Distributed January 19, 2000
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Janet Kerlin

R.I. girls to get hands-on science experience at Brown University

About 50 girls will participate in science demonstrations during a Discovery Day at Brown University Jan. 29, 2000, sponsored by the University and the Girl Scouts of Rhode Island.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Demonstrations of what a speech wave looks like, the sounds of the world’s languages, and a chance to put on virtual reality goggles will be a part of a Discovery Day for 50 girls at Brown University Jan. 29, 2000, an event sponsored jointly by the University and the Girl Scouts of Rhode Island.

Brown professors and graduate students will lead demonstrations for the girls. Each will be accompanied by her mother or other adult or by an undergraduate who is a member of WISE, Brown’s Women in Science and Engineering program. Girl Scouts of Rhode Island hopes that the woman-and-girl partnerships will foster a continuing interest in science.

The girls, including students from elementary schools in Newport and Providence who are not Girl Scouts, have been invited to participate as a part of a Girl Scout USA outreach program called “Girls at the Center.”

The theme of the day is “Get the Message: The Science of Communication.” The following demonstrations are being conducted by Brown’s Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences Department:

  • Acoustic Demonstration – Girls will speak into a computer and see a representation of a speech wave that shows physical properties such as pitch. The demonstration will illustrate how people and computers recognize speech. (Metcalf Research Building, Room 204, 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.)

  • Virtual Reality – The room is empty, but a girl wearing virtual reality goggles will see a carousel she can step on and ride, a cliff she can fall off, and a tunnel that will turn her upside down. Scientists use the facility to test how humans learn to navigate new environments and how those skills can be programmed into robots. (Metcalf Research Building, Room 202, 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.)

  • Sounds of the World’s Languages – With the help of a computer displaying a map of the world, girls will be able to click on a country, click on a language, and hear some of its important sounds. The girls will get exposure to some of the fun aspects of language structure and how this knowledge can be used. (Chancellor’s Dining Hall , Sharpe Refectory, 1:15 to 1:45 p.m.)

The “Girls at the Center” outreach program is made possible by the Franklin Institute and by the National Science Foundation

For information about the Girl Scouts of Rhode Island and its part of the project, call Amy Hood at 351-4500 extension 402.