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Montgomery College Joins the Best of American Science at the USA Science & Engineering Festival, October 23-24 on the National Mall

Montgomery College will join more than 350 of the nation’s leading science and engineering organizations including colleges and universities, corporations, federal agencies, museums and science centers, and professional engineering and science societies for the first USA Science & Engineering Festival. The festival will take place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. October 23–24.

More than 750 exhibits spanning aerospace, biotechnology, robotics, chemistry, genetics, and many other scientific disciplines will be free and open to the public. Montgomery College’s exhibit, “Hands-on MagLev,” will be located in tents 262, 264 and 266 (along Madison Drive between 3rd and 4th Street).

“Hands-on MagLev” features miniature versions of real-life trains that appear to magically float on air. These trains “float” because they take advantage of a phenomenon called magnetic levitation, which is achieved through a material called a superconductor. A superconductor actually “floats” on top of a magnet because it repels an external magnetic field. This interactive exhibit will allow visitors to experiment with different superconductors and observe magnetic levitation up close. Visitors will also have the opportunity to explore the properties of other magnetic materials, such as magnetite, iron, fool’s gold and the powerful neodymium magnets.

Another feature of the festival is its Nifty Fifty. Montgomery College Professor Susan Bontems and 49 other scientists were selected to visit Washington, D.C.-area middle and high schools to ignite a passion for science and engineering in students. The Carnegie Foundation and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education named Professor Bontems, who teaches chemistry at the College’s Germantown Campus, as the 2009 Maryland Professor of the Year. The Nifty Fifty were carefully chosen from hundreds of applicants for their differing fields, talents, backgrounds, and ability to convey the importance of science to our nation’s future. Professor Bontems is community college representative. The hope is that meeting scientists and engineers will help students embrace these disciplines and consider pursuing careers in them.

Learn more about the festival at

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