HPF at the USA Science & Engineering Festival

This weekend the HPF group was hard at work at the 3rd USA Science & Engineering Festival, the largest celebration of science and engineering in the United States. Members of the HPF group also attended the previous event in 2012. Over 300,000 people of all ages and disciplines attended this four-day STEM festival in Washington D.C. The event included over 3000 hands-on activities and demonstrations from scientists and engineers from both universities and industry. A group of HPF graduate students, Ryan Terrien, Arpita Roy, Sam Halverson, and Rob Marchwinski, traveled to the festival along with faculty member Dr Chris Palma, and joined a large group of Penn State scientists presenting interactive demonstrations.

Rob Marchwinski and Ryan Terrien aligning the infrared camera. Lab coats are essential for successful public outreach.

The HPF team built a simplified layout of the HPF instrument, which included optical fibers, real echelle and holographic diffraction gratings, and a crowd-pleasing infrared camera. Over 800 visitors from all ages stopped by the PSU booth and learned about the technology behind HPF and its hunt for planets.

Graduate student Sam Halverson aligns optical elements for the echelle and holographic diffraction grating demonstrations

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Graduate students Arpita Roy and Ryan Terrien discuss some of the technology used in the HPF instrument with some future scientists.

The PSU group even got a visit from the Nittany Lion!

The Nittany Lion looks over the HPF display.

The Nittany Lion looks over the HPF display.

 

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