Teachers, share these stories with your students and families!
Thanks to amazing companies, hardworking scientists, and incredible teachers, South Carolina is a STEM state. See below for South Carolina connections to each activity in your Duke Energy Science Night kit. Share these stories with your students and their families to make them feel right at home with STEM in SC.
Charles Bolden Jr., an astronaut who went on to become the first African American to lead NASA, was born in SC and graduated from C.A. Johnson High School in Columbia. He had an amazing career as an aviator, Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps, and astronaut who flew on four Space Shuttle missions. He was named NASA Administrator in 2009 and retired in 2017.
There’s more than one way to go to space! Weaverville’s A-B Emblem is the exclusive supplier for NASA mission patches. Each space mission commander gets to help design that mission’s patch, and they always have special meaning. See some of the special patches here: https://space.abemblem.com.
Dr. Amy Pope is a senior lecturer in Physics and Astronomy at Clemson University. She teaches her students all about how the world works and even gets to teach about sports. Have you ever wondered why a ball bounces a certain way or how a frisbee flies? Well that’s all physics, and Dr. Pope can teach you!
Zip lines are strong cables, which can be very important. In fact, cables connect our homes and cities to power supplies so we have energy. One company in South Carolina, Nexans, is opening the first U.S. based under-the-sea high voltage cable facility in Charleston, SC. They’ll be making cables that connect islands and offshore windfarms to power supplies. It is the only facility in North America like it.
Can you imagine becoming an expert in bubbles? That’s just what Dr. John R. Saylor does in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University. He studies how air and liquids interact by doing experiments on water droplets, rain, and even lightning!
Bubble science can be BIG business. Have you ever drank a soda? Blenheim Ginger Ale is a Southern tradition that dates back to the 1800s when Dr. C.R. May had patients with stomach pains drink local mineral water flowing from a Blenheim, South Carolina natural spring. He made the water taste better by adding ginger, and the drink became incredibly popular. Blenheim is the oldest continuous independent soda bottler in the world.
Dr. Riley does a lot, including teaching and leading companies. As a member of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Clemson University, he studies fascinating topics like self-driving cars and how machines learn.
The next time you get in a car, think about its tires. Safely stopping and starting involves a lot of science. Michelin Tires, with headquarters in Greenville, has been a leading tire innovator for the past 125 years. It employs over 20,000 people and is committed to a brighter future by developing a 100% sustainable tire. They’re going to need scientists like you to figure that out!
Clemson University student Nia Grant has a higher purpose for her cosmetics company than just selling skincare products. She’s aiming to change the narrative for women in science and show how products we use every day, like lotion and face wash, involve chemistry. Nia founded Purpose Cosmetics Co. after an internship at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Enery Lab, as a way to combine her love of beauty, science, health, and business.
Located in Rock Hill, Sunbelt's chemists are constantly looking for new and better ways to add color to our universe. Their patented line of dyes in soy bean oil are meeting the need for more environmentally friendly colors.
Ms. Austin is a doctoral student in the Engineering and Science Education department at Clemson University, where she is studying how to increase African American students' interest in STEM. She is also a senior manufacturing leader at General Electric in Greenville, SC and has both a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. degree in Supply Chain Management.
The Dominion Energy Innovation Center in North Charleston houses one of the world's most advanced wind turbine testing facilities. This facility is specifically designed to test the part of a wind turbine called the drivetrain, which uses gears and a generator to convert the rotation of the blades into electricity. This reserach will make wind turbines cheaper, safer, and more reliable.
Did you know magnets can be useful for stopping fast-moving objects? In fact, if you've ever ridden a "Free Fall" ride at an amusement park or carnival, you can thank magnetic brakes for stopping you safely before you hit the ground. These rides were invented by Jerry Barber, who lives in Greenville and has over 60 patents!
The effects of magnetic currents on moving vehicles can be experienced firsthand at Carowinds, the amusement park that straddles the North and South Carolina border. Magnetic brakes are used on the Drop Tower, Intimidator Rollercoaster, and the Fury 325 Rollercoaster to slow the movement of a ride by using magnetic eddy currents. These powerful magnetic currents safely reduce the speed before friction brakes are applied to bring the ride to a complete stop.
Have you ever thought about how many parts go into making the airplanes that carry passengers around the world? Tiffany Javid is one of the engineers who helps design the interiors of the Boeing 787 Dreamliners that are built in Charleston. She puts her creativity and engineering skills to work!
Boeing's 787 Dreamliners - planes that can fit 200-300 passengers - are built in Charleston, SC. The research and manufacturing facility is also designed to preserve the environment. A huge array of solar panels powers the entire plant with renewable energy, and none of the waste generated there ends up in landfills.
Dr. Reginald Bain, a professor in the School of Music at the University of South Carolina, uses his background in mathematics and computer science to create unique music. Through algorithms that utilize music theory and tuning systems, he is able to produce computer-generated songs. One of his recent albums, called Sounding Number, features electronic music composed using mathematical ideas.
When you listen to music, the complex vibrations from instruments combine to make sound. Some of the most popular drums in the world are manufactured in Ridgeland by a company called Gretsch. Gretsch has mastered the art of creating specific sounds using physics and acoustics over the past 130+ years.
The offshore wind turbines used to generate electricity are huge! In order to make sure they can safely generate enough electricity, there's a lot of research and testing that has to happen first. Meredyth Crichton leads Clemson University's Dominion Energy Innovation Center, which has facilities that can test these massive machines.
South Carolina is one of the largest offshore wind resources on the East Coast, and Charleston is home to a significant wind energy job industry. Researchers from universities, energy companies, and the US Department of Energy are all working to improve the technology that will make wind turbines easier to build.