Sandia LabNews

Record-setting Kids Day

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A YOUNGER PERSPECTIVE — Student Christian Martinez, right, explores his surroundings through augmented reality glasses during a demonstration led by cybersecurity during Kids Day at Sandia. (Photo by Craig Fritz)

Nearly 2,000 guests filled Sandia’s Albuquerque site and 200 visited the Livermore site to see the cool things their parents and relatives do as part of Kids Day — the highest attendance ever recorded.

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STEM ENTRY — Sandians and their visitors arrive at Kids Day on the Sandia California site last Thursday. (Photo by Spencer Toy)

During the April 27 visit, middle and high schoolers got to see an explosives test, using a quarter pound of a common chemical explosive. “We test a variety of items by measuring the aspects of the explosion and how targets react,” manager Kevin Gamble said to a crowd before a siren blared that warned of the impending boom at the Explosives Test Site.

Students also saw a fire ignited at the Thermal Test Complex inside the flame test cell, which is surrounded by water-cooled walls. “I think it was really cool. I’m trying to get into physics, and it’s always fun to come over and see this,” said Elizabeth Titus, 10th grader at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School and daughter of Paul Titus, who manages the vibration and acoustics test laboratory.

She was one of hundreds of children, relatives and friends of Sandians who walked through the Labs and learned what goes on each day, what their family members do when they head off to work and the types of careers they could have someday.

Some families made the long trip out to the solar tower, where they saw the sun’s heat bake cookies in minutes. Others went beyond the rainbow by participating in optical experiments. “Our job is to see the invisible,” said electrical engineer Chris Saltonstall, who works in remote sensing. Students had the opportunity to measure their hair strands using a laser and light wavelengths. They also saw what bugs see when they view flowers under ultraviolet light.

More hands-on experiments included making ice cream using liquid nitrogen, seeing how virtual reality and robotics work, extracting DNA from a strawberry and examining its microbes under a microscope, watching luminol glow, making slime and soap and learning how to catch and identify polluting particles in the air.

This year’s Kids Day was the first time since 2019 that staff in Albuquerque were able to take families behind the fence. It was the first Kids Day in 10 years at Sandia California. The day not only fostered more appreciation for what their relatives do at Sandia but also sparked imagination in young minds. 

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LESSONS FROM FIRE — A 2-by-2-meter pool of aviation fuel burns during a demonstration at the Thermal Test Complex on Kids Day at Sandia. (Photo by Craig Fritz)
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COOL REACTION — Student Harold Pendleton, bottom left, watches as technologist Mike Hutchinson prepares ice cream by pouring liquid nitrogen into a stand mixer during a demonstration during Kids Day. (Photo by Craig Fritz)
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THE NEXT GENERATION — A Sandian and his daughters work together to build a paper roller coaster during Kids Day in Sandia California.(Photo by Spencer Toy)
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SPECIAL GUESTS — Student Elizabeth Titus, daughter of manager Paul Titus, makes a bubble while visiting the Thermal Test Complex on Kids Day at Sandia. (Photo by Craig Fritz)
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VIVA SANDIA — Lakeisha Quintana plays with friends at a photo booth in Steve Schiff Auditorium during Kids Day at Sandia New Mexico. (Photo by Craig Fritz)
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COMPLEX CHALLENGES — A Kids Day participant, center, takes on a cyber challenge with the help of a Sandia staff member, right, at Sandia California. (Photo by Spencer Toy)
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GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL — Student Sophia Hobbs attempts to catch small foil containers as they fly off of a Van de Graaff generator demonstrating electrostatic discharge during Kids Day at Sandia New Mexico. (Photo by Craig Fritz)
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CHECK OUT THE FLEET — Student Abigail Neidigk, left, leans in as her sister Madison Neidigk enjoys the air cushioned seat in a semitruck cab on display at Sandia New Mexico. (Photo by Craig Fritz)

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