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Lemelson-MIT EurekaFest Celebrates Invention

September 30, 2010

In June 2010, during the Lemelson-MIT EurekaFest at the Museum of Science, Boston, more than 160 high school students from across the country competed in designing, building, and testing wind turbines powerful enough to lift garbage cans more than 30 feet into the air. The wind turbine challenge was the culmination of a multi-day celebration in collaboration with the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

The Lemelson-MIT Program inspires invention among young people by offering grants up to $10,000 to enable students, their teachers, and mentors to create solutions to real-world problems. The winning teams of high school students presented their own inventions at MIT's Stata Center during EurekaFest.

On the last day, the teams of young people and mentors—from graduate students to working engineers—joined forces with Museum volunteers in the wind turbine contest. The day's events culminated in a grand "lift off" powered by fans and the teams' turbines which hoisted the garbage cans filled with balloons up into the air, then let them drop to the ground, balloons flying and garbage cans crashing. The winning team was Team Safety Stripe, led by Bunker Hill Community College mechanical engineering student and Museum of Science educator Fillipe Ferreira. The team reached the maximum height of 39 feet in 43 seconds.

Other awards included "Best Use of Duct Tape," "Best Team Spirit," "Most Spectacular Failure," and an efficiency prize for the most successful design using the fewest materials.

EurekaFest also honored the 2010 winners of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability, and the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Collegiate Student Prizes at MIT. The Lemelson-MIT Awards honor established and rising inventors for their ingenuity, creativity and contribution to invention and innovation.

The Museum's hosting of EurekaFest is one of the NCTL's many informal STEM education activities.

The Museum of Science, Boston

  1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114  phone: 617-723-2500