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Curiosity Cube Brings Science to UW April 11-12

April 5, 2017
birghtly painted trailer with grahic of child on it and people going in
The Curiosity Cube, a mobile science lab housed in a shipping container, will visit UW April 11-12. (MilliporeSigma Photo)

The Curiosity Cube -- essentially science in a shipping container -- is coming to the University of Wyoming.

A retrofitted 22-foot x 10-foot shipping container turned mobile science lab, the MilliporeSigma Curiosity Cube is equipped with the latest technology. It provides a learning environment that allows visitors of all ages to become immersed in specific science topics -- from learning about how DNA works to building a custom microbe using a 3-D printer. The goal is to inspire curiosity in the next generation of scientists.

The Curiosity Cube will be on campus Tuesday, April 11, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., for UW Lab School students; and Wednesday, April 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., for all UW students. It will be located in front of the Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center both days.

“Anyone is welcome in the Cube on the 12th -- students, parents, community members,” says Andrea Burrows, assistant professor of science education in UW’s Department of Secondary Education.

MilliporeSigma and UW’s College of Education have partnered previously. Over the last four years, the two entities offered science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) summer camps for Wyoming upper elementary students, Burrows says.

“MilliporeSigma recently reached out to me and asked if the Curiosity Cube could make UW a stop on its U.S. tour,” Burrows says. “With the College of Education, UW Lab School, and College of Arts and Sciences’ physics/astronomy support, we said ‘yes.’”

Examples of STEM learning experiences in the Curiosity Cube include:

-- Learning about the role of DNA and the importance it plays in determining traits and characteristics through a hands-on DNA extraction and precipitation, and by interacting with individual cells through a touch screen or virtual reality interfaces.

-- Engaging in the concepts of precision medicine by building on the importance of DNA and how biomarkers help determine functionality, and then building a custom microbe.

-- Utilizing a 3-D printing pen to help highlight new materials, such as resins and pigments used in 3-D printing applications.

Each experiment takes about 3-4 minutes, and the Curiosity Cube can accommodate approximately 100 visitors per hour.

All Curiosity Cube experiments are staffed by MilliporeSigma employees. This allows visitors to ask questions and discuss the possibilities of a future career in STEM.

“It’s very hands-on. Students of all ages can participate in a variety of experiments,” says Renee Connolly, head of communications and corporate responsibility, MilliporeSigma. “We look forward to bringing the Curiosity Cube to the University of Wyoming.”

In addition to the UW visit, the Curiosity Cube will make local stops at Laramie Junior High School, 1355 N. 22nd St., Friday, April 7, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; Albany County Public Library, 310 S. Eighth St., Saturday, April 8, 1-5 p.m.; and Snowy Range Academy, 4037 Grand Ave., Monday, April 10, 8:20 a.m.-2:35 p.m.

During 2017, the Curiosity Cube is expected to make more than two dozen stops across the U.S., with the goal to reach approximately 350,000 students. Thus far, the Curiosity Cube has made stops in Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

The life science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany -- which operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada -- is a top-tier supplier of tools and services to the global life science industry. The company has 19,000 employees and 65 manufacturing sites worldwide, with a portfolio of more than 300,000 products enabling scientific discovery.

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