Ames Laboratory Kicks Off "Making Stuff"


Contact:                                                                                  Date: Dec. 6, 2010

Steve Karsjen, Ames Laboratory,

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory is taking its show on the road, so to speak, later this month and on through April 2011 as a coalition partner in the prestigious “Making Stuff” program.

Making Stuff is a four-part PBS prime-time television series from the award-winning producers of NOVA, developed in partnership with the Materials Research Society.  Slated to begin airing on January 19, the series will present dramatic stories about the materials that are transforming our world.  Making Stuff will show how materials have changed history and are continuing to shape our future.

Ames Laboratory is one of only 20 sites around the country selected to be Making Stuff coalition partners and an additional 10-15 sites are holding outreach events.  To become a coalition member, the Lab wrote a proposal, which included finding partner organizations willing to cooperate on Making Stuff educational outreach events.   Some of those partners include the Science Center of Iowa, Iowa State University's Science Bound program, Valley West Mall, Ames Public Library, Ames and Des Moines Public Schools, and the ISU chapters of the Materials Research Society and Material Advantage

The Lab’s first outreach event will be held on Thursday, Dec. 16 in cooperation with the Science Center of Iowa. Tom Lograsso, division director of the Lab’s Materials Sciences and Engineering program, will present a Café Scientifique on rare-earth materials entitled, “Rare earths: What’s the Attraction?”  The event, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble bookstore on University Ave in West Des Moines, is free and open to the public. 

Lograsso’s presentation is the first of two events the Lab has planned in cooperation with the Science Center of Iowa.  In addition, the ISU MRS and Material Advantage chapters will be providing hands-on science activities for numerous interactive outreach events at malls, schools and other venues.  One of those is slated for Feb. 22 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Valley West Mall in West Des Moines.  This event will also be free and open to the public. Additional events will be announced at a later date.

 To find out more about these and other upcoming events, visit the Ames Laboratory website:

 MAKING STUFF, NOVA’s exciting four-part documentary series, premieres January 19, 2011. MAKING STUFF takes viewers on a thrilling tour of the material world and presents dramatic stories about how the field of materials science has changed history and is shaping the future. Each episode—Stronger, Smaller, Cleaner, and Smarter—gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at scientific innovations that are happening every day on the frontiers of scientific research and ushering in a new generation of materials. MAKING STUFF is hosted by respected journalist, New York Times technology columnist, and Emmy Award-winning CBS News correspondent David Pogue.