|When "Doc" Edgerton roamed the halls of MIT, not many people could walk
through Strobe Alley without him pulling them into his lab, showing them some amazing strobe experiments and sending them on their way with a smile, an enthusiasm for science and a personally signed postcard. So when the Edgerton Center opened its doors in 1992, it received numerous calls from Doc's former "students" hoping to bring their children, grandchildren or class of students to Strobe Alley to see the displays in the hall or possibly get into the lab to see the Milkdrop Experiment or some other strobe phenomena first-hand. Wanting to keep that piece of history alive, the center would throw together the original experiments, and a few new ones, and put on a show-and-tell. After a few years of this, it became apparent to Edgerton Center
Director, Prof. J. Kim Vandiver, that a more formalized program was in order.
During the summer of 1995, the Edgerton Center created a Strobe Demonstration Presentation. This demo included the original Doc favorites plus some amazing high-speed photography. Also, the Edgerton Center began to offer its space to other outreach programs at MIT. For example, the MITE2S Program began using the Edgerton Lab to design and build the cars for the Engineering Design Competition. The newly developed KEYS program came to the center looking for fun, hands-on, science activities. The Center for Material Science and Engineering Daycamp also started using the Edgerton Center for part of their summer program. The Edgerton Center was in a wonderful position of being able to offer much needed space, equipment and general staff support to these fantastic programs.
Also during that summer, Paul Parravano of the Government Relations office
and Emily Sandberg, Director of the Public Service Center, introduced
the Edgerton Center to Melanie Barron, Science Coordinator for the
Cambridge Public Schools. Through this introduction, the groundwork for
the 4th-8th grade curriculum enrichment program was laid. And now with
the help of countless Cambridge teachers, MIT students and staff,
Science Staff Teacher Developers and Edgerton Center staff, we see
about 74 Cambridge School classrooms visit per year. We also sponsor
activities for about 58 community and MIT groups per year.