First Virtual Nuclear Science Week Offers Events for All Ages

Published online: Oct 19, 2020 Articles
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IDAHO FALLS —  In keeping with the times, Nuclear Science Week, now in its 10th year, will be having a virtual celebration rather than its customary “Big Event.” Idaho National Laboratory is organizing numerous events for elementary school students, young professionals, teachers and professional organizations. 

The theme for 2020 is “Think Clean – Think Solutions – Think Nuclear,” and events throughout the week, Oct. 19-23, are aimed at educating the public about five pillars of nuclear science: Carbon-Free Energy, Global Leadership, Transformative Health Care, Innovation & Technology, and Space Exploration.

“Nuclear Science Week is a great opportunity to highlight the nuclear science and innovation happening right here in Idaho and to inspire curiosity in students of all ages,” said Jennifer Jackson, who leads INL’s K-12 STEM Education Program. “We’ll be offering STEM education kits with swag, videos, scholarships, webinars, free digital curriculum and more throughout the week.”

The annual event week started in 2010 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Smithsonian-affiliated National Museum of Nuclear Science & History teamed with industry partners for a week celebrating nuclear science to help raise awareness, especially among younger people. INL, which has been involved since 2012 and hosted the Big Event in 2017, is a silver-level participant this year.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s Nuclear Science Week proclamation pays tribute to INL, citing its past as the place where commercial nuclear energy was born, and its future as the home of the National Reactor Innovation Center. The proclamation notes INL’s contributions to STEM education and the state’s economy, as well as its importance to the United States’ space exploration endeavors.

STEM Education

For fourth-grade students across eastern Idaho, INL is offering ‘Make-and-Take’ Nuclear Science Week kits. Paired with informational videos, the kits will help students learn more about INL’s work on radioisotope thermoelectric generators aboard Mars rovers and deep space probes. Students will receive “Ida Explores INL,” a fourth-grade curriculum-aligned book presented by former Idaho First Lady Lori Otter.

Teachers elsewhere in the state can enter to win classroom sets of these kits through the Idaho Stem Action Center. If you are interested in these materials for your classroom, please register for a weekly giveaway here before each Sunday in October.

INL is offering a free webinar, “Inspire Curiosity: Nuclear Science and Innovation,” to Idaho educators, college and career advisers, and policymakers on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 3:30 p.m. The webinar will feature INL's Shannon Bragg-Sitton discussing how INL works to change the world's energy future, and presenters from American Nuclear Society and Discovery Education will share curriculum and resources including an interactive suite of free digital curriculum and a virtual field trip to INL from Navigating Nuclear: Energizing our World.

Grants, Scholarships

Grants are available to eligible participants working for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit school who register to attend the “Inspire Curiosity: Nuclear Science and Innovation” webinar. One $1,500 grant will be available to an educator in each region of the state. To apply, register for the webinar and share your innovative approach to building a STEM classroom.

INL is launching its Bright Future in Nuclear Scholarship Competition for 11th and 12th graders who are planning to study nuclear science or a related STEM subject at a college or university. One $4,000 scholarship will be awarded to the winner, with a $2,500 scholarship awarded to the runner-up. Students will be asked to consider and research a question related to nuclear science and present their solution for a panel of INL judges. The presentation period will be in January 2021. Interested students should register at this link before Dec. 18, 2020. Registrants will be contacted with further details.

Nuclear Networking

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy and the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear, which is led by INL, are sponsoring Nuclear Tech Connect Oct. 21-22. The free, virtual event will provide networking and discussion opportunities. There will be panels about carbon-free energy and nuclear technology innovation, followed by breakout discussion opportunities with each panelist. A virtual expo hall will include exhibits and breakout sessions, including virtual INL tours. To register, visit this link: Nuclear Tech Connect.

 

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