Skip to content

106 Coffee Middle-Schoolers Attend UTSI ‘Science Expose’

More than 100 science students from Coffee County Middle School attended a Science Expose at The University of Tennessee Space Institute in December.

Offerings ranged from computer-based studies to rockets and various demonstrations in laboratories at the Center of Excellence for Laser Applications (CLA).

Fifty-two eighth-graders participated on Dec. 11, and 54 seventh-graders took part on Dec. 13.

Bill Hofmeister of Tullahoma, director of CLA and UTSI research professor, sponsored the sessions as a continuation of efforts to stimulate interest in area elementary and high school students in the study of science and mathematics. Several science-related camps and courses were held during the summer and more are planned for this year.

Accompanying the visiting students was Travis O’Kelley, a science teacher at the Middle School.

Kenneth Kimble of Manchester, retired mathematics professor at the Institute, led four separate one-hour sessions in the Computer Lab entitled, “Animation and Visualization.”

Sessions on rockets were led by Gary A. Flandro of Tullahoma, who fills the Institute’s Boling Chair of Excellence in Aerospace Propulsion. Professor Flandro, as a Cal Tech graduate student in the 60’s, figured out a way for the Voyager space craft to visit outer planets in the solar system and plotted the course for that successful mission.

Hofmeister shared an overview of CLA “Materials Science” for the visitors, and various lectures and demonstrations took place in different CLA labs.

CLA activities included “Laser Marking Demonstrations” by Lino Costa; “Fluorescents Demonstrations” and “Rainbows and Lasers” by Yelena White, “Ice Ice Baby” by Pavlina Pike, and “MicroWorld” courses by Kate Lansford, research specialist.

Carole Thomas, CLA business manager, helped coordinate the Science Expose.

“These were bright students,” Hofmeister said, “and we appreciate the cooperation we received in 2006 from area school officials. We look forward to offering similar programs this year.”

Yelena White demonstrates a laser for, from left, Auburn Ledford, Michael Newkirk, McKenzie Martin, Jenna Peterson, and Jessie Philpott.

Lino Costa conducts an experiment with a mini vacuum chamber assisted by, from left, Elliott Reynolds, Skye Weber, Emily West, and Kia Stem.

Ken Kimble visits with Coffee County Middle School students Alaina Ferrell and Taylor Davison, left, and Robert Fletcher and Keith Foster.
— UTSI Photos