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LA HABRA : Tour Fuels Interest in the Sciences

Yesterday, Rohit Acharya, 8, didn’t even know what a heliochronometer was, let alone how to pronounce it.

Today, he can tell you just about anything you want to know.

“It tells the time, it gives you the date, the month, just about everything,” said an enlightened Acharya, motioning to the steel sundial in the background. “It’s really neat.”

Same goes for Tuesday’s tour, which Acharya was a part of. He was just one of 30 boys, ages 7 to 17, who got a firsthand glimpse into the operations of the Chevron Petroleum Technology Co.

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“It’s good for him, it exposes him to science,” said U.K. Acharya, the boy’s father, who works as a planning engineer for the La Habra-based research company.

Chrisie Neal, an employee of the company and coordinator of the daylong event, said the idea behind Chevron’s first annual “Take Our Sons to Work Day” was to give the children a chance to think about their careers at a young age.

That way, they can decide whether they want to follow in their fathers’ or mothers’ footsteps when they get older, she said.

The company, on Imperial Highway in La Habra, is filled with labs where geologists, geophysicists and engineers conduct petroleum research--whether it’s analyzing the amount of petroleum in rocks dug from oil wells to developing newer technologies for the exploration and production of oil and gas.

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And the children were able to see such technology up front, including the electron microscope, which magnified the legs of an ant 4,500 times, and the machine shop, where rocks are cut with liquid nitrogen.

But whether Acharya decides to become a planning engineer is looking a little doubtful.

“I think I’ll be a doctor instead,” he said.


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