UK brings its research to the people

The science is coming to the people this week as part of an event planned by the University of Kentucky, one of two major tech-themed events happening during the first week of the monthlong celebration called April Is.

Called ukTech10, the event will allow UK researchers to demonstrate the technology they've developed from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at The Penguin, on Main Street across from Lexington Center. Admission is free.

And when they say demonstrate, they mean it, said Len Heller, the university's vice president for commercialization and economic development.

"If you want to see our research with how we deal with the forces of fire like forest fires, you're going to see the prototype we use to study fire," he said. "When you look at what we're doing with security systems for milk that's transported all over the world, you're going to see the milk truck. We talk about a new scanner that makes 3-D models, you're going to see it. ... It's not going to be a lot of reading things ... and it's not a poster board."

Heller said it's a new direction for the university to take its research directly to the public. This presentation replaces what was traditionally a faculty networking event on campus.

"We wanted the public to become aware of just what UK does and what research can produce," he said. "It's really kind of an experiment for us to make it available to the public."

The event was scheduled at The Penguin, a piano bar, because of its proximity to the Creative Cities Summit that will be going on across the street at Lexington Center on April 7-9.

Also scheduled this week is the sixth annual Kentucky Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference, on April 6 at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort. Geared toward researchers, students and innovators, the daylong conference, on Tuesday, will offer speakers on subjects like nanotechnology, cultivating a technology-driven culture with a guest from the State Science and Technology Institute, and details on new federal grant-writing requirements.

The conference will also feature about 80 presentations of ongoing research, said Maria Labreveux, a senior program manager for the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, "we are going to have a session on women innovators in science," Labreveux said.