Tau Beta Pi - California Tau is proud to announce:


2011 Future of Science Conference - Saturday, October 15

We presented our summer Engineering Outreach program to elementary and middle school teachers as well as engineers from local companies. After showing them what the AISS students did over the summer, we reenacted a 'mini-module' with them. The teachers were quick to create a cardboard prototype given our design constraints in just a little over half an hour! Everyone collaborated well, (just as engineers do!) and the cardboard structures supported over 8 filled ziploc bags of sand! Next time we know to bring more sand for these extra strong cardboard masterpieces and extra smart participants!

We would like to thank everyone who came to our presentation!

Also, we would like to thank Professor Debra Mauzy-Melitz for her continuous support and for giving us the opportunity to participate in the conference! 




Summer 2011

During the summer of 2011, Tau Beta Pi - CA Tau at the University of California, Irvine has partnered with Professor Debra Mauzy-Melitz of Developmental and Cell Biology to conduct an outreach project to bring engineering and all of what it has to offer to high school students in the Achievement Institute of Scientific Studies (AISS) Foundation.  We helped bring to these students the true meaning of being an engineer, which is to design and manufacture materials and structures for the advancement of human society through exciting and educational activities such as teamwork in building materials, analysis of failures, and learning to love Engineering in general!  

Tau Beta Pi met with the students on Fridays and the site was alternated between their Delhi Community Center and the University of California, Irvine campus.  Experiments were performed and tests were completed at a later date in order to produce data for analysis and a questioning period in order to determine what went wrong or right.

Participating officers:  Martin Chang, Chau Diep, Emerald Chun, Jinwan Kim, Daniel Le, Ron Luu, Katie Mo, Brandon Wong


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Mission Statement: 

To help economically disadvantaged high school students gain a university education in the careers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology.



Week 1

We introduced Tau Beta Pi as an honor society (not a frat!) to the students and what Engineering is.  There are many different Engineering disciplines, which means that there are many paths the student can choose to cater to their own specific wants/needs.  Following the introductions, the students were split into groups to use some engineering principles such as the use of composite materials (2 different materials) to build a block made of plaster and to analyze it using a 3-point bend test available at UCI later on inthe program.


Week 2

The students came to UCI for a tour of 2 labs and the campus with an emphasis on the most beautiful place on campus, which is naturally, the Henry Samueli School of Engineering.  We would like to thank Professor Regina Ragan for allowing the students and us to tour the lab.  We would also like to thank the presenters, Sarah, Jean Grigg, and Roxy Bekemohammadi for giving us very detailed explanations on Atomic Force Microscopy and the Advanced Power and Energy Program.


Week 3

The third week brings us back to the students Delhi community center and with it, a new experiment to prepare to test!  A structure does not only need to be strong, but it also needs to be stable and economical.  The students were given a limited amount of acrylic and were told to design a support for a flat board on top.  The designs were drawn out and the layout was done on Autocad. These were given to Brandon Wong to laser cut and was tested at a later date.


Week 4

The moment everyone has been waiting for!  We would like to thank Chris, Anna, and Ladan from Professor Valdevit's lab for their help.  This week was the 3-point bend test of the plaster block made in Week 1.  The tests were done and varying strengths were recorded. The ranged from the pure plaster breaking in a brittle fracture at 100 N while the strongest one elastically deformed at over 2000 N.  For the strongest block, what elastic means is that once the machine had to stop because the test had reached the maximum point and the machine was not positioned correctly for a clear punch through, the block actually went back into its original shape.  What everyone learned from this is that sometimes, the best structures are those that are natural and all we have to do is copy them.  In this case, the "naturally" best design was making a block modeled after, tomales! Yum!

In addition to the 3-point bend test, we visited Engineering Hall and saw a decellularized heart thanks to Nick from Professor George's lab.  The medical application of this heart is using stem cells to grow heart cells onto a heart structure to replace failed hearts and save lives.


Week 5

After the laser cutting of the acrylic and buying the proper weights to test them with, sand bags and if needed, Daniel Le, the students assembled their support beams and were allowed to personally place on the bags of sand on top of their structure until it tipped over or broke.  When we reached certain thresholds such as 50 lbs or 100 lbs, the time was counted out by Professor Debra up until roughly 15 seconds and more weight was then added.  One group actually used up all of the sand and additonal items were needed to be placed on top. This included boxes, shoes, and even cell phones!  When all of that did not break the strucure, everything was removed and a student attempted to stand on top of the structure. Unfortunately, it broke when he got on it. The lesson?  The material had already bent and plasticaly deformed.  The shock to the system just pushed it passed it fracture point even though the student was lighter than all of the 150+ lbs of sand.  

The second half of the day was spent trying to construct "hands" out of straws and strings to pick up a crumpled piece of paper, a soda can, a 12 pack of soda, and other various objects.  What was surprising to learn is that a simple lasso consisting of a straw and a loop of string was able to pick up everything, albeit, getting the loop around some objects were hard.


Week 6

The final week was a fun and sad day at the same time. But upon inspection, which state does this system choose??  <-- Insert nerdy quantum mechanical laugh here!  The students came to UCI to see a Brain Computer Interface (BCI) experiment live.  The "victim" was Professor Debra, a known good speller.  The machine was hooked up via electrode and a conducting gel onto her scalp via a head cover.  Using P300 waves, the machine was able to spell out a sentence just by registering the Professor's brain wave activities when the letter she wanted was illuminated.  In addition, a preserved human brain was brought in and shown to the students.  Though we wished to have been able to touch it, we were not allowed to.  However, the experience itself was amazing.