Mercer to have interactive exhibits at 2023 Atlanta Science Festival expo

a participants places a stethoscope on a dummy's chest
A visitor listens to heart and lung sounds using SAM, the College of Nursing’s Simulated Auscultation Manikin, at the 2022 Atlanta Science Festival in Piedmont Park. Photo by Paula Heller

ATLANTA — Mercer University and Mercer Health Sciences Center are sponsors of the annual Atlanta Science Festival, which culminates in the Exploration Expo, to be held 10 a.m.-4 p.m. March 25 at Piedmont Park.

The festival, launched in 2014, is a two-week celebration of science and technology. Taking place March 10-25, it features 150 interactive and educational events. The expo, a giant science bash that is free and open to the public, promotes science exploration, discovery and innovation through hands-on interactive booths, live demonstrations and shows.

At the expo, Mercer will offer demonstrations from the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, College of Pharmacy and School of Engineering around the theme “How Does Science Impact Your Life?”


Dr. Sonique Sailsman, assistant professor of nursing, will demonstrate a variety of lung and heart sounds using “SAM” — the College of Nursing’s Simulated Auscultation Manikin. SAM is an innovative teaching tool to assist in learning about normal and abnormal sounds such as wheezing and heart murmurs. In addition, visitors will learn how to count their pulse, feel a carotid pulse and use a stethoscope. This demonstration is scheduled for 10-11:10 a.m.

How Does Your Brain Work?

Dr. Katharine Northcutt, associate professor of biology, will show how the brain works by making models of brain cells and learning how they communicate with one another. Visitors can look at and touch real sheep brains to see how millions of these cells are grouped together to make a brain. The demonstration also will explore how the brain allows us to taste different foods and how the brain can be tricked into tasting flavors that aren’t there. This demonstration is scheduled for 11:10 a.m.-12:20 p.m.

Healthy Hand Hygiene: Stop Germs, Go Clean

Dr. Cheryl Gaddis, associate professor of practice and chair of the Department of Public Health, will show what germs look like using ultraviolet light, demonstrate proper hand-washing procedures, and teach an interactive song that can be used to promote hand-washing for an appropriate length of time. This demonstration is scheduled for 12:20-1:30 p.m.

Compounding Mixology

Dr. Mohammad Uddin, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, will demonstrate how to make sunscreen with zinc oxide. He will explain why zinc oxide protects the skin and discuss other ways to stay safe in the sun. This demonstration is scheduled for 1:30-2:40 p.m.

Robots in the Skies

Dr. Anthony Choi, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of Mercer’s Machine Intelligence and Robotics Laboratory, will set up drone flight simulator stations where participants can learn how drones work and how to safely fly them. This demonstration is scheduled for 2:40-3:50 p.m.

About the Atlanta Science Festival

The Atlanta Science Festival is a two-week celebration of science and technology. Taking place March 10-25, 2023, it will feature 150 interactive and educational events. Kids and adults alike can dive into a range of topics from coding and astronomy to nature walks and science/art mashups. The Atlanta Science Festival is engineered by Science ATL and 80+ community partners, with major support from founders Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber, and sponsors Delta, UPS, Cox, Google, NCR Foundation, and others. To learn more, visit

About Mercer University Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. With approximately 9,000 students enrolled in 12 schools and colleges, on major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; medical school sites in Macon, Savannah and Columbus; and at regional academic centers in Henry and Douglas counties, Mercer is ranked among the top tier of national research universities by U.S. News & World Report. The Mercer Health Sciences Center includes the University’s School of Medicine and Colleges of Nursing, Health Professions and Pharmacy. Mercer is affiliated with five teaching hospitals – Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center and Piedmont Macon Medical Center in Macon; Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah; and Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital and St. Francis-Emory Healthcare in Columbus. The University also has an educational partnership with Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins. It operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon, an engineering research center in Warner Robins, and Mercer Medicine clinics in Sumter, Peach, Clay and Putnam counties. Mercer is one of only 293 institutions nationwide to shelter a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society; one of eight institutions to hold membership in the Georgia Research Alliance; and the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit