University, Health Sciences Center Sponsoring Fourth Annual Atlanta Science Festival


ATLANTA – Mercer University and Mercer Health Sciences Center are sponsors of the fourth annual Atlanta Science Festival, which culminates in the Exploration Expo, held March 25, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., in Centennial Olympic Park.

The expo, which is 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.

Faculty and students from the College of Pharmacy, College of Health Professions, College of Liberal Arts, School of Engineering, School of Medicine and Georgia Baptist College of Nursing will offer the following demonstrations throughout the day:

‘Dr. K’s Mad Science Extravaganza’ – Experiments in Biology and Chemistry

Dr. Jennifer Knaack, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences and co-director of the Center for High-Complexity Diagnostics, will lead chemistry demonstrations and a hands-on biology activity to teach students about fundamental biological and chemical concepts. In the first demonstration, participants will be taught how to extract their own DNA from cheek swabs. Collected DNA, which is visible to the naked eye, will be transferred to a DNA necklace that can be taken home. In the second demonstration, participants will make their own “silly putty” by combining Elmer’s glue, which contains polyvinylacetate, and Sta-Flo liquid starch, which contains borax. The two chemicals in these solutions polymerize to make a substance that is very similar to silly putty.

‘Your Body in Balance’

Dr. Alyssa Fiss, associate professor and chair of physical therapy, will conduct a circuit of four stations where children (and parents) can quickly assess their balance and gain an understanding of how four unique systems – musculoskeletal, visual, vestibular and proprioceptive – work together to keep the human body balanced. Participants will also learn several exercises targeting each system that can help keep the body in balance.

‘Battle Bots’

Dr. Robert Allen, professor of computer science, and students from the Computer Science Department in the College of Liberal Arts will program Mindstorm Robots for battle, and then compete in what they call…“Battle Bots.”

Robotics Demonstration

Dr. Anthony Choi, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and the Mercer Robotics Club will conduct a robotics demonstration featuring a Universal Command Center for control of multiple unmanned aerial and ground robotic systems.

‘Save the Heart’

Dr. Jaehwa Choi, assistant professor of physiology, and students from the School of Medicine will conduct related demonstrations explaining the biology of the heart and introducing CPR techniques using anatomical models, training manikins and virtual reality headsets.


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. SAM is an innovative teaching tool used to display normal and abnormal sounds such as wheezing and heart murmurs. Additionally, participants will learn how to count their pulse, feel a carotid pulse and use a stethoscope.