Lightning strike!

Feb 24, 2005

Students from Carman Ainsworth Junior High School learn about lightning.

A class of 20 seventh grade students from Carman Ainsworth Junior High School observed a demonstration on lightning and motors Wednesday, Feb. 23, in Kettering's High Voltage and Electric Machines laboratories. Dr. Huseyin Hiziroglu, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), hosted Melissa Warburton's class to campus by displaying various electrical charges using high power generators in the laboratory.

The basic idea behind this effort was to show students that although one may not see signs of electrical charge, the charge is still present, thus emphasizing the importance of being cautious around electrical devices. During the display, Hiziroglu fired up the generators in the lab to show what charges of voltages up to 100,000 volts looked like. In some cases, students shrieked when the electricity snapped during the discharge to ground after the generator was turned off.

WJRT-TV 12 in Flint covered this event. This effort represents continuing work by Kettering University to reach into the local community and offer opportunities to show the impact of research on everyday life. Additionally, this type of outreach effort could provide greater insight for kids into the world of engineering and science, which could attract more students to pursue these fields at the college level. Recent studies show that a lack of enrollment in the sciences and engineering fields still exists in the U.S., and efforts like this could potentially turn the tide.

Written by Gary J. Erwin
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