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Examine Luther: A Science Visit Day

  • Date: Saturday, September 17, 2011
  • Time: All day
  • Location: Valders Hall of Science

To register for Examine Luther: A Science Visit Day, please go to

Are you a junior or senior in high school with a possible interest in biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental studies, mathematics, nursing, physics or psychology? If so, Examine Luther: A Science Visit Day may be a good option for you. The day is designed to provide you with lots of interaction with science professors and students, and hands-on experiences in many of our science-related fields. Your parents are also welcome to attend.

The registration deadline for Examine Luther is Monday, September 12.

Examine Luther: A Science Visit Day schedule:

9:00 a.m. — Registration (Sampson Hoffland Laboratories)
9:30 a.m. — Welcome
10:15 a.m. — Lab Experiences
12:15 p.m. — Lunch
1:00 p.m. — Campus Tour

Examine Luther: A Science Visit Day Lab Experiences:

A. Landscape and the Environment in Northeast Iowa. Coldwater springs, steep limestone bluffs, rugged terrain. Have you noticed that the landscape around Decorah doesn't quite look like much of the surrounding region? Now is your chance to explore the intriguing karst geology of Northeast Iowa, and to investigate how this geology uniquely impacts local environmental quality. Be prepared to be outdoors, and wear footwear appropriate for hiking a few miles on local trails.

B. Using Simulation Experiences to Save Lives. This session is currently full.

C. Physics Research at Luther. Students will have an opportunity to visit four active research labs in the Physics Department and to sample various research projects. They will use an Atomic Force Microscope to make measurements of surfaces that are a part of ongoing friction studies. Students will process data from an open star cluster to determine how stellar variability is related to stellar color. They will work with elementary particle physics data taken from an experiment at the accelerator at Cornell University and used to study the strong nuclear force between quarks. Finally, there will be an opportunity to model the atomic forces that hold the atoms of a Fullerene in place.

D. Computer Science: Fractals, Graphics, and Video Games, Oh My! Explore computer graphics, fractals, and the fundamentals of video game development in a hands-on laboratory experience. We will also provide a brief tour of the computer science laboratories and teaching spaces. No previous programming experience required.

E. Chemistry: Chemistry and Crime. This session is currently full.

F. Psychology: I Know What I Like, Or Do I? Examine whether you may unknowingly hold a biased view regarding race, age, weight, or gender with the Implicit Apperception Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee & Schwartz, 1998). We will discuss how social attitudes may be formed and the logic behind using implicit tests to examine personal biases. We will also discuss research opportunities available in the psychology department at Luther.

G. Stream Insects of Northeast Iowa. Collect aquatic insects from a nearby trout stream and learn how aquatic insects are used to indicate water quality. Be prepared to go outside; rubber boots will be provided.

H. Dynamics of Smooth and Skeletal Muscle. This session is currently full.

I. Mathematical Experimentation with Sage. Modeling complex dynamical systems (the interaction of competing species, for example) will be explored using the computer algebra system Sage. An introduction to the software is the first objective. Next, Sage will be used to visualize and analyze systems of differential equations including the Lotka-Volterra equations for a predator-prey model, and models for competing species systems. Computer-based experimentation is used to understand model sensitivity to certain parameters and identify parameter values that result in bifurcations in model behavior.

J. Stewardship Hike on Luther's Natural Areas. Take a hike on the Luther trail system and explore a prairie, forest, and woodland that are being actively restored by Luther students and faculty. We'll discuss natural ecology of the areas, listen for birds, and identify some plants. See how we combine student learning with hands-on experience of controlling some of the non-native invasive species to help maintain and improve the quality of Luther's natural areas. A great hike for those who want to connect learning about biology and the natural areas around us.

To register for Examine Luther: A Science Visit Day, please go to

Questions? Contact noelamy, Admissions