The Maker Faire, a sprawling, spectacular event that gathers scientists, artists and builders of big things in cities around the U.S. hasn't been able to get lawmakers to attend – so it's bringing the "Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth" to Washington.
As early as Spring 2014, the beloved and wacky science and arts fair will descend on the National Mall to encourage kids to build everything from robotics to open source platforms to food systems to wearable tech styles.
Cognizant, a major American IT services company, has provided the money needed to get the event off the ground in the midst of a national debate over immigration reform that is partly concentrated on a shortage of skilled workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Cognizant is partnering with the National Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (NCEI), a new group devoted to establishing a space for innovation on the National Mall.
"Our program hopes to build the pipeline of kids interested in STEM fields in the U.S.," says Mark Greenlaw, vice president of sustainability and educational affairs at Cognizant. "We think: Let's focus on sparking the interest, and the proficiency will come."
Greenlaw believes there is "no better way" to get kids inspired about STEM than by getting them to attend a Maker Faire.
Also in the works from NCEI: a museum of innovation and entrepreneurism, which would open in one of the currently-vacant buildings adjacent to the National Mall in 2024.