by Lauren St. Clair
There are so many words that can be used to describe my experience with Beakerhead and being a part of the Ignition Crew this year. It was certainly marvelous, eye-opening, engaging, and of course, tremendous and curious. Being a part of the Ignition Crew, I got to see a bit more of the hard work and ingenuity that contributors to Beakerhead were putting in, which was even more inspiring and impressive after Beakerhead got hit with a rough September snow storm that affected Calgary greatly. The creativity of the creators was outstanding! Being someone who enjoys art, science and engineering, I felt that creators really brought so much justice to that statement. Being a part of the Ignition Crew is an experience I am grateful for, and an experience I would recommend to any youth with a passion. Whatever your passion is, I guarantee you’ll find others with that passion in the Ignition Crew, other Beakerhead programs, or creators.
This is my experience with the Ignition Crew …
Before the week of Beakerhead the Calgary Mini Maker Faire took place at the TELUS Spark Science Centre, and wow, it was a hodge-podge of creativity and a glimpse into what the week ahead of us would look like! From old vs. new tesla coils, robots, 3D printers, remote control sofa chairs, and much more, from the wide variety of projects and inventions. Throughout my time with the Ignition Crew, each day was as intriguing and eye opening as the next; I was always learning something new.
Volunteering at Maker Faire showing people how to make DIY Catapults
The opening night of Beakerhead was breathtaking, from one surprise to the next, it was very much so, as His Worship, Mayor Nenshi put it, “A stampede for geeks,” and the opening night really captured the essence of Beakerhead and what was to come. Starting off with the band cleverly named The Free Radicals, to Festo’s bionic creations such as the jellyfish and bird which imitated the creature they were inspired by, to a humorous talk on the science of humor, to even a stand-up comic robot. The night was an overall hit and I ended up finding myself and other Ignition Crew members singing along to the finale song, sung by a theoretical physicist Tim Blais about the cosmos to the tune of The Circle of Life.
The Ignition Crew thanks their amazing sponsor Total at Tremendous and Curious World of Beakerhead
The next evening was hosted by the Globe Theatre, where the public not only got to see the film Gravity, but most impressively, got to speak to a real astronaut, Commander John B. Herrington, and Dr. Doug Hamilton, who studied the human body in space and its applications to life on Earth and future missions in space. You didn’t have to be a space nerd to be compelled by their own experiences in space. It was a night that prompted inspiration and education.
Lauren with Commander John B. Herrington
The Periodic Table, a ferris wheel restaurant with a spin on chemistry and food, lit up Fort Calgary. The Ignition Crew and other members of the public had the chance to learn about the creative workings of the restaurant itself, as if a ferris wheel chemistry pun filled restaurant wasn’t intriguing enough. The Periodic Table was powered by the used cooking oils from other restaurants around the city of Calgary. The rest of the evening was spent at the Inglewood Night Market, where street vendors were in abundance, and if you were chilly you wouldn’t be any longer if you checked out El Pulpo Mecanico. The Ignition Crew also enjoyed the lively, fire-shooting, musical show of El Pulpo Mecanico, the octopus car made from scrap and used materials.
The Crew chatting with Sustainival about sustainable oil conversion at the Periodic Table
If you missed El Pulpo Mecanico at the Inglewood Night Market however, you were sure to spot it again at Little Big Street, where many creations, big and small, were on display to the public. My final day with the Ignition Crew was spent at Little Big Street, where we had the chance to truly explore inside and out of the creations. Little Big Street was made up of a diverse creations from the Hippo Love vehicle, a human sized nest, miniature homes, a burning large gnome, and Laser Cat, who could be found in the evening at Beakernight.
The Myrtle at Little Big Street photographed by Lauren
Mobile Phone Booth created by students at the Beakerhead Summer Intensive
My experience with Beakerhead as a member of the Ignition Crew was one that I will definitely remember and appreciate, as I am sure the other members will themselves too. It was inspiring, perspective changing, educational, and it really ignited my spirits to put my own passions together as contributors of Beakerhead did themselves.