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Congressional staff get their hands on science

ASTC staffer Brendan Cartwright demonstrates the power of surface tensionOn June 25, members of the U.S. Congress and Congressional staff had a taste of hands-on science during a reception organized by the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), an alliance of over 100 organizations united by a concern for the future vitality of the U.S. science, mathematics, and engineering enterprise.

ASTC was among the more than 30 groups participating in the reception, “The Path to Innovation: Scientific Discovery and Learning,” which showcased research and education projects supported by NSF. Staff were on hand to demonstrate the work of NISE Net, the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network, and Astronomy From the Ground Up, a professional development program for informal astronomy educators. Hands-on activities included “Exploring Forces,” where guests could fill a tiny teacup with water and turn it over to see how the surface tension over such a small area prevents the water from spilling out; and “Worlds in Comparison,” where three pounds of modeling clay is divided to create scale replicas of the planets in our solar system.