Wittenberg Saturday Science is a new outreach program that exposes area high school and home school students to science and its many possibilities. Eight academic departments – biology, chemistry, computer science, geography, geology, mathematics, physics and psychology – are collaborating on the program, which is scheduled to run once a month during the school year.
Each program features a public presentation by a Wittenberg faculty member on an accessible science topic, likely something outside the typical high school curriculum. After a continental breakfast on the second floor of the David L. Hobson Atrium, students then take part in a hands-on science experience led by current Wittenberg students and their professors.
"The first time that a student sees science outside of a textbook can be a powerful experience – both for the student and the teacher," said Adam Parker, assistant professor of mathematics. "We hope that this outreach program will have a dramatic effect on both high school students from the Springfield area, as well as our current Wittenberg science majors."
"The development of the science of photography will be presented, beginning with the chemical processes involved in black and white film," Dudek said. "An overview of color film will then be given, followed by the workings of electronic photosensors.
"The lecture portion will end with an explanation of what different features in digital cameras are and how they work," he said. "During the hands-on portion of the session, students will make their own black and white prints, as well as explore the impact of different light sources on the exposure conditions."
The mathematics department hosted the first meeting of Wittenberg Saturday Science on January 24. Approximately 35 high school students, along with some of their teachers and parents, were in attendance for a presentation by Parker titled "The Symmetric World," which examined the mathematics behind some of the patterns seen in the brickwork, tiling, fabric, woodwork, or metalwork around campus, and laboratory experiments afterward.
The second meeting took place Feb. 21, featuring a presentation titled "How We See: From Eye To Brain," by Assistant Professor of Psychology Michael Anes. His presentation offered "a tour of the human visual system, a look at visual illusions that shed light on how we see, and discussion about how vision breaks down after brain damage."
The fourth and final Wittenberg Saturday Science of the 2008-09 school year will feature a presentation by Assistant Professor of Biology Michelle McWhorter in April.
There is no cost to participate in Wittenberg Saturday Science, and the public is welcome to attend the lecture portion. However, space is limited for the hands-on experience. Click here to register for the event, or click here to e-mail for more information.
Written By: Ryan Maurer
Photo By: Erin Pence
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