Center for Environmentally
Beneficial Catalysis

  • Home
  • RET Participant’s School Wins ‘Battle of the Brains’

RET Participant’s School Wins ‘Battle of the Brains’

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Visitors to Science City in Union Station will soon learn about energy by running in human-sized hamster wheels.

The idea for the exhibit came from juniors and seniors at Olathe North high school.  Their entry to the Burns and McDonnell Battle of the Brains competition landed them a first-place $50,000 award and the opportunity to turn their ideas into an actual, hands-on exhibit at the Kansas City-based science center.

“The exhibit is all about energy and partially inspired from what the kids got to see on their field trip to KU,” said Amy Johnston, one of the students’ teachers.

Earlier this fall, Johnston brought 30 of her students on a field trip to KU and its Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis to learn more about biofuel research.   Johnston was one of eight participants in the 2011 Research Experiences for Teachers program at the University of Kansas.  The summer program, also called RET:SHIFT, engages teachers in research about biofuels – from how they are made to how they burn in vehicles and impact the environment. 

Both the fieldtrip and Johnston’s participation in KU’s RET program have motivated Olathe North students to learn more about biofuels and energy.  Several seniors are currently working with KU faculty on research projects and many of the younger students are interested as well.

The battle-of-the-brains winning exhibit is set to open next summer.  By making energy fun for visitors of all ages, it might even fuel a passion for science and engineering in the brains of future generations.

“It is amazing and awesome,” said Johnston, “Our students get to build an exhibit at Science City and we start working on it in just a few weeks!”

--by Claudia Bode

More Information:

CEBC Calendar

September 13, Wednesday - Mandatory Lab Safety Meeting
All researchers at 1501 Wakarusa Dr. must attend

9:00 a.m. in Building B seminar room

September 19, Tuesday - CEBC Colloquium
Dr. David Sholl, Chair of Georgia Tech School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
"New Nanoporous Materials for Practical Applications Using Computation Modeling - How Close Is the Dream to Reality?"

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., 1501 Wakarusa Drive, Building B seminar room
10:00 a.m. discussion with students

October 16 & 17, Monday & Tuesday - CEBC Fall Industry Advisory Board Meeting
Registration is Open - click here!

Monday 12:00-7:30 p.m. at the Adams Alumni Center, 1266 Oread Avenue, Lawrence
Tuesday 8:30-noon at the CEBC Complex, 1501 Wakarusa Drive, Lawrence

November 7, Tuesday - CEBC Industry Colloquium
Dr. Brandon Emme, Cellulose Team Leader, ICM, Inc.
"Title TBA"

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., 1501 Wakarusa Drive, Building B seminar room
10:00 a.m. discussion with students

KU Today
48 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Pharmacy school No. 2 nationally for NIH funding