The newest exhibition worth seeing at Arizona Science Center may be on the small side, but it brings home a great, big idea: the science and vision behind the Progressive Automotive Insurance X Prize, a $10 million contest to produce a “clean” vehicle that achieves a fuel economy of 100 miles per gallon, or its clean-energy equivalent.
“Revved Up Science!” — a traveling exhibition parked for the next several weeks at the downtown museum — pops the hood on what it takes to make this particular lofty alternative-energy-of-the-future project a reality.
Hands-on activity stations and displays impart kid-friendly lessons about fuel viscosity, electric car batteries, gears, spark plugs and vehicle maintenance. Principles of aerodynamics are conveyed via experiments with race cars of different shapes.
During Build & Race Family Weekend, taking place Saturday and Sunday, visitors can even design, create and test their own cars made from potatoes.
The X Prize competition’s 100 original entries have been whittled down to a handful of teams. In addition to outstanding fuel economy, winning cars must be appealing to consumers and capable of being manufactured in volume. Winners will be announced Sept. 16.
“Revved Up Science!” runs through Sept. 30 at the center.
If you go
What: Design, build and race potato vehicles at Revved Up Science! Build & Race Family Weekend
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; regular exhibition hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Sept. 30.
Where: Arizona Science Center, 600 E. Washington St., Phoenix
Cost: Free with regular admission of $12 per adult, $10 per child
Information: (602) 716-2000 or www.azscience.org