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5 Ways to Make Any Day STEM Day at UT Austin

5 Ways to Make Any Day STEM Day at UT Austin

National STEM Day, celebrated on November 8, is a chance for everyone to show some love for science, technology, engineering and math. But why take only one day to celebrate when the world of STEM has fascinating offerings right here at The University of Texas at Austin all year round?

​Here's a list of five things you can do to celebrate STEM Day this week or whenever the mood strikes.

1. Visit the Texas Memorial Museum. From geology to paleontology to biodiversity, the Texas Memorial Museum has a little something for everyone. Visit the Great Hall to see the museum's most valuable specimens, including the Texas Pterosaur, one of the largest flying creatures ever found.

2. Find free, fun STEM events in Austin. The College of Natural Sciences has rounded up an extensive list of local STEM public engagement programs, many of which have monthly offerings. Here is a sample of what is coming up in the days ahead:

  • Nov. 14: "Plankton: the little alien-like creatures that might save us all" (Science Under the Stars) After taking a tour of the Brackenridge Field Laboratory and taking a peek at its local animals and plants, learn about the tiny little creatures dwelling in almost every bit of water on Earth. Science Under the Stars is a free public lecture series held at the Brackenridge Field Laboratory and organized by College of Natural Sciences graduate students from 6-8 p.m.
  • Nov 15: "Robots Controlled by Your Mind" (Hot Science-Cool Talks) Join biomedical engineer Jose Contreras-Vidal as he shares his research in prosthetics and machine interfaces that can be controlled entirely by someone's thoughts. Hot Science-Cool Talks is a STEM lecture series that is free and open to the public, but requires you to register beforehand. The event is held at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium from 7-8:15 p.m.
  • Nov. 16: "The Embodied Brain" (UT Brainstorms). Marisa Toups, assistant professor of psychology, takes a look at the intersection of physical and mental health. This free event is part of a series from the Department of Neuroscience and will be held from 3:30-5 p.m. in the LBJ Auditorium, and it is suggested that you RSVP to secure your seats.

3. Visit the UT Turtle Pond. The UT turtle pond is a playground for biologists with its various species of turtles, including snapping turtles. Watch as they lounge on the edge of the pond, or stack on top of one another on the logs. Be careful not to get too close, though! They can be spooked rather easily.

4. Watch the Tower Girl Live Feed. The UT Tower is home to a female Peregrine Falcon named "Tower Girl." While most Peregrine Falcons migrate, Tower Girl can be seen in Austin year-round. A livestream of her nest is broadcast by the Biodiversity Center at UT. Occasionally, bad weather can interfere with the feed; in which case, you can always go back and watch one of her highlight reels, like this one of her and a suitor in February 2019.

5. Visit STEM-inspired Art. The Landmarks Public Art Program at UT aims to make great art free and accessible to all. Luckily for those of us who love STEM, several pieces are both engineering feats and scientifically inspired. 

  • Beth Campbell's Spontaneous Future(s), Possible Past is in the Health Transformation Building (HTB) at the Dell Medical School. This drawing and mobile parallel spontaneous future cognition, a developing branch of cognitive psychology that explores people's random thoughts about the future.
  • Mark di Suvero's Clock Knot is a massive intertwining structure located in front of the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering building. This twisted set of beams is open to interpretation, and encourages visitors to explore it from different angles to experience its constantly changing views.
  • The Life Science Library in UT's Main Building features Pedogna from Walter Dusenbery, who carved travertine to create a tower-like structure that celebrates the natural environment. The library also holds a variety of exhibit cases with smaller artifacts and displays.
  • Casey Reas' A Mathematical Theory of Communication is housed in the North building of The Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex & Dell Computer Science Hall (GDC). This piece blends conceptual art and informational science to create an experiential data landscape.
  • Tony Smith's Amaryllis is located by the Fine Arts Complex on Trinity Street. As one of the principal theorists and practitioners of minimalist aesthetics, Smith combines elements from primitive and modern architecture, mathematics and science to create a piece that brings to life the place it lives.

Find more examples of campus art with a STEM connection in The Texas Scientist.

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Monday, 18 November 2019

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