Research Week Draws Crowds

A group of people wearing shades gather in a dark room. Their gaze is on a 16-foot theater screen in the corner. What they see is a 3-D image of students walking around outside of the Social Science building on FAU’s Boca campus.

The image is being generated by a small ultra-high-deffinition video camera pointed out the window. The nearly four-pound camera is one of FAU’s new research projects. And today William Glenn, director of FAU’s Imaging and Technology Center, is showing onlookers how it works.

This was the scene at the second day of festivities during FAU’s Research Week 2007. The week-long event, put on by FAU’s division of research, showcased all the research going on in each of FAU’s colleges – from ocean engineering to biomedical science.

Almost a year in the making, the week brought together about 300 FAU students, faculty, staff to prepare and the host events, say officials from FAU’s division of research. The main aim of the event, who’s theme was “Celebrating Excellence in Research,” was to get students and faculty together so they could exchange ideas and think of ways to collaborate. The event was also a chance for FAU and the community to see all the different research projects going on at the university.

“It started as just a research day, but as we planned it turned into a whole week,” says Larry Lemanski, FAU’s vice president of research. “It’s an opportunity for students to see experts in their field, to see what’s happening with FAU research and to interact with other students who may be working on something they’re interested in.”

The week was divided into sections, with each college having a day of events. Much of the week features FAU students and faculty presenting their research projects.

Today’s big event is the Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida’s 6th annual bioscience conference. Scientists and business experts from the biotech industry will discuss new collaborations in bioinformatics and biomedical science. The event will feature speakers like the founder and president of Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, a human genome expert from Scripps Florida and the vice president of IBM Consulting Services. FAU President Frank Brogan and Boca Raton Mayor Steven Abrams will also be speaking at the event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Grand Palm Room and the Live Oak Pavilion on the Boca campus.

Monday’s events featured FAU’s engineering program. The main event was a panel discussion on the many environmental challenges that lie in Florida’s future. FAU faculty and outside experts spoke on urban and regional planning, ecosystem studies and water resource management.

There was also a tour of the Visual Planning Technology lab. Attendees got to see – in 3-D – how an area may look with more buildings. “They can see what it would look like with a building there or how the light would come in the window,” Lemanski says. “It’s pretty interesting.”

Lemanski says the first two days of events drew a mixed crowd of students, faculty and people from outside FAU. “Attendance has been far beyond what I even expected. People seem to be responding positively.”

Attendance at events has ranged from a few dozen to nearly 300 people, says Gisele Galoustian,communications director for the division of research and one of the event’s principle planners. She expects more than 700 people to attend the events over the course of the week.

Lemanski says they plan to hold Research Week again next year, which he hopes will be even bigger. “Maybe we’ll have a Nobel laureate give a lecture.”

Research week continues today with events on the Boca and the John D. MacArthur campuses, and they’ll run through Friday. Here are a couple of events Lemanski says to look out for the rest of the week:

Thursday the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters will have a number of displays, including a 3-D diorama and featured designs by Michael Singer. It’s from 2-5 p.m. on Boca campus on the second floor atrium of the Christine Lynn Nursing building.

On Friday, the Barry Kaye College of Business will give a tour of its “trading room,” which simulates the feel of Wall Street. The tour is part of the College of Business’ open house from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the business building.

Click here to check out a complete list of events for the rest of the week.