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Other Outreach

Other than K-12, REU & RET programs, the University of Pennsylvania has additional MRSEC outreach programs such as:

High School Science Teachers Programs

Monthly Lecture Series

Since 1994, the LRSM has presented a monthly series of materials-based lectures during the school year to science teachers. These are given by faculty and staff associated with the LRSM. The lectures are free, take place on Thursday evenings at 5:30 pm and are followed by food and refreshments during which teachers can engage the speaker in conversation about the talk or other aspects of education. Teachers can also receive Act 48 credit.

Workshops for Teachers: Laboratory Experiments on Materials

In 2010 we started a series of workshops for teachers on 1) mechanical properties and 2) thermal properties of materials. These are given at the LRSM and are led by Schuyler Patton and are based on his highly successful senior elective course on materials science at Central High School, Philadelphia.

Workshop on Science in Archaeology

Since 2004 we have worked with the staff of the University Museum of Archaeology and anthropology to present a one-day workshop on materials science applied to archaeology. The workshop consists of a series of lectures on archaeochemistry, archaeometallurgy and archaeoceramics coupled with lab tours of LRSM and museum facilities, culminating in a tour of a local bronze casting foundry.

The 8th Workshop took place on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter, see attached flyer. For further information on the 9th Workshop, or registration, contact Andrew R. McGhie at 215-898-6461 or

Visit the current program page.

Girard Science Camp

This program was introduced in June, 2011. It is a five day program for twelve 7th-graders from Girard College, a K-12 school for disadvantaged minority students in Philadelphia. The objective of the camp is to expand the frontiers of STEM comfort-levels amongst 7th graders and enable them to become engaged in the pursuit of science. More specifically, objectives of the camp are of educational, affectional, and factual nature. In 2013, we provided: a principles of optical microscopy activity, with an introduction to electron microscopy; a conductivity and batteries activity, an “Energy and the Environment” activity, a robotics activity, and a session on nanomaterials was also included.

Philadelphia Science Festival

A new City-wide event, the Philadelphia Science Festival, was held for the first time from April 15-28, 2011. Research groups from Penn manned booths on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City to stimulate people’s interest in STEM careers. In addition, the Penn MRSEC sponsored two Science Cafes at local hostelries during the Festival.  Based on the apparent success of the event, it will be repeated annually.

This year the LRSM was also invited to the opening kick-off event for the festival, which included live science shows, music, demonstrations, and a variety of sensory stimulating stations-all tailored to grownups. The night pulled in over 1000 attendees and was a great success. We look forward to our involvement next year.

Science Café Program

In 2010 we started a monthly series of Science Cafes, based on materials, for the general public in Wilmington, DE. These lectures have become very popular, with attendance ranging from 30-70, and they typically end with lively discussion. This outreach-to-the-public effort was expanded with an additional Café in Philadelphia in 2011. We now hold two Science Cafes per month, one at each location with growing attendance numbers each year.

Visit the current program page.

Panel Discussion on Entrepreneurship, CTT and LRSM

This year, we collaborated with Penn’s Center for Technology Transfer (CTT) on a discussion panel "How to Start a Materials-based Company." CTT is in charge of transferring inventions and innovative knowledge from Penn to outside organizations for the benefit of society. The panel, geared mainly towards graduate students, focused on starting a company based on materials science. Three CEOs from the Delaware Valley discussed their startup experience, and two experts, who assist new companies, provided information on available resources for entrepreneurs (~80 students attended event).


In conjunction with the Philadelphia School District, we can now link the SEFs with school classrooms in real time using a recently purchased V-Tel teleconferencing unit and the School District's cable TV network. By analyzing the products of classroom experiments using our sophisticated instrumentation, and allowing students to have partial control of these instruments, an increased awareness will be generated of the advanced technologies that can be brought to bear on scientific problems. In addition, this interaction will enable the students to appreciate the research being carried out by scientists and engineers. This program is open to grades 7-12 and covers experiments in chemistry, physics, earth sciences, biological sciences, and environmental science. The first program, demonstrating the use of scanning electron microscopy was broadcast on November 5, 1998. Multiple broadcasts have since been made to Pennsylvania schools and to Philadelphia schools through the cable network and more recently by broadcasting from the school district's t.v. studio.

Collaboration with Southern Africa

A program was established in 2003 to bring science faculty from both South Africa and Lesotho, a small country land-locked within South Africa, to the MRSEC. Since then, 3- 4 faculty members have collaborated with MRSEC affiliated faculty every year for periods ranging from 1-3 months, usually during summer. One MRSEC faculty member visited both the National University of Lesotho and the University of the North West, SA, in 2006 to assess their needs.

Partnership on Research and Education in Materials, PREM

Since 1998 the MRSEC has collaborated with University of Puerto Rico faculty at Humacao, Rio Piedras, and Cayey, first through the CIRE program and more recently as part of a PREM. Joint research projects are undertaken and UPR faculty and students come to the MRSEC during the summer to perform research and use our Shared Research Facilities. Details of this program can be found under PREM elsewhere on this site.

Thermal Analysis Community Outreach

For many years, we have collaborated with the local Thermal Analysis Forum of Delaware Valley to increase the participation of graduate students in the use of thermal analytical techniques. This collaboration involves organizing an evening poster competition for graduates in December and a Spring Symposium on thermal analysis at which graduate students are major contributors.

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