3D-printed statues celebrate the future of women in STEM
March marks Women’s History Month, and the Smithsonian took that to host Women’s Futures Month. It’s a celebration of women in STEM fields. The event highlights a collection of 120 3D-printed statues of trailblazing women.
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“#IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit” will be open to visitors for the month of March. All of the 120 statues are life-sized and 3D-printed. Moreover, the figures include amazing women such as Jessica Esquivel, one of only 150 women who have a doctorate in physics in the entire nation. You will also see Karina Popovich, a college student who created more than 82,000 3D-printed pieces of PPE for healthcare workers at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, every single statue has its own QR code. After scanning, you can learn each woman’s individual story. What you’ll find is that women have been a part of STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) for decades. And more so in the future.
“Through this exciting collaboration with Lyda Hill Philanthropies, the Smithsonian is furthering our commitment to fostering an environment where all girls know they can make an indelible mark on our future,” said Ellen Stofan, undersecretary for science and research for the Smithsonian in a statement.
Located in Washington D.C., the statues stand at the Smithsonian Castle, adjacent to the Enid A. Haupt Garden. You can also find them spread along the National Mall, the Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum.
Additionally, the Smithsonian has a host of virtual events planned for the month as well. These virtual events provide inspiration and empowerment about and for women who are making a difference in their fields and their impact on the world.
Bringing this exhibit to life was a big undertaking. Each of the women featured in the exhibit went into a scanning equipped with 89 cameras and 25 projectors. This was used to generate a 3D image. The statues were then printed with acrylic gel, taking more than 10 hours to create each one.
The same 3D-printing technology used to create these statues is used in building and construction. Many architects and builders are learning that 3D printing is a sustainable and affordable option for more traditional methods. Using 3D printing reduces supply chain costs, reduces CO2 methods and less expensive than other building methods. Like the women who inspired these statues, 3D-printing technology is innovative, exciting and it’s going to drive the future forward.