Olathe North students see their idea in full flower at Science City

Olathe North High School seniors showed their appreciation to Burns & McDonnell on Friday by holding signs saying what they expect to be in 10 years.

Chemical engineer, said one.

Pediatric surgeon, said another.

The students were thanking the engineering company for turning their class project into the newest interactive exhibit at Science City. It is called the Science of Energy, and it examines the nature of energy and our relationship to it.

The centerpiece is a 1-ton human “hamster wheel,” which Burns & McDonnell CEO Greg Graves took a spin in Friday during an opening day celebration at Union Station. Graves said the exhibit is a real-world application of science, technology, engineering and math — all of which are important for his company, and the country.

The Olathe North students won top honors in the 2001 Battle of the Brains competition among 128 regional schools.

Burns & McDonnell engineers helped turn their project into an exhibit as part of a $1.25 million grant from the company’s foundation.

Milbank Manufacturing Co. also contributed to the project.

The Science of Energy also includes bicycle and hand-crank electrical generators and a 30-foot wind turbine blade.

Participants in next week’s Greater Kansas City Engineering and Science Fair at Union Station will receive two-for-one admission to Science City.