Dates: July 15th-26th
Alternative energy… renewable energy… non-renewable energy… why all the talk about energy these days? You mean scientists and engineers study energy? But how? Isn’t there energy in all things? If energy cannot be created or destroyed, why be concerned about how we use it? Why are people talking so much about energy efficiency and what does that mean for me?
You ask, “Is energy exciting?” Why, of course it is! It’s electrifying!
Come join the staff of the Alaska Center for Energy and Power at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for a in an investigation of Alaska’s energy issues and an opportunity to use your own ingenuity to design and create useful tools to make energy work for you!
As with any real Alaskan experience, this mission will likely involve creativity and resourcefulness (and, of course, duct tape). And what better place could one find such inspiration than surrounded by clever researchers in one of the nation’s most remarkable natural environments?
Our sustainable energy module will turn your heads like turbines in a glacial valley! We’ll provide an exciting platform for students to apply natural science, social science, engineering, and math concepts to real world issues facing your communities. Using hands on activities, it is our goal to inspire you to tackle Alaska’s tough energy challenges. Students in our module will become both well informed consumers of energy and educated decision-makers. Students will also put their active imaginations to practice in a KidWind Design Challenge to build the most productive turbine, focusing on blade design, gear ratios and foundation stability. We know that you have brilliant ideas, so even as we fuel your thoughts and stimulate your mind, we hope to learn from you!
Tom Johnson is a research engineer at the Institute of Northern Engineering of Alaska Center for Energy and Power at UAF. Tom is a gifted teacher, coach, programmer and lego enthusiast. The First Lego League (FLL) teams he has coached have won several local events, and Tom has taken FLL teams to national and international competitions. Tom has designed several clever lego machines. Here is a link to a lego knitting machine he designed and built.
As a researcher for the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, I am dedicated to a vision of reducing and stabilizing the cost of power in rural Alaska through a combination of renewable power sources and more efficient use of fossil fuels. I hope to teach science literacy through principles of energy conservation and awareness of waste and to increase students’ knowledge of technologies used for energy efficiency and the many uses of energy in our daily activities. I believe that sustained innovation in the energy sector is best accomplished by encouraging future generations to be creative and thoughtful.
Although I am trained and employed in mechanical engineering, it is my personal interest in theoretical physics that comes in handy for predicting the best days and locations for skiing here in Fairbanks! From California originally, I spent my early career working in the Silicon Valley, and I have since welcomed a simpler, more meaningful life here in Alaska. When I’m not out backpacking, my days away from work are spent walking the trails or snuggling up to a fire in my wood-heated dry log cabin with my two retired sled dogs or cooking and eating large quantities of locally grown food. Life is good!