WELCOME TO ROME — Mayor jacqueline M. Izzo speaks at a briefing Wednesday about the start of the 2016 Project Fibonacci STEAM Conference this weekend. The week-long event, based primarily at The Beeches, will blend science and art themes through a series of tracks for high school seniors and juniors, and college students. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)
Mayor: Project Fibonacci to showcase Oneida County
Demonstrations, challenges and noted speakers are all part of the first-ever Project Fibonacci STEAM Youth Conference that opens Sunday.
More than 100 young people are signed up for the week-long program that organizers hope will positively motivate and enlighten high school and college students in the areas of science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics, also referred to as STEAM. Sessions will blend themes through a series of tracks.
“I think it is not only going to showcase Rome, but Oneida County,” said Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo at a conference status briefing on Wednesday. “I think it is going to be a wonderful opportunity.”
Based at The Beeches, the sessions will feature local and regional professionals, instructors and authoritative sources on various STEAM topics. The daily themes are “Cosmology and The Universe,” “The Brain and Human Physiology,” “Art, Graphics, Photography and Nature,” “Music and the Science of Sound,” and “Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Our World.”
The keynote speakers (see story below) include former astronauts, professors and an actor who has had a lifelong interest in science.
Also, there will be field trips to off-site locations, including research facilities such as the Air Force’s lab in Griffiss business park and art museums.
The organizers’ expectation is that the conference will become an annual one that points to careers in the region, to help keep young people in the area after they complete college.
“This is our entire community coming together to do something fantastic,” said Daniel J. Kostelec, STEAM outreach coordinator at ANDRO Computational Solutions, LLC. The conference is the inspiration of ANDRO.
He said while most of the attendees are coming from Oneida and Madison counties, some live as far away as Maine, Florida and Washington state.
“It really plays, fits very well” with what Oneida County has been doing, said County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. He sees synergies with ongoing economic development activities and specific initiatives such as Vision 2020 and unmanned aerial system testing at Griffiss International Airport.
“We are truly invested in this,” he said. “There are great opportunities. There are great minds here, we know that.”
“It’s a great accomplishment,” the county official said of the conference. “As I always say, ‘Doing nothing is not an option.’”
Leonardo Pisano Bonacci, also known as “Fibonacci,” was the12th- and 13th-century mathematician who introduced a branch of mathematics that describes patterns in the realms of science, engineering, nature, art and music.
ANDRO’s long-term goal is the development of a research and technical arts and sciences campus at The Beeches, where the small scientific research company is headquartered. Ramona Smith, human resources director, said such a campus would “bring an educated and grained workforce to our community.”
Keynote speakers for STEAM Conference presentations
The public can sit in on presentations by keynote speakers during next week’s the 2016 Project Fibonacci STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Conference.
There will be talks by former astronauts, professors and an actor at The Beeches Conference Center, Rome Free Academy and the SUNY Polytechnic Institutute Wildcat Field House.
Tickets to the events can be purchased at www.ProjectFibonacci.org or through eventbrite.com. Prices start at $25.
Scheduled speakers include:
-- Monday: Dr. Alex Filippenko, cosmologist from the University of California-Berkeley and award-winning author appearing in more than 100 television documentaries, who will discuss “The Birth and Early Evolution of the Universe” (8:30 a.m., The Beeches), and “Dark Energy and the Runaway Universe” (6:30 p.m., RFA).
-- Tuesday: Dr. David Eagleman, a neuroscientist and neuroscientist and a New York Times bestselling author. who will present on “The Brain: The Story of You” (9 a.m., SUNY Poly).
-- Wednesday: Alan Bean, NASA Apollo XII astronaut, test pilot and artist, who will discuss “My Experience as an Artist on the Moon” (8:30 a.m., The Beeches); and Alan Alda, “M*A*S*H” and “West Wing” actor and science communicator, who will present on “The Art of Communicating Science” (7 p.m., SUNY Poly).
-- Thursday: Chris Hadfield, NASA International Space Station astronaut and Canadian musician, who will speak on “The Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth” (11 a.m., Rome Free Academy).
-- Friday: Dr. Brian Greene, physicist, cosmologist, mathematician and naturalist of Columbia University and founder of the World Science Festival, will present on “Breakthrough Thinking: The Fabric of the Cosmos and the Discovery of Gravitational Waves” (11 a.m., SUNY Poly).