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Juan David's Newsletter - April 10, 2022
A mini World's Fair
I had one of the most exciting weeks in a while. Saying “I’ve enjoyed college” would be a massive lie. But this week was an exception.
It all started on Thursday night at 6:00 PM. I go to the studio to record a UIUC Talkshow interview with a guy building all-electric aircraft using cryogenic liquid hydrogen funded by NASA and others.
The conversation starts a bit slow but we picked it up.
“You might want to cut this part out but…” says the professor when he is just about to grill me.
A few seconds earlier, I asked him about a club on campus he is a faculty advisor for. This club wants to build an electric flying car type. I start by saying that the organization is very cute. They write cute papers with weekly meetings but they only write papers and attend meetings.
“What about building things that crash? What about simply building?” I insisted.
This is when he goes, “You might want to cut this part out but why don’t you actually join the club or start building?”
He’s right. This moment reignited a spark in my soul about building flying things. I have no idea how but I will try. I will start by building some sort of electric flying vehicle that could take me to classes around campus. I’ve refused to get a bike. I average about 40 miles every week of running and walking around campus. It’s painful but I will continue to use this time to remind myself to work on better ways to across space and time.
Of course, I’ll need money and people. But I’ll start by myself with my own money, apply for some grants, and the rest will follow. I will learn by breaking things and will work backward to figure out why stuff works. Instead of becoming an aerospace major and then trying to do stuff.
This was only Thursday night.
A Mini World’s Fair
What came after was Friday and Saturday with what my school calls, “Engineering Open House” aka a mini world’s fair.
If you don’t know what a world’s fair is. It was this massive event where the future was built. Literally built. For instance, for the 1893’s World’s Fair. They built, what became the biggest museum in the western hemisphere, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
The world’s fairs started around the idea that technology was the way to build a better future for the world. It was a place where you got to experience the latest wonders of science and technology. More importantly, this inspired generations of technologists to build what became the future.
Just like today’s kids want to be YouTubers and TikTokers, these events inspired kids to be engineers, scientists, and technologists.
These events were massively sensational and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!!!!
In 1889, Paris hosted the Fair, building the Eiffel Tower and showing 32 million guests the latest wonders of science and technology.
Intent on one-upping Paris, Chicago hosted the Fair in 1893, drawing 27.5 million guests — nearly 40% of the U.S. population before there were cars, planes, or highways.
Guests saw a city illuminated by electricity for the first time, marveled at the architecture that would inspire the City Beautiful movement, and rode the world's first Ferris Wheel.
From It's time to build: A New World's Fair (this guy is trying to bring back the world’s fairs).
Almost half of the population of a country came to see the future and learn how to be part of it. Imagine being the first people riding the Ferris Wheel or seeing electricity for the first time. WOW!!!!
That is what I felt with the mini world’s fair on my campus. This event was even better because it wasn’t only for “cool” college students. The event draws young kids of all ages from nearby areas so seeing their reactions, faces, and AWE was priceless. I couldn’t help myself but observe the repeated sense of wonder they experienced.
And so so much more!!!
The most excited I’ve ever been about being at college after seeing so many cool things. Next year, I’d like to present a really cool thing I build, hopefully, the flying electric vehicle or whatever else.
These events provide inspiration, a reason, and a way forward. So many people studying engineering but how many of these people are thinking about building cool exciting things for the sake of it? Just because they think it’s cool.
We need world’s fairs, give more status to scientists and technologists, and make doing interesting stuff for its own sake cool.
We can speak and talk. But we need to lead by example, and that’s why I’ll work on the electric flying thing project, the UIUC Talkshow to showcase these cool people exist, and continue creating a new narrative.
The Engineering Open House event culminated with a Tesla Coil Concert. And for that, you have to see it for yourself.
TikTok Challenge update? I’m going strong. Just this week, I posted about 30 videos or more. The other people, I started the challenge with, pretty much gave up but I will continue. Yesterday, I had my “first hit” with about 500 likes and 3000 views.
9 weeks left. If you are confused, here’s why I started the challenge.
I’ll see you next week,
Juan David Campolargo