On October 23rd and 24th, the National Mall in Washington, DC will be buzzing with scientists and engineers, and you’re invited to join them. From 10am to 5:30pm (both Saturday and Sunday), the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival is celebrating science and engineering with over 1,500 hands-on activities and 75 stage-shows and performances.

The Exchange will be joining in on the fun, along with NAS, NAE, IOM and NRC, in the “Because Dreams Need Doing” tent for two days of not-to-be-missed exhibits and performances. Learn to “Be a Bone Detective” using fried chicken, take a distracted-driving simulator test or see real props from Disney’s TRON: Legacy, whatever floats your scientific boat.

Plus, if entertainment & science is your thing (and it’s certainly ours), the USA Science & Engineering Festival is a dream come true. We’ve collected a list of science & entertainment-related exhibits and performances you’re sure to love:

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TRON: Legacy and the NAE Grand Challenge for Engineering

Explore the visually-stunning cyber universe of Disney's upcoming theatrical release TRON: Legacy in an exhibit co-created by Disney, the National Academy of Engineering, and leading educational experts. Families and kids of all ages will see real props from the film including Kevin Flynn's Light Cycle and participate in interactive activities being developed especially for this event. These activities draw upon the art & engineering of filmmaking and themes from the film, including cyber-security and virtual reality, two of this century's Grand Challenges for Engineering. Hosted by the National Academy of Engineering. Booth 102


The Hub: Transformers Replica

12 - 18 foot tall replica of a character from Transformers outside the Science Channel booth space. Hosted by the Science Channel. Booth 103


Discovery 3D

Experience the power of the future of television with Discovery Channel in 3D. Hosted by the Science Channel. Booth 103.



The Scoop on Crime Scene Investigation: Separating Fact from Fiction

You've seen crime scene techs at work on television and in the movies. It's often this forensic evidence that clinches the case. But how does that translate into real life? Is forensic science as powerful as we're led to believe by watching television? Go behind the scenes of CSI Miami with writers from the show and then compare what you see in your living room to what happens in the courtroom as lawyers from The Innocence Project explain how they use science to free defendants who have been wrongly convicted. Hosted by the Science & Entertainment Exchange. Oct 23rd * 24th, 11:30am & 3:30pm in Booth 102


Disney’s TRON: Legacy Captured on Stage

Using a "Moven" motion capture suit is one of Hollywood's newest techniques for advanced special effects sequences and computer-enhanced scenes. See the suit demonstrated live on stage by experts from Vicon and learn how moviemakers use engineering to go from being technicians to magicians. Hosted by the National Academy of Engineering. Oct 24th, 10am in Booth 102


The Engineering Behind Disney’s Magic with Lanny Smoot

Imagineers are the creative force behind major Disney projects. They use creativity, storytelling, and engineering to surround guests in immersive experiences. See one of Disney's top Imagineers, Lanny Smoot, give a behind-the-scenes look into what makes this possible. Hosted by the National Academy of Engineering. Oct. 23rd, 2pm & Oct. 24th, 4pm in Booth 102


The Physics of Superheroes

Come see Physics Professor James Kakalios present at the AAAS "Meet the Scientists!" stage show! Dr. Kakalios will discuss elements of his work as a researcher in physics, contributor to Hollywood movies like "Watchmen" and author of a book about the science behind superheroes. Enjoy the engaging presentation, then ask questions and interact with him off stage! Hosted by AAAS. Oct. 24th, 1pm at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium.


Everything I Know About Science I Learned From Reading Comic Books

Have you ever wondered how strong you would have to be to "leap a tall building in a single bound?" Was it "the fall" or "the webbing" that killed Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man's girlfriend in the classic Amazing Spider-Man # 121? How does Kitty Pryde from the X-Men comics and movies use quantum mechanics to walk through walls? All this, and the answers to such important real life questions as the chemical composition of Captain America's shield, and who is faster: Superman or the Flash? will be discussed. Find out if Superhero comic books get their science right more often than one would expect. Hosted by the University of Minnesota. Oct. 23rd, 2pm at the National Museum of Natural History.


Hollywood Movie Physics

Have you ever watched a Hollywood action or science fiction movie and asked yourself, "could that really happen?" Well that's what this interactive presentation is about. We are going to use some basic physics to analyze and de-construct some of the most famous cinematic action sequences. For example could a bus really jump a 50 ft. gap in the freeway as it does in the movie Speed? What would really happen if the Earth's magnetic field disappeared like it does in The Core? Could a nuclear bomb blow apart an asteroid? Is warp drive possible? What are some of the scientific issues relevant to becoming a Superhero? These are the type of questions we will tackle as we present a variety of clips from Hollywood blockbusters and delve into each scene armed with a few fundamental principles of physics. The results should be informative, educational and often quite humorous.Oct. 23rd, 3pm at the National Museum of Natural History.

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