in five minutes. Katy did hers perfectly in three and a half minutes. Some girls never managed it at all. They could work in pairs with one girl building and the other giving instructions. I started out giving instructions then got distracted, but Katy did better without me anyway.

Two identical structures! And one proud builder!

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