Arizona Technology & Innovation: SciTech Festival

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Arizona is hosting a statewide celebration of science, technology and engineering. Jeremy Babendure, executive director of the Arizona SciTech Festival, outlines what to expect.

Ted Simons: In coverage of Arizona technology and innovation we focus on the Arizona sigh tech festival, a statewide celebration of science, technology, and engineering. The festival kicks off next week, and here to tell us what to expect is jeremy babendure. The executive director of the Arizona festival. It's good to see you.

Jeremy Babendure: Thanks for having me here.

Ted Simons: We had you here last year, but it has been a year, and some folks may not have been onboard, what is the festival?

Jeremy Babendure: It's a statewide celebration of science and technology, there are over 300 events that will occur throughout a five-week period throughout the state.

Ted Simons: 300?

Jeremy Babendure: Yeah. There is tons of events that happen in communities from Yuma to Flagstaff.

Ted Simons: And it's designed to do what?

Jeremy Babendure: The idea of the festival is to really showcase the science and technology in everything that we do, almost like an Earth day for science, people celebrate it in their own areas.

Ted Simons: So science, technology, engineering, and math, and if you give us an example, what events are going on?

Jeremy Babendure: There is great efforts going on but the cities, a lot of them are growing, one event really popular last year is geeks night out. It's a, this great merge between the science fiction and the science, there is an event in Tucson, the festival of books, they do the science city, and where they have this major open house, at the u of a. They are showcasing the labs. And --

Ted Simons: We're looking at a start-up lab right now, and it's not just for -- young folks is the focus here.

Jeremy Babendure: We really see it more as motivations, what do people like to see. Chandler has this, this open house at their innovation incubator or midwestern University will have a tour of their, their optics' labs and medical labs. And there is a tour for teachers. So, people like baseball, for example, and you may like the spring training festival and see the signs of baseball.

Ted Simons: We just saw a guy taking a swing with gadgets and, and gears and monitoring and measuring. The science of baseball, what is that all about?

Jeremy Babendure: We have great professors both at u of a and ASU that study sports science, for example, we had a kinesiology professor that studies how the spin on, on footballs and baseballs work, and how the motion actually works in terms of how people throw balls.

Ted Simons: Yeah.

Jeremy Babendure: And basically, there is science and technology in almost anything that we do. We have a chocolate affair event.

Ted Simons: Please, tell me more.

Jeremy Babendure: So, there is medicinal properties chocolates. We had a professor that started company from the active ingredient in chocolate, there is professors at, at midwestern that do that, too. And we have a chef that's going to come and talk about some of the applications and the psychology of chocolate.

Ted Simons: You talk about clock, and you will get a crowd.

Jeremy Babendure: Right.

Ted Simons: Right. And expos, demonstrations, tours, give us examples of those.

Jeremy Babendure: So, in terms of, of, you know, Chandler will have the science spectacular event, a lot of booths, and they have 30 of the companies, coming to showcase what they have got, and Arizona science center will have an innovator's fair so people with inventions that they are looking to set up, that's a good one to do, and asu has an amazing open house called night of the open door, and that's now connected with the west campus events where they have about 135 interactive activities where you can go to the campus and see what people are doing to innovate. There is also an event called the science and engineering festival where they will have a lot of maker type of booths and demonstrations there.

Ted Simons: That sounds like a lot of stuff going on, and how did this get started?

Jeremy Babendure: We have a, you know, a, from a personal perspective I was excited to help take what I learned in San Diego, I grew up here but was there for ten years and see how can we slow case what goes on in Arizona. There is a real, there is a lot of stuff going on that we do in science and technology that goes unnoticed so we're really excited to figure out how do you take all this, all this that we have and let people realize that it's in your backyard.

Ted Simons: You mentioned San Diego, do, did they do this?

Jeremy Babendure: Absolutely, San Diego, we started the science and technology festival there, and really, highlighted a lot of the companies there.

Ted Simons: And they are probably going strong still?

Jeremy Babendure: Yes.

Ted Simons: And this is now -- with schools and universities, and with, with industries, you got hikes and debates.

Jeremy Babendure: Science is all around us. What we're after is to help establish a culture of, of what we call culture in the state that people can identify Arizona as a community that innovates as a community that has science and technology, and having it be part of something that we celebrate is a cultural demonstration, really provides an opportunity to do so.

Ted Simons: Is Arizona getting that reputation?

Jeremy Babendure: From our -- it's hard for me, the judge, we have metrics and we are going to ask people to identify with science and technology but there are more stakeholders involved. We had this conversation with the chocolate affair, we had a chef, we had economic development leaders. We had informal educators, and we had, what's the other one, traditional educator on the line. It's just a nice, collaborative way that people come together and really, really celebrate it.

Ted Simons: And you have got a book right there. What is this all about? This fun book?

Jeremy Babendure: So we pilot, I don't know which way --

Ted Simons: Like that.

Jeremy Babendure: We piloted this, this -- all right.

Ted Simons: Go ahead.

Jeremy Babendure: We piloted doing this fun book, which is a lot of people said, what can I do after the festival or how can I really take tours or ways to really do more knowledge? We piloted in fun book which has the challenges that we're doing in collaboration with one of our companies called Sun Valley solar. And it has the challenges that you can do through -- we got activities and biotechnology, and there is activities --

Ted Simons: Oh, yeah.

Jeremy Babendure: In water with SRP. But, we'll pilot it and see how it goes but we're hoping people will have a take away during the festival.

Ted Simons: That's February 6th at the science center?

Jeremy Babendure: Correct.

Ted Simons: And off until March 17th.

Jeremy Babendure: Yes, I hope you will make it.

Ted Simons: I don't know how I can avoid it. Thanks for joining us.

Jeremy Babendure:Executive Director, Arizona SciTech Festival;

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