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Congratulations are in order for Thatcher Howard!  He was recently honored at the Black Engineer of the Year Annual Conference in February 2010 as a Modern Day Technology Leader.

It was here in the Orlando Science Center that Thatcher found his true calling, to become an Electronics Engineer. On a spontaneous trip to our facility as a young child, playing with the motors, generators and hands-on exhibits inspired him. He returned to his South Apopka home that day and began rebuilding new toys out of broken ones and incorporating his experience into his designs. Knowing that his family would never be able to afford college, he relied solely on his education to pull him through towards his dream of becoming an Engineer.

After graduating from high school, Thatcher Howard joined the Navy and began Aircraft Electricians School. Leaving the Navy in 2001, he moved on to DeVry University and received his Bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering. Currently Thatcher works for Northrop Grumman as an Electronics Engineer and has been influential in regards to Northrop’s Electronic Systems Laser Program.

To help provide opportunities and experiences that Thatcher had to our youth, he regularly volunteers in a variety of ways. He leads a troop of Boy Scouts, aids in Family Science Nights at local elementary schools and chaperones fieldtrips to the Orlando Science Center. Thatcher also encourages students to pursue in science, technology, engineering and math education and careers.

 

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Celebrating the Science of Sustainability

Orlando Science Center Unveiled New Energy-Efficient HVAC, Solar Panels and Announced Major Lighting Retrofit

The Orlando Science Center unveiled its state-of-the-art eco-friendly HVAC system and solar panel array and launched its plan for a major lighting retrofit on June 16, 2010. These efforts are part of the Science Center’s dedication to increase energy efficiency, decrease operational costs and help serve as a community leader demonstrating the use of sustainable technologies.

This event announces the completion of the organization’s first steps towards attaining the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for its facility. Many partners contributed to the success of this effort, including the City of Orlando, Orange County, the Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs Council, Irvine Mechanical, OUC the Reliable One, the Darden Restaurant Foundation and Azur Solar USA.

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OUC - The Reliable One, The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation, and Azur Solar USA Support Installation of Solar Panels That Will Produce 42,660 kWh of Electricity Annually

Orlando, FL - June 16, 2010 - The Orlando Science Center now has part of its facility being powered by the sun thanks to a new solar panel system. This system, recently installed on the Science Center’s roof, is expected to produce about 42,660 kWh of electricity annually - enough to power about three homes. The solar panel installation is part of the Science Center’s effort to increase its energy efficiency, decrease operational costs and serve as a community leader in the use of sustainable technologies.

In addition to the installation, educational experiences are currently being designed to engage guests in the science of solar power. The Science Center plans to use its facility as a showcase for sustainable technologies, including energy efficient lighting, high efficiency cooling, smart building controls and solar technology.

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Have you ever wondered how a wave is formed? In the new documentary film featuring nine-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater titled Ultimate Wave: Tahiti, premiering June 19 at the Orlando Science Center, viewers will get to see firsthand on a giant screen how waves are formed. In addition, the film will feature state-of-the-art animated sequences detailing the science behind how a wave works and the physical properties of the oceanic phenomenon. The film uses Slater and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the backbone for its inquiry into the science behind the art.

Beyond just the rigorous science, the film also delves into the cultural aspects of waves and wave making, as well as the cultural history of surfers in Tahiti. The film uses Tahitian surfing legend Raimana Van Bastolaer to speak of Teahupo’o, the “Ultimate Wave” feared by many surfers around the world. It also goes into the history of the ancient Polynesian watermen.

The film ultimately comes down to a balance between science and tradition, between state-of-the-art and history. It uses Kelly Slater and Raimana Van Bastolaer as the personification of the two views, and not unlike the two friends, ultimately strikes a harmony.

Ultimate Wave


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In the surfing world, there is only one name: Kelly Slater. The nine-time world champion is unparalleled in the sport, taking the likes of Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Babe Ruth and wrapping them into one surfing god. As an unquestioned king in his sport, the legend garners respect from many. What isn’t widely known, however, is that the king respects the mayor; the Mayor of Teahupo’o.

Raimana Van Bastolaer may not be a household name (yet), but his surfing talent has already garnered the respect of the unquestioned king of surfing. While filming Ultimate Wave: Tahiti, premiering June 19 at the Orlando Science Center, Slater met up with Van Bastolaer to tackle the “Ultimate Wave.” While filming, the two bonded and formed a mutual respect for one another.

While Slater rides on state-of-the-art equipment in rigorously timed competitions, Van Bastolaer tends to the quiet, laid-back attitude of the ancient Tahitian watermen. Van Bastolaer explores the science and art of riding the wave, and speaks to the connections people make with the ocean. And while Slater may be the King of Surfing, at times, the King hails to the Mayor.

 


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The word “Teahupo’o” may not strike fear into a layperson. It may not command the admiration and desire that it necessarily deserves. And yet, when uttered to the likes of nine-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater or Tahitian native Raimana Van Bastolaer, “Teahupo’o” means only one thing: respect.

Teahupo’o is home to what many consider the most dangerous and perfect wave to be found anywhere. In fact, its origin, strength and power are examined in the large format film, Ultimate Wave: Tahiti, premiering June 19 at the Orlando Science Center. The film explores the wave, as well as the Tahitian culture surrounding the buildup of the wave. But guests make no mistake when told this wave rests at one of the most sought-after beaches in the entire world; they know this wave is a beast.

 


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Kelly Slater is one of the few names from the tight-knit surfing community to reach beyond the ears of the hardcore surfing fan. The Florida grown surfer is known to the world for his unsurpassed nine world championships, laid-back attitude and rugged good looks. But what many don’t know is that Slater’s biggest impact comes from saving the waves, rather than conquering them.

Through The Kelly Slater Foundation, Slater is one of the worlds leading advocates in ocean protection and ecological and scientific understanding. His devotion has always been to the ocean, and his influence attracts those sharing a concern for the ocean’s ecosystems.

Slater’s admiration for the science behind the waves is no more apparent than in his starring role in the film Ultimate Wave: Tahiti, showing at the Orlando Science Center. With the help of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the film demonstrates how communities and people far from the ocean shore are affected by the ocean’s interplay within our ecosystem. Slater’s hands-on wave experience, coupled with the NOAA’s scientific insight provides a unique way for everybody to get on board and save the waves.

Ultimate Wave: Tahiti premieres at Cocktails & Cosmos, Saturday June 19.


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Orlando Science Center • 777 E. Princeton Street • Orlando, Florida 32803 • Phone: 407.514.2000 • Toll Free: 888.OSC.4FUN • Email: [email protected]
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