The third annual Wisconsin Science Festival will bring hands-on demonstrations, films and panels from leaders in the scientific community to Madison this Thursday to Sunday to showcase the state’s scientific and technological contributions.
The majority of events will take place in the Town Center at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery facility and also around the University of Wisconsin campus, at the Madison’s Children’s Museum, Olbrich Botanical Gardens and Henry Vilas Zoo, a UW statement said.
The festival will showcase a number of events, including various speakers ranging from National Public Radio’s “Science Friday” host Ira Flatow to chemist and Nobel laureate Roald Hoffmann, Laura Heisler, programming director for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, said.
Flatow, who will be leading an event called “Science is Sexy,” will also host “Science Friday” from the festival on Friday afternoon, Heisler said.
Hoffmann will be joined by Vivian Torrence, an artist, to lead a discussion about the convergence of science and art, Heisler said.
On Saturday night, Wisconsin Public Radio will be hosting a science fiction show, Heisler said. For the live audience it will be an actual play, while listeners will hear an old-time style radio broadcast, she said.
Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and UW journalism professor Deborah Blum will also be giving a talk on Saturday about her work in the scientific journalism field, Heisler said.
Bassam Shakhashiri, a UW chemistry professor, said that he will be leading “Science is Fun” on Saturday morning, an event to nurture people’s desires to ask questions about science and promoting curiosity. It will be an engaging presentation for people of all ages, he said.
An exposition will also offer hands-on experiences for people of all ages, Heisler said.
“The festival is important to UW because UW is the central hub in the state on scientific and technological advancement, and we owe it to our taxpayers to provide them with the information of what type of advancements are being made in the state,” Shakhashiri said.
The festival will play into the Wisconsin Idea that UW prides itself on, Shakhashiri said. It will also educate the citizens of Wisconsin on what the roles of science and technology are in daily life, he said.
UW is not the only place in the country where science festivals occur, Heisler said. Various festivals happen all across the U.S., most notably in New York, she said.
“The whole idea is to share the joy in doing scientific experiments, and to inspire young people to think seriously in careers in science and careers in teaching science,” Shakhashiri said.
Correction: The following paragraph has been omitted to more accurately reflect the origin of the Wisconsin Science Festival:
“Shakhashiri said he proposed the idea for a science festival in 2009. When WID launched a few years later, it picked up the idea and held the first Wisconsin state science festival in 2011, he said.”
From its inception the festival has been organized by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. The Badger Herald apologizes for the error.