In just two months, scientists and science fans will launch into action at the sixth annual Philadelphia Science Festival (PSF), a weeklong celebration that aims to involve Philadelphians of all ages in engaging activities, talks, and exhibits.
As one of the nation’s top research institutions and a home to thousands of scientists, Penn is an important partner in the Festival. Many students, faculty, and staff are already planning to take part, and, as the event draws near, festival organizers are encouraging other members of the University community to find ways to participate and share their love of science.
“Every year the Festival presents an amazing opportunity to engage with the larger Philadelphia community, and this year promises to be no different,” says Gina Lavery, associate director of the Office of Government and Community Affairs, who coordinates Penn’s sponsorship of the PSF.
This year, the PSF will kick off with Astronomy Night on Friday, April 22, and conclude with the Science Carnival at Penn’s Landing on Saturday, April 30. As usual, Penn will be a prominent part of the Clark Park Discovery Day, to be held on Saturday, April 23. There will also be an Explorer Sunday event on April 24 called “Close Up and Far Away” at the Singh Center for Nanotechnology. Offered jointly by the Singh Center and the Science Outreach Initiative in the School of Arts & Sciences, the event will give visitors a chance to look at some of the world-class instrumentation that allows Penn scientists to study properties of objects and materials from the nanoscale to the astronomical.
The expertise of Penn researchers will be on display throughout the Festival. A few highlights: Lisa Murphy, a toxicology expert at the School of Veterinary Medicine, will be part of the programming at “Murder at the Mutter” on April 24; David Yaden of the Positive Psychology Center will be among those presenting at a special PSF Nerd Nite on Wednesday, April 27, with a theme “What it Means to be Human;” and Robert Ghrist, a Penn Integrates Knowledge professor, will speak at the Tuesday, April 26, event “Science 2066,” which will envision what the world will look like in 50 years.
The biggest draw of the Festival is the Carnival, and Penn groups can still register for a booth. The early bird deadline is Friday, March 18, for a discounted registration fee, and registration closes Friday, April 1. There’s also still time to register to present hands-on activities at a number of events, such as the Discovery Days, the Fishtown Science Crawl, and the Science After Hours program at The Franklin Institute.
Science lovers without an activity to present can also participate by volunteering. To submit an activity idea or sign up to volunteer, visit the PSF website or contact Gina Lavery at firstname.lastname@example.org.