Ambassadors for Science, from Cambridge to Cairo

Some might argue that university extension agents are ambassadors for science. The growing contingent of science festival advocates are about to take that a whole lot further.

The Science Festival Alliance is essentially Ben Wiehe. He is the only employee of the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded alliance and he spends his time connecting people from east to west coast and everywhere in between. Wiehe is the go-to guy for organizers that want to make public science events a reality. MIT Museum houses Wiehe and while talking with him yesterday, he mentioned that the reach of the alliance will extend from Cambridge all the way to Cairo next year. Continue reading


My Favorite Wisconsin Science Festival Moment

Enthusiasm and hands-on activities were in no short supply today at the the first-ever Wisconsin Science Festival. With a new, acute understanding of “hot bone, pre-rigor” bratwurst, blogging and story-writing will commence tomorrow. But today, I at least want to share my favorite moment of the whole shebang. It was watching Tom Bryan, a Bottle Biology volunteer, show kids how to make succulent plantlet necklaces and handle manduca worms. If child awe and parental gratitude were currency, the guy would’ve made six figures today. Below is his three-part, wonder-filled necklace construction process:

Step 1: Pluck a plantlet from the Mother of Thousands (aka Mexican Hat Plant and Devil’s Backbone) specimen. The kids were already hooked at this point, here was a plant producing fully-formed prodgeny by the thousands free for the taking! Continue reading

All for Science and Science for All

This weekend the Wisconsin Science Festival will put Madison on the map as one of many locations bringing people and science together in a fun, interactive and almost abstract way. The agenda includes the science of football, an indigo vat dying demonstration, an insect art exhibit and much more. I recommend browsing the program to understand the true scope of exhibitions that will be present. There is a strong connection to the arts throughout the entire three days of festivities and the whole thing kicks off Thursday night with a ceremony mixing dance, music and scientific performances.

Steering committee member Laura Heisler said that Wisconsin jumped on the science festival bandwagon as they saw growing national and international momentum around the concept. The National Science Foundation (NSF) even funded a support network for event organizers, the Science Festival Alliance. Madison planners visited the Cambridge Science Festival earlier this year to learn from the pros. Continue reading