Syracuse Tech Museum Builds Computer Chip Exhibit

The Syracuse Museum of Science and Technology (MOST) is looking at how to use its share of $500 million, part of Micron’s Community Fund.

According to MOST executive director Lauren Kochian, nearly half of Micron’s grant will be used to create a permanent semiconductor chip exhibit at the Science Museum.

“From what we’ve gathered, it’s going to be the world’s first science museum exhibit on semiconductors, which is pretty cool,” Kochian said.

To that end, a task force has begun meeting to try to figure out how to explain the complex chip technology to children in an exhibit expected to open in the summer. The challenge, Kochian said, is that Micron wants it to be about practical applications for computer chips.

So what can the child see?

“Will it be a chip inside the car?” Cochin said. “Is it going to be a deconstructed phone? A deconstructed X-Box? But for them to really understand that chips are everywhere in technology and what that means.”

“When you’re curating a dinosaur exhibit, it’s very intuitive, there’s something you can go to, there’s a standard to look at,” Kochian said. “With this, the challenge is that Micron doesn’t want it to be about process. They want it to be the opposite .They want kids to look at the end application of the chip and work backwards.”

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

“We’re able to expose kids to these high-tech jobs that don’t necessarily require a four-year degree, where you can start earning six figures immediately after training,” Kochian said.

Micron’s other educational investments include $10 million for Onondaga Community College to build a clean room and expand its technology program, as well as support for a new STEAM school in Syracuse. Micron is building a large fab in Clay Township, which is expected to employ 9,000 people.

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