Military Medicine, Human Anatomy and Forensic Identification (and Walter Reed Himself!) Set for Museum's National Science Fest Exhibit

DoD Medical Museum among Hundreds of Science-Based Organizations Showcasing Innovation at First National Science Festival

Washington, D.C.—October 18, 2010: Civil War-era amputations, plastinated human organs, and the science of military forensic identification will all be on display as part of the National Museum of Health and Medicine's exhibit at the upcoming USA Science and Engineering Festival, set to take place October 23-24, 2010 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

"As the nation's medical museum, it's our mission to inspire an interest in medicine through its history," said Adrianne Noe, Ph.D., NMHM director. "We're thrilled for the chance to share our exhibits, programs and collections with the world, and doing so with legions of like-minded organizations gathering for this inaugural event just adds to our excitement."

NMHM will feature three main themes at its SciFest booths (#660-664 on the Mall near 7th Street): "Visibly Human" will showcase human anatomy and pathology and feature opportunities to see and touch actual plastinated human organs; "To Bind Up Our Nation's Wounds" spotlights the Museum's ongoing efforts to tell the story of advances in military medicine, from the time of the Civil War to modern-day Iraq; and "Connect the Bones" documents the sciences behind a positive forensic identification of honored war dead, from previous conflicts to today. And visitors to the Museum's SciFest booths will get a rare treat: a chance to talk face-to-face with Major Walter Reed himself, who will be "recruiting" volunteers for his mosquito studies as part of the army's efforts to combat yellow fever.

NMHM participated in another component of the Science Festival: anatomical curator Franklin Damann represented the Museum among the SciFest's exclusive Nifty Fifty speakers. Damann, a forensic anthropologist with experience in military forensic field investigations, presented recent research into forensic anthropology during a talk titled "Helping the Dead to Speak."

The USA Science & Engineering Festival will be the country's first national science festival and descends on the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area in October 2010. According to the Festival's organizers, the Festival promises to be the ultimate multi-cultural, multi-generational and multi-disciplinary celebration of science in the United States. The culmination of the month-long Festival will be a free, two-day Expo on the National Mall that will feature over 1,500 fun, hands-on science activities and over 50 stage shows and performances. The Festival is a grassroots collaboration of more than 500 of the nation's leading science organizations.

The festivities start early at the Museum, which will serve as host to two special SciFest evening programs and a series of lunchtime conversations across a variety of disciplines.

The month-long Festival features two evening performances taking place at the Museum, on Monday, October 18 and Thursday, October 21.

The first program, "Three Arrangements: Exploring Our Grand Universe," features three world-renowned physicists talking on topics such as string theory and astrophysics to the mysteries of dark matter and the Big Bang.

The second program, "MANYA - A Living History of Marie Curie," —features a one-woman drama that "exposes the struggles and triumphs of twice Nobel laureate Madame Marie Curie —an academically impassioned, vehemently private, fervently Polish scientist, mother, and teacher."

At the Museum, several free lunchtime lectures are planned in the weeks leading up to the SciFest, including:

  • "Revolutionizing Prosthetics": Robert Armiger and his team at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory are leading an effort to create a neurally-controlled prosthetic arm, in order to enable individuals with amputations or upper extremity paralysis to gain more movement. Armiger and a colleague came up with the idea of using a popular video game to help amputees learn to control their new mechanical arms, calling this technology "Air Guitar Hero." Armiger is also one of the SciFest's Nifty Fifty speakers. (Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., free and open to the public.)
  • "Resolution for the Missing: Bringing our Fallen Soldiers Home": Have advances in DNA analysis made it so that our honored war dead will never again be labeled "unknown"? Come listen as a senior DNA analyst from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) shares her experiences working with scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in positively identifying U.S. service members missing from past military conflicts. (Wednesday, October 20, 2010, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., free and open to the public.)