In mid-October, Professor Jonathan Rothstein of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department ran his annual STEM Outreach event at the Houston Children's Museum. “This is the fifth time we have run this event ahead of the Society of Rheology meeting,” said Rothstein. “It is a program that I developed for the Society of Rheology. We have averaged over 300 kids and 30 volunteers over the last five years.”
Rothstein added that “In addition to holding this event every year, we have developed a series of instruction guides and videos to introduce a series of demos and hands-on STEM experiments that we are currently packaging and shipping to anyone who is interested in reproducing this outreach event at their local high school, middle school, or museum.”
As MIE Department Head Sundar Krishnamurty responded to Rothstein and his far-reaching outreach: “This is simply amazing! You are truly a pioneer in developing and organizing your terrific STEM outreach activity.”
Rothstein is the head of the Non-Newtonian Fluid Dynamics Lab. As he explained, “I am actively involved in research in a number of different areas including: the dynamics of complex fluids; laminar and turbulent drag reduction; the development and utilization of super-hydrophobic surfaces; shear and extensional rheology of a number of different complex fluids; non-Newtonian fluid dynamics; microfluidics; nanotechnology; non-isothermal flows; hydrodynamic stability; and polymer processing.”
As part of his extensive lab program, and through a generous grant from the AIP Venture Fund and the support of the Society of Rheology, Rothstein has developed a series of K12 outreach activities based on the field of rheology, a branch of mechanics that studies those properties of materials which determine their response to mechanical force.
As Rothstein concluded, “The aim of these [outreach] activities is to expose a larger number of youth to a wide array of fascinating STEM topics to hopefully empower students from all walks of life to enter STEM fields.” (November 2018)