Intelligent Light and FieldView

AIAA Generation STEM: Discovering Aerospace through Experience

AIAA held their first Generation STEM event and Intelligent Light is proud to have supported this special program at its launch.  Generation STEM is an education outreach program anchored by a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fair.  Nearly 350 students from middle schools (6th through 8th grade) in the Los Angeles area came to the event and spent a few hours exploring and observingreal-world phenomena, participating in design projects, exploring engineering, astronomy and chemistry.  The experiences and discussions provided a glimpse of what is happening in science and engineering today and offered an invitation to a future in technical disciplines.

Observation to experiment to simulation and visualization, Intelligent Light explored fluid mechanics with the students using a wind tunnel, ping pong balls, and CFD simulation with FieldView and XDBview. Other favorite activities included driving a Mars rover prototype, making lava lamps, a paper airplane design challenge, and a planetarium program.

AIAA’s Generation STEM event is unique in that it is an outreach from the aerospace industry directly to the students.  This personal connection created a great deal of enthusiasm among the students and gave many a glimpse into a future in aerospace that they can believe in.  The explorations, experiments and projects were immediately relevant to them.

Students were engaged by a large complex of hands-on explorations, mini-design challenges, demonstrations and special speakers lead by Dr. Sandy Magnus, a NASA astronaut and now AIAA Executive Director.  Additional speakers included young engineering professionals and students who described the motivations, educational paths and skills they had developed that were important to their success. (AIAA photos)

Intelligent Light, a longtime corporate partner of AIAA, engaged students in large numbers through a station co-presented by NASA that introduced some basics of observing and understanding fluid mechanics via Bernoulli’s Principle.  Students were directly involved in hands-on fluid flow experiments, wind tunnel demonstrations that allowed airflow to be seen and explored and were introduced to the use of CFD simulation with powerful visualizations that illuminated fluid flows in ways the students had never before been able to observe.  We had energetic discussions about the skills of observation, importance of understanding, need for analytical methods, engineering intuition and places to observe the effects of fluid flows in the day to day world around us.  Students learned that their real-life observations and understanding would power their ability to discern “correct” presentations of behaviors and create ideas for advancing discovery and design.

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