Yesterday was Take Your Child to Work Day. Last year Zack chastised me for not taking him, so I knew I'd better plan on it this year. NIH does a really great job with this day. Most of the institutes put on activities for the kids, so there is tons to do. I pre-registered him for four things and then I figured we'd wing it from there. We started out with a presentation on bones and muscles. We left that one early so that we could meet Kelly and get a tour of the wing she works on at the Clinical Center. I thought that was pretty cool because I'd never gotten to see the hospital part of NIH. Zack was most impressed with the internal "train" system that transports supplies within the building.
From there we took the shuttle to the National Library of Medicine for a magnet demonstration--very cool. Then we shuttled back to my office for lunch, where he tried out the Director's seat in the conference room. We all decided that he'd be an excellent candidate for our new director.
Then it was on to the Fire Department. NIH has their own department, also something I'd known about but never seen. They did had a great program--a video on fire safety and what to do in a fire, a tour of the building, then outside for a demo. They put out a "fire" on the roof and rescued Sparkey (kind of like Smokey, but a human in a Dalmation costume and for house fires, not forest fires). It was pretty impressive to see the trucks zoom in, set up, and maneuver. Then we went back in the firehouse, where they talked some more and showed all the kids what firemen would look like if there were a fire and they were searching through the house. This was really great because their 60+ pounds of gear make them look a bit creepy. The kids learned to Stop Drop and Roll, and they got a chance to put out "fires" in a house. I have to say, the firemen were awesome about talking with the kids and answering questions. I feel safe knowing they're protecting me here at work.
The final stop (after a quick snack) was a presentation on how they take pictures of body parts from outside the body using CT scans and MRI's. I wasn't sure how this one was going to go--scientists aren't always known for being able to bring the science down to a popular level, much less a kid's level--but this one was pretty good. They'd taken scans of a lot of non-human things (like oranges, iPhones, etc.) and got the kids to guess what they were, and the whole talk wasn't too technical.
Once that was over, we decided to call it a day and headed back to my office to pick up our things. Zack said goodbye to everyone, and we headed out.
He told me a few times that he liked my office and campus a lot, and that he had a really good time. I'm really glad we had a chance to spend the day together, and I'm sure we'll be doing it again in the years to come.