From the White House, to an Expo hosted by Lockheed Martin and put together by 850 leading science organizations, to over 50 satellite events across the nation, everyone from pre-schoolers to grandparents will be celebrating science this weekend at the USA Science and Engineering Expo –October 23-24, 2010.
The USA Science & Engineering Festival, which has developed and hosted most of these events, is expected to draw more than a million people to the first and biggest weekend of science the people of our nation have ever seen.
Welcome to the week of firsts for science education. President Obama hosted the first White House Science Fair celebrating the winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions, chatted with students and viewed their exhibits.
More than 100 leading scientists and 25 Nobel Laureates have gone out into middle and high schools for the first time, to tell stories about a brain surgeon who began as a migrant worker, about 100 scientists collaborating worldwide to develop bionic arms for Iraq war veterans, and about a Nobel Laureate who failed his high school chemistry class and went on to win the world’s most prestigious science prize in Chemistry.
Fifty satellite events across the nation linked to the Festival, from school science expos to moms all over Iowa taking a night out to learn science experiments they can do at home, will join in the celebration.
And best of all, it’s the first USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo a jam-packed weekend of the most spectacular science ever. More than 1500 interactive, fun exhibits and 75 stage shows with science stars, comedians, magicians, musicians, Erno Rubik, and much more will wow all who attend.
President Obama encouraged everyone to join in the fun. “I was honored to help kick off the festival earlier this week, when I hosted a Science Fair at the White House,” he said. ” I hope all Americans will join me in celebrating science, invention, and exploration and will get involved in the Festival.”
There’s so much cool stuff at the Festival Expo it’s hard to describe, but here’s my best effort:
Meet Science Stars
See and learn about robots that talk, swim underwater and perform surgery, meet the Science Channel’s Meteorite Men, see MythBuster‘s Kari Byron talking about her commercial-free series HeadRush, be a CSI Agent for a day with the stars of CSI: Miami, see props from Disney’s new virtual reality movie TRON: Legacy and meet stars of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).
Check out the Cat in the Hat starring in his own science show, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Curie and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Oh, and in case that’s not enough come watch Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, put science lyrics to rock and roll songs while strumming along on his guitar.
Come See WeatherFest and a City Block of Exhibits on Energy
Our WeatherFest will explore what we know and don’t know about the science of climate change, become an amateur weather forecaster, learn the secrets of the oceans and meet real storm chasers who track hurricanes and other violent storms.
Visit Energy Alley’s city block of exhibits and check out a car that drives itself, a spider as tall as a building that walks via solar power and the newest, most high tech of bicycles. Attend lectures by leading scientists brought together by AAAS and the National Academy of Sciences who will discuss conserving endangered species, human origins, the search for new planets, and which “claims based on science” are real. Listen to NPR science reporters interview Nobel and Draper prize winners in chemistry, physics and engineering.
Find out the Science Behind Sports, Holidays and Movies
Learn the physics behind superheroes, making movies, NASCAR, the chemistry of Thanksgiving dinner and the science of baseball’s knuckleball. Meet scientists, doctors and therapists who are also professional cheerleaders for the Philadelphia 76ers, the Washington Redskins and the Kansas City Chiefs, among others, collect their trading cards and let them tell your daughters that it’s great to be pretty and smart.
The USA Science & Engineering Festival is spread out across four locations in downtown DC, including First to Seventh Streets on the National Mall, Freedom Plaza, Pennsylvania Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets and the Mellon Auditorium, and is open from 10:00-5:30 PM on Saturday, October 23rd and Sunday, October 24th, 2010. The festival web site has a guide you can use to plan your day. Details of events during the week are listed on the Festival’s Calendar. Closest Metro stops to the National Mall are Federal Triangle and Smithsonian. Map of the Expo(pdf)
Follow our twitter feed while you are at the Expo @USASciencefest and #scifestbooth for exhibit updates and share your experience on twitter with #scifest
The Festival is hosted by Lockheed Martin and sponsors include Life Technologies Foundation, K&L Gates and the Science Channel.
(Aimee Stern is a freelance writer and communications director for the USA Science & Engineering Festival, www.sterncommdc.com)