Recap: Visit to the Genome Zone

The booth at the Smithsonian was a hit! We opened at about 12:30 and we were swarmed the entire time until we closed at 4! Several people stayed for 10 minutes or more to ask questions and engage with the activities we had (DNA puzzle, 3D printer in operation, self-assembling virus). We used almost all of the "business cards". At least one educator and one physician promised to get in contact with us. Some of the comments I got from the Smithsonian staff while there were: "Everyone is looking forward to your visit!" and "This is the most exciting and engaging visit we've had in the history of the 'Scientist is in' program!".

I also got to meet with some of the Smithsonian who develop educational materials. We may be looking to them for tips on how to create worksheets and supplements to go along with our 3D prints for use in the classroom. But wait; there's more! I also got to chat with Vince Rossi, Adam Metallo, and Tim Mrozek from the Smithsonian 3D scanning team. Our team has met with them before, and we are BIG fans of what they are doing at the Smithsonian.

They also showed me the new 40-foot 3D print of the fossil whale, which is not currently open for the public to see. The story behind why 3D Systems did the print was that it was a personal challenge that the CEO took up when he first heard of the desire of the Smithsonian to have a replica. It was mounted the day I presented. But it is important to understand that the print was in a monochromatic material kind of like fiberglass. All the color and detail were added post-print with traditional painting and weathering techniques.

Many thanks to the Genome Zone staff for inviting me to the "Scientist is in" program!.