The Gem Bethel, ME


Brian Fitzgerald

Director of Education, Mount Washington Observatory

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind— The winds of Mt. Washington

Why is it so windy on top of Mt. Washington and how do they measure wind speed up there? Mount Washington Observatory’s Brian Fitzgerald visits virtually from the top of Mount Washington to talk about the observatory's work and the Big Wind of April 12th, 1934: at 231 mph, the strongest wind gust ever experienced by a human being on the surface of the Earth. After the presentation, kids make their own pinwheels or wind vanes to take home.

The Gem Bethel, ME

Film Synopsis

A boy in Malawi helps save his village from famine by building a wind turbine after reading about them in a library book.

Young William Kamkwamba lives with his family in rural Malawi, where he attends school regularly and shows great aptitude for his studies. Yet after land development and poor weather lead to a meager harvest, famine strikes the village, alarming the community and forcing William to drop out of school when his father (Chiwetel Ejiofor) can no longer afford the fees. Determined to find a way out of the life-threatening situation his family is facing, William sneaks into the school library to research—and soon conspires to build a windmill pump to irrigate the land. Caught between his father’s close-minded skepticism and the difficulty of creating a machine out of bicycle parts and scrap materials, William races against the clock to fight for his community’s survival. This inspiring true story about the powers of science, engineering, ingenuity, and determination is based on Kamkwamba's 2009 memoir of the same name.

Banner image courtesy of PHOTOFEST