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Syracuse's Museum of Science and Technology to create computer-chip exhibit

Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology

Syracuse's Museum of Science and Technology, or MOST, is figuring out how to spend its share of the $500 million dollars that’s part of the Micron Community fund.

Almost half of the Micron grant, according to MOST Executive Director Lauren Kochian, will go towards creation of a permanent semiconductor chip exhibit at the science museum.

"It’ll be the first, from what we have gathered, be the first science museum exhibit on semiconductors in the whole world, which is very cool," Kochian said.

To that end, a special work group has started meeting to try and figure out just how to explain complicated chip technology to kids in an exhibit that is expected to be open by summer. Kochian said the challenge is that Micron wants it to be about the about the real life application of computer chips.

So what could a child see?

"Is it going to be the chip inside a car?" Kochian said. "Is it going to be a deconstructed cell phone? A deconstructed X-Box? But making them understand really that chips are ubiquitous to technology and what does that mean."

"When you’re curating a dinosaur exhibit, it’s pretty intuitive, there’s things out there you can go to, there’s standards to look at," Kochian said. "With this, the challenge is Micron doesn’t want it to be about process. They want it to be the other way around. They want kids to look at the end application of the chip and work backwards.”

Kochian said the Micron grant will also help expand programs that are already underway, as well as a high school STEM science fair in the fall. Ultimately it fits in with the MOST’s increasing emphasis on technology, which can get more Central New York kids ready to jump into technology jobs.

"We are able to expose kids to these high-tech jobs, and again, jobs that don’t necessarily require a four-year degree, where you can start making six figures right after you’re trained," Kochian said.

Other Micron educational investments include $10 million for Onondaga Community College to build a clean room and expand its technology programs, and support for the new STEAM school in Syracuse. Micron is building a mega fab facility in the Town of Clay with an expected workforce of up to 9,000 people.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.