During Montana’s Fire Season, SpectrUM to Host Air Quality Event

September 02, 2015

MISSOULA – Are you curious what the air we breathe during fire season looks like under the microscope?

From 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, visitors to the University of Montana’s spectrUM Discovery Area can explore healthy and smoke-afflicted lungs, learn about the equipment scientists use to test air quality, and create decorative microscope slides with feathers, glitter and leaves.

Emily Weiler, a research specialist at UM’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences, will lead the air-quality activities and demonstrations at spectrUM’s Discovery Bench. A UM graduate with a degree in chemistry, Weiler specializes in air quality and respiratory disease research and serves as a pollen counter for Montana.

“We’re thrilled to have a scientist and a UM alumna engaging students in this very timely and important research on smoke and air quality,” said museum coordinator Nick Wethington.

Inspiring a culture of learning and discovery for all, spectrUM Discovery Area is an interactive science center located in downtown Missoula. Through in-museum and mobile programs, spectrUM serves more than 50,000 Montanans annually. Its innovative, community-based approach to STEM engagement has garnered awards from the Simons Foundation and through the Noyce Foundation’s Bright Lights award competition.

SpectrUM’s sponsors and partners include the UM Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience, Community Medical Center, the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, the Jane S. Heman Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation EPSCoR Program, NISE Network, the Noyce Foundation, the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation, SciGirls, the Simons Foundation and the Western Montana Area Health Education Center. Its Science for All Scholarship Fund has given the gift of science to more than 12,000 Montana children.

The public can visit spectrUM’s museum at 218 E. Front St. from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. The air quality event is free with museum admission, which costs $3.50 per person.

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Contact: Nick Wethington, spectrUM museum coordinator, 406-728-7836, nicholos.wethington@umontana.edu.