It Was Hardly Too Cold To Play, On This Cold, Cold, Wet Day: UW Engineering Discovery Days


The sun did not shine,

it was too cold to play,

so we stayed inside

on that cold, cold, wet day.


No we didn’t!!

We went to UW’s Engineering Discovery Day, and knocked it out of the park!

Wearing lots of layers and jackets, for indeed, it was very cold and wet.


First we visited the Mechanical Engineering department and found some crazy interesting rooms. We learned about how studying vibrations in metal can help scientists figure out the structural integrity of a structure in relation to its surroundings. The man explaining it to us was throwing out terms I have legit never heard before, like “And as we can see here, the blahblahblah Constant is clearly at work and reinforces the calculations of…” I don’t really remember the terms he used, but that guy knew what he was talking about.

We also saw a stress/strain test experiment, and found the 3D printing club (woot!), and also found the Marine Renewable Energy department and got to see a device they are planning on installing outside of Oregon this summer in order to harness the energy from the waves in order to create energy. It’s a prototype, but they are super excited about it.

They were also talking about a department in Hawaii, which interested Nova very much…


We also met the hyperloop team, who came in 4th in the world in a SpaceX competition. Elon Musk is hoping to replace the ridiculously expensive and horribly implemented bullet-train in California. So I was very excited to see their work.

There was a tsunami simulator, where the kids got to build things out of Legos and watch them get destroyed. Always a crowd pleaser.

And we found the Computer Science department which had the least imaginative displays on the entire campus. For instance, there was one display that had a blank trifold…and a Makey-Makey setup. And that’s it. Heck, we have had a Makey-Makey setup in our house, but we also explained how currents worked and how you are using a foreign object to open and close circuits. But even after asking the fine gentleman in charge of this station, he really had nothing to share. So we moved on, because that is lame, simply put.

The kids were delighted to find a robot which could solve a rubix cube, though, and Nova went toe to toe with it on a speed round. I’m sorry to say the robot won. But I was very impressed with the questions the kids pelted at the engineers. From “how can it feel the cube,” to “how does the circuiting work,” to “how does it walk.” I was happy to see they were trying to take it apart!

There was also a gentleman at a table who was extremely excited about using vibrations in order to determine the structural integrity of bones, in order to test older individuals for osteoporosis. He knew just about everything on the subject, as far as I could see, and was extremely passionate about explaining it all to a small crowd.


We saw some submarines in a pool, in front of some absolutely gorgeous academic buildings which drive me nuts because they are so beautiful.

And we had lunch in the cafeteria! Chili and breadbowls all around, for this cold, cold, wet day.

Except for me, who had a salad with chicken. Because: celiac.



Finally, we got to the Electrical Engineering department and they had some fantastic hands-on tables up there.

The kids got to play with some solar powered cars.

They got to design their own film on paper craft, which was very clever and the engineers in charge of this table were extremely helpful.

We also found a room where we were given tools, resistors and instructions, and we got to build our own earrings! It was very sweet, and Glenn decided to build a couple trees and a squid instead of earrings. Fair enough.


After we were done we still had a few hours of sunlight in Seattle, so I walked with the kids downtown (see: coffee), and I figured it was a good time to go to the top of the Smith Tower.

They may have been a little freaked out to stand up there.

It may have been amazing.

Plus, there is a throne which the Empress of China donated to Seattle back in the late 1800s, and the kids each enjoyed (thoroughly) sitting on the throne.

At one point Alice came over to where I was sitting (because it was very nice to sit, finally) with a very sad face and told me, “Eve won’t let me sit on the throne.”

I’ve heard this story before.

I’m not getting involved.

You’re on your own…royal problems.

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