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The National Science Foundation area of the USA Science and Engineering Festival will have a UT feel thanks to a spot in the prestigious event going to CURENT, the Center for Ultra-Wide-Area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks.

“Being able to take part in events like this helps serve as a way to educate the public about what CURENT does, but to do so in an engaging, entertaining way,” said College of Engineering Dean Wayne Davis. “Any time you have a chance to make a positive impression on young minds it’s a great opportunity.”

The largest science festival in the country, the gathering is sponsored by groups like Lockheed Martin, 3M, Northrop Grumman, and the National Security Agency, and will include appearances from speakers as diverse as Bill Nye the Science Guy and television host Mike Rowe.

Housed in the Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building in UT’s College of Engineering, CURENT is a UT-led multi-institution research group focused on making the electrical grid more efficient, particularly in the area of energy transportation.

Along those lines, their presentation at the festival will be “Powering Today and Tomorrow,” a look at solar energy and how it could be better utilized.

Participants will be able to design their own energy circuits and race solar-powered cars as part of the exploration of how the sun’s energy—said to be 20,000 times more than what is consumed—might hold the key to our future energy needs.

As part of the festival, students and adults will have the chance to take part in more than 3,000 activities or presentations.

“CURENT is honored to represent the National Science Foundation and the University of Tennessee as one of sixteen engineering research centers at the festival,” said CURENT Communications Coordinator Adam Hardebeck. “Being a part of the largest science festival in America provides us with an opportunity to connect with young people and showcase the fascinating research going on in our center.”

Participating groups include universities, museums, and public television stations, and will feature everything from robotic snakes to tsunami simulations. Additionally, there will be music, magic, and other entertainment.

The fair runs Friday through Sunday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

For more on CURENT, click here.

For more on the USA Science and Engineering Festival, click here.

For more on the College of Engineering, click here.


David Goddard (865-974-0683,