Engineering Open House: Big weekend on UI campus

Engineering Open House: Big weekend on UI campus

Everything from concrete crushing to androids to lip balm has a place at the 94th annual Engineering Open House, which is Friday and Saturday on the University of Illinois campus — which features plenty of other events to attract visitors this weekend.

More than 250 free exhibits make up the Engineering Open House, which also welcomes future engineering students to the UI.

The open house runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Parking is free in Lot E-14, west of the State Farm Center, and shuttles will run to the exhibit buildings as well as to ExplorACES.

A visitor's guide for the Engineering Open House is at

Doug Podgorny, director of the event, has some suggestions for child and grown-up visitors alike.

Kids will be able to make their own lip balm by mixing Vaseline, Kool-Aid and glitter, and they can enjoy dipping dots created by putting melted ice cream in liquid nitrogen.

The Thermal Imaging Camera Photo Booth offers an unusual way to take photos. Also, using markers powered by direct current motors, kids will be able to create drawings. They can also make jewelry on recycled plastic that will be melted in the oven.

For the Engineering Buffet, a sampling of smaller, interactive projects from a variety of disciplines, "most of the projects are affordable and can be easily replicated and improved upon at home," Podgorny said.

Engineering students from around the country travel to Engineering Open House to participate in the Jerry Sanders Creative Design Competition.

The student-run robotics competition lasts two days. This year's competition is inspired by the movie "Tron."

And for the sports fans: With March Madness coming, BracketOdds, a Web-based tool, can help bracketologists make their choices based on statistical analysis of the past performances of seeds.


The agriculural, food and consumer exhibits run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The ACES Library is the central hub. Among the displays:

Air cannons are used throughout agriculture, and for general safety testing. A piston mechanism will allow reproducible acceleration of a test object.

Learn about production of biomass energy, a fuel that will be increasingly popular in the future.

The Illini Pullers, a student organization, builds and markets a new tractor every year. Past tractors will be on display.

"So you want to be a futures trader" is the topic of a mini-class.

"What's the big to-do about zoo animal poo?" will discuss the use of zoo animal fecal samples as a diagnostic tool.

More attractively, "The Cocoa Bean: Chocolate's Dark Past" is another mini-class.

Complete information is at, and free parking will be available on Friday in Lot E-14; the shuttle buses will transport attendees to Mumford Hall as well as to the Engineering Open House.

On Saturday, visitors can park anywhere.

Blue Waters

A free, self-guided Blue Waters Supercomputer Tour runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the National Petascale Computing Facility, 1725 S. Oak St., C.

Blue Waters, one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, is able to perform quadrillions of calculations per second.

Free parking is available across the street in Lot E-14; from there, you can also board the free shuttle buses for the open houses.

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