University, Health Sciences Center to Participate in Sixth Annual Atlanta Science Festival Exploration Expo

Atlanta Science Festival 2018

ATLANTA – Mercer University and Mercer Health Sciences Center are sponsors of the sixth annual Atlanta Science Festival, which culminates in the Exploration Expo, held March 23, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., in Piedmont Park.

The expo, free and open to the public, promotes science exploration, discovery and innovation with more than 100 interactive exhibits, hands-on experiments, mind-blowing demonstrations and performances.

Mercer’s tent will be located in the Discover Zone near the 10th Street entrance to the park. Faculty and students from the College of Pharmacy, Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, School of Engineering and College of Liberal Arts will offer the following demonstrations throughout the day:

Pharmacological Mixology

Dr. Johnathan Hamrick, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, will lead participants in making their own sunscreen with zinc oxide and explain why zinc oxide protects the skin and other ways to stay sun-safe.


Fran Kamp, clinical associate professor and coordinator of the Learning Resource Center, and Suzanne Applegate, clinical assistant professor, will demonstrate a variety of lung and heart sounds using “SAM” – the College of Nursing’s Simulated Auscultation Manikin. Additionally, participants will learn how to count their pulse, feel a carotid pulse and use a stethoscope.

Machine Learning

Dr. Anthony Choi, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of Mercer’s Machine Intelligence and Robotics Laboratory, will explain implementations of machine learning in different environments. The first demonstration consists of generation of Star Wars script by an Artificial Intelligent (AI) system trained on all of the previous Star Wars episodes. The second demonstration involves a neural network learning to play Atari games over time, where participants can follow the AI as it learns and see how different factors change the way it behaves.

Learn How Your Brain Works

Dr. Katharine Northcutt, associate professor of biology and director of neuroscience, will explain how the brain works through a variety of exercises, including making models of brain cells, viewing and touching real sheep brains and exploring how the brain allows humans to distinguish the tastes of different foods.

The Evolution of Your Primate Visual System

Dr. Craig Byron, associate professor and associate chair of biology, will integrate audience participation, data collection and analysis, and model-based study in order to explore the limits of human peripheral vision. Measurements on participants will be used to interpret vertebrate cranial anatomy, the histology of animal retinas, and some of the structural and functional connections in the evolution of visual systems.