Technology

Lockheed Martin welcomes 1,400 young minds

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More than 1,400 kids converged on the high-security Lockheed Martin campus in Sunnyvale Thursday morning. They were as young as 6 and as old as 17, the children or grandchildren of employees, customers or contractors. They were participating in the research facility's ninth annual "Young Minds at Work" day. It was an opportunity to expose them to science and math projects that might influence their future careers.

When asked if 6-year-old Daniel Gandhi was interested in science and engineering, he said yes and that he might want to work in the field some day.

Lockheed Martin pulled out all the stops, displaying some of the latest technology it's developing. One example is a battlefield communications system that uses a gold mesh reflector that allows soldiers in a valley to communicate using satellites.

Interactivity was a major focus, so tabletop experiments or projects were set up to allow the young people to pick and choose what interested them. They used uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows, for example, to try to build a seismically stable structure. Then it was tested on a shake table and 7-year-old Rachel Ford's structure passed.

Linda Reiners, vice president of business development at Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, hopes the young people will be inspired by what they're seeing and one day become the next generation of science and technology wizards who will drive innovation.

"It's very energizing to us to get a chance to have all these young folks here and to see their excitement and enthusiasm. It kind of reminds us why did we get in this in the first place?" said Reiners.

The kids might not be eloquent at this age, but they definitely like to learn about robotics and collecting free stuff like candy.

"I got a free piece of candy and a free pen!" said 7-year-old Bryce Aberg.

Aberg's real ambition is to design better video games, which he loves to play.

Others seemed a bit overwhelmed by the variety of projects on display and some kids also learned technology sometimes breaks down. That happened at a flight simulator after they had calculated the distance and time.

We may not know for another 20 years whether any of the young people who attended the day's event will eventually become scientists or technology people, but at least their exposure on Thursday has piqued their interest.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
sunnyvale, lockheed martin, children, technology, david louie
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