ARCHIVED - NRC at Work Promoting Science from Coast to Coast

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June 05, 2005— Ottawa, Ontario

Observing at the NRC-HIA Centre of the Universe in B.C.
Observing at the NRC-HIA Centre of the Universe in B.C.

From coast to coast, and abroad too, NRC is actively at work in the community, inspiring and challenging young minds, and showing Canadians how science is at work creating better lives for them. On a daily basis, most NRC facilities are closed to visitors. However through different outreach programs, the public has opportunities to find out about some of the cutting-edge research going on inside our doors.

Open Houses and Public Tours

From time to time throughout the year, NRC holds open houses to give the public an opportunity to see inside our state-of-the-art research facilities.

Ottawa, ON — In Ottawa over the years, young and old alike have flocked to several institutes, including historical 100 Sussex Dr. where Nobel Laureate Gerhard Herzberg worked, and the fire research labs on the Montreal Road campus. Especially popular with the younger crowd is the wind tunnel, where young people easily identify with aerodynamics demonstrations during the open house. NRC will participate in Doors Open Ottawa once again, June 4th and 5th, 2005. Visit Doors Open Ottawa for more details.

Captivating the interest of young minds: an NRC employee showcasing the Periodic Table of Elements
Captivating the interest of young minds: an NRC employee showcasing the Periodic Table of Elements

Penticton, B-C — On the other side of the country in British Columbia, astronomy buffs have a chance to visit NRC research facilities in Penticton during its annual open house. This year's event is planned for September 24th and always draws large crowds. During the summer months, on weekends and holidays, visitors are welcome at this facility, the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory.

Victoria, B-C — Year-round NRC's Centre of the Universe astronomy education facility in Victoria interprets the night skies to student groups and public alike. For more information, visit the NRC Centre of the Universe.

St. John's, NFL — Interested in marine technology and ocean science? The NRC Institute for Ocean Technology in St. John's, Newfoundland, welcomes the public every day during July and August, giving tours of its state-of-the-art Offshore Engineering Facility, Towing Tank, and Ice tanks. Tours must be booked in advance; call 709-772-4366.

Fredericton, NB — Would you like to rub shoulders with the movers and shakers of the IT world? If so, Fredericton is the place to be. In mid-May, the NRC Institute for Information Technology hosted the annual New Brunswick SuperMega Cyber Social which began with a panel presentation followed by a social mixer. Usually attended by IT professionals and industry representatives, the general public was invited too. The SuperMega Cyber Social was part of the recurring Cyber Social events that take place in Fredericton year-round. Visit NRC-IIT (Fredericton Office) for more information about joining the next Cyber Social meeting.

Student Tours

The high school laboratory is a long way from a real, working research lab. Bringing students into NRC labs gives them a special opportunity to see where their science studies can take them. Across the country, NRC institutes host student tours.

Demonstrations designed to foster interest in chemistry. Students and seasoned researchers were captivated by the chemistry performances which ranged from attention-getting flames and a 'big bang' to invisible ink and an electrified pickle.

Vancouver, BC — In May 2004, some of British Columbia's brightest science students visited the NRC fuel cell laboratories to learn more about hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. These gifted students in turn set to work creating classroom activities and lesson plans for grades 5-7 students.

Educational Resources for Students and Teachers

NRC's Student Science and Tech website targets youth across Canada. Launched by NRC in the fall of 2004, this new, interactive tool provides valuable resources for both teachers and students. From astronomy to Canadian innovations, chemistry milestones to an interactive periodic table of the elements, this site was designed to foster an interest among youth in science and technology. In 2005, curriculum-linked information and inquiry activities in the biological sciences will round out the site. Visit: NRC's Student Science and Tech

NRC also publishes various print resources, distributed annually by the thousands to educators and students across the country. Posters of the Canadian Skies, the Periodic Table of the Elements, as well as individual student handouts are all available free of charge.

Halifax, NS — During the winter of 2005, on the other side of the country at NRC's marine biology facilities in Halifax, students recently participated in some authentic laboratory work, helping dissect fish. Each year in June, this facility also hosts the popular "Discovery Days" for grade 5 students from Halifax. Visitors have the chance to participate in some hands-on science, from creating green goop to making ice cream.

National Capital Region — In the National Capital Region, many local high schools have the opportunity to visit NRC facilites. From hydraulic technologies to microsciences, military vehicle engineering to vaccine design, students have seen "real-life" scientists and researchers at work, and have had the special opportunities to try some hands-on work in many of these fields.

Science Fairs and Design Competitions

Student Team with NRC mentor and program coordinators at 2005 Canadian National Marsville.
Student Team with NRC mentor and program coordinators at 2005 Canadian National Marsville.

Science fairs and engineering design challenges abound, and NRC is there alongside the students in their communities. From cardboard boat races to biotechnology research, NRC provides expertise, judges, and facilities to help the young competitors achieve their best results.

St. John's, NFL; London, ON; and Saskatoon, SK — Each year, the Canada Wide Science Fair (CWSF) is held in a different city, and often, NRC institutes lend a hand to this high-profile event, including facilities in St. John's, London, and Saskatoon. NRC is also an active partner in the Aventis Biotechnology Challenge, providing scientific mentors for student research teams and helping to coordinate the national competitionby. Via state-of-the-art videoconference, competing teams from across Canada are able to present their projects remotely to a panel of judges from the scientific community as they vie for top honours.

Prototype developed by a team of students for a design competition.
Prototype developed by a team of students for a design competition.

Ottawa, ON and Moncton, NB — In Ottawa, NRC is the driving force behind the Engineering Challenge, a student design activity that is part of the celebrations of National Engineering Week. Now in its fifth year, this program matches volunteer engineers from NRC and other local industry, with elementary school classes, to help the students design and build a prototype machine. 2005 saw the first expansion of this project, with NRC in New Brunswick launching the program. All told, over 2 400 children participated in Engineering Challenge 2005!

National Capital Region and across Canada — Canadian National Marsville is a program that challenges middle school students to plan for the first habitation of Mars by designing life support systems and building habitats to create a Martian village. NRC provides leadership in this outreach activity both at the regional and national level.

Science Camps

NRC researcher (right) illustrates how a neutron interacts with a sample on the spectrometer.
NRC researcher (right) illustrates how a neutron interacts with a sample on the spectrometer.

Chalk River, ON: The NRC's Neutron Program for Materials Research is located at Chalk River, Ontario, inside Atomic Energy of Canada's laboratory campus. Every second year, they host a summer school for visiting researchers, usually PhD. candidates and above. For information visit: NRC's 2004 Summer School on Neutron Scattering. The next Summer School will be held in 2006.

Saskatoon, SK — In Saskatoon, NRC has created the wildly popular "Canola Camp". Intended for food writers from across North America, Canola Camp teaches about canola production, biotechnology, genetically modified canola, and gives the participants a chance to do some hands-on work in the laboratory.

Efforts abound across NRC to help promote science to today's youth. Many of the young minds that participate in these NRC initiatives will be tomorrow's scientists.

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada

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