Faculty at BYU and the University of Maryland are launching an online science game.
The game is called Dust. It’s geared towards teenagers and meant to generate interest in pursuing careers in STEM fields—that’s science, technology, engineering, and math. Professor Derek Hansen is the principal researcher for the project at BYU. He says the game revolves around a mysterious meteor shower that causes adults to fall unconscious worldwide.
"And then the teenagers need to rise to the occasion, to figure out what’s going on and use some fictional, but based on real science, applications—so, mobile apps and online apps—to help collect data that will give clues as what caused this,” says Hansen.
Professor Kari Kraus is Hansen’s counterpart at the University of Maryland. She says Dust isn’t just about ramping up interest in STEM fields. It’s about showing girls and minority youth that they’re just as capable of succeeding at science as anyone else. She says these fields are crucial to the country’s future.
“They’re often seen as vital to innovation, to economic development,” she says. “And so we need to make sure that these fields represent the full diversity that we know is the diversity that we have in our country.”
Dust is free to play, and Hansen says more than a thousand people have already signed up. There’s no deadline to join, though. To sign up, go to http://fallingdust.com.