CSA Supports Science Works

Dalesandro (red shirt) and Santucci wow Science Works attendees with a cryogenics show.  Images: CSA

Dalesandro (red shirt) and Santucci wow Science Works attendees with a cryogenics show. Images: CSA

On October 14, CSA participated in the 5th annual Science Works Career Fair at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago. Over 200 representatives from more than 40 companies and organizations staffed stations throughout the museum, including Argonne National Laboratory (CSA CSM), Microsoft, Northrop Grumman and even CBS’ “Young Sheldon” sitcom.

CSA was joined by Martina Martinello, Andrew Dalesandro and James Santucci, scientists from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (CSA CSM). Martinello spoke with attendees about careers in cryogenics and superconductivity while Dalesandro and Santucci took up the mantle of Fermilab’s famous Mr. Freeze, aka Jerry Zimmerman, and wowed them with a cryogenics show.

“Kids need to see what the work world is about, what people are doing and how science is related,” says Martinello, a physicist who develops and tests superconducting technologies for SRF cavities. “It’s important to see that people are really passionate about science.” Martinello studied in many academic fields, eventually pursuing SRF cavity research as it combined her interests in physics, chemistry and materials science. She attended a STEM fair in high school and says events like Science Works are really important for exposing young people to careers in science.

This year’s event attracted more than 4,000 students and families who learned about STEM oriented careers from an array of professionals and hands-on activities. One of the visitors was 14-year-old Sophia Ciatti, a high school sophomore who attended the fair with her father, a mechanical engineer at Argonne. She says that she became attracted to science as soon as she understood what the word meant. “This event is super important, to get science out there and make people aware,” she says. “Because all that’s in the mainstream media is the very general, basic branches of science and there’s a lot of subcategories that I didn’t know existed until today.” Ciatti was one of many who stopped by the CSA booth to watch Santucci and Dalesandro’s cryogenics show. The engineers used liquid nitrogen to both mesmerize and instruct the crowd, shrinking materials and freezing marshmallows while discussing everything from Lenz’s Law to the cryogenic expansion and contraction of common gases and the temperature dependence of resistivity of aluminum. “As a Chicago resident I feel compelled to give back to my community,” says Dalesandro, a cryogenic mechanical engineer who designs, operates and maintains cryogenic equipment and infrastructure at Fermilab and its partner facilities. “I have had great scientific influences in my life and I hope to do my part to help inspire the next generation of brilliant scientists, engineers and creators.”

Dalesandro says he always enjoyed building, deconstructing and understanding the critical functions that make things work. “Lego® sets and Lincoln Logs® were early inspirations, while in later years television shows like ‘How It’s Made’ helped me appreciate the myriad of ways to build and fabricate.”

Unlike Dalesandro, Santucci stumbled into the sciences late, while studying for a BA in Business Administration. “My liberal arts college made me take a science class,” he says. “Physics hooked me and so of course I had to change my major… and spend three more years at the undergraduate level.” He now works as an engineering physicist at Fermilab, specializing in advanced accelerator R&D. He believes that promoting STEM fields is vitally important to our country’s future. “Inspiring and enabling our youth to become scientists and make a difference in our world gives me great pleasure and hope.” ■