UCSD scientist talks about his role in ‘Nifty 50′ program

Juan Carlos Del Alamo

Juan Carlos Del Alamo. Courtesy: UCSD

Light Staff

We asked Juan Carlos del Alamo, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biomechanics from UCSD about his role in the “Nifty 50” speaker series that is part of the San Diego Science Festival. Its purpose is to encourage students’ interest in the science, math and technlology.

Del Alamos’s research interests include bioengineering, fluid dynamics and flow turbulence. His work has applications in a variety of engineering disciplines, from airplane design to developing new medical instruments. He talked with students at the Language Academy about the movement of fluid in the heart and body.

• What’s the most compelling point you make to get across to students the opportunities for careers in the sciences?

I try to convey the idea that science is a welcoming field that is open to all of them because it revolves around new ideas. Indeed, young generations of students with a fresh perspective are the most likely ones to come up with new approaches to solve outstanding challenges, and more importantly, with fresh questions that can open new fields and lead to the development of advanced technologies. I also try to explain that innovative ideas are good ideas regardless of their race, gender, background, etc. so that Science is open to every one of them.

• What influenced your own career path?

Since I was a kid and through my teens, my family spent all our holidays in a tiny countryside village by a lake surrounded by mountains where my father and grandparents were born. There was nothing much to do there in the long summer days but to hike, swim, or ride a bicycle, so I was always wandering around nature. So I was somewhat of a “curious observer” of plants, birds, stars, etc, and I was most fortunate to have a very good friend, Dani, with whom share my curiosity about nature. I am positive that these experiences shaped our career paths because both Dani and I eventually became scientists.

Is there anything you’d like to say about importance of the Nifty 50 program?

The SD Science Festival Nifty-50 program is a wonderful initiative that will motivate students at an early age about the importance of Science to society and about new exciting career opportunities in science and engineering.

I would like to add that, from the scientist perspective, bringing our passion and career experiences to K-12 classrooms is quite a stimulating experience that revitalizes our commitment to education and to society. In a sense, this program is not only good because it brings the lab to the classroom, but also because it takes the scientist out of the lab and puts him/her in closer contact with the “real world.”

Fast Facts

• San Diego Science Festival
• March 19 -26
• EXPO DAY at PETCO Park on March 26.

Related posts:

  1. Nifty 50 spreads word on science careers
  2. Research Report: Genes found that cause toxic accumulation in plants
  3. Researchers find evidence of ‘liberal gene’
  4. UCSD study reveals visual pattern preference may indicate autism
  5. UCSD's Vinetz to head malaria study

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Posted by Kathy Day on Feb 16, 2011. Filed under Health & Science. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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