265 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 csf@cambridgesciencefestival.org

58 days to the Cambridge Science Festival

Seems like a while away, yes, I know.  But the whole team is in the office today, a group working on sorting through 1,547 Curiosity Challenge entries.  That’s right.  One thousand, five hundred forty-seven entries, with only 120 winners. We’re happy to announce that some incredibly awesome MIT students have stepped up and agreed to answer some of the most intriguing Curiosity Challenge questions that come in!  So, keep an eye out for future posts answering some of these Curious Students’ questions. But that’s not all today, folks. We will highlight one event a day from here out to the festival!  That’ll be 58 events… (perhaps we’ll double up as we get closer to cram them all in). And today’s event is: Big Ideas for Busy People Friday, April 27, 2012 7:30-9:30pm First Parish in Cambridge 1446 Massachusetts Avenue This will be the third Big Ideas for Busy People.  You… Read More

And with perfect timing for this weekend…

Patriots Cheerleaders with STEM Careers! Math, Psychology, Dentistry, Environmental Engineering, and Nursing all represented by Patriots Cheerleaders. Who says scientists are all white-haired men in bulky lab coats?

CSF 2012 Events and Schedule

Things are really heating up here in the CSF office.  Today, we’ve started putting up some CSF events onto the schedule!  These will update as we go with more events and changes! Here’s what we have – The CSF Schedule of Events Exhibits, Performances, Recurring Programs Map of Venues & Events Soon, we will also have an index of all Festival programs for 2012! Woot.

Bots That Mimic Bugs!

  Usually, when we think of robots, we think of these guys: Or these guys: Not of these guys: And certainly not of these guys: But the scientists at Harvard’s Microrobotics Lab and Self Organizing Systems Research Group think about robots a little differently, and if you join them for Bots That Mimic Bugs, you might, too. “Robots in movies are usually evil,” Ben Finio, a scientist in the Microrobotics Lab, explains. Movies like Terminator have given people the wrong idea about what robots look like, how they work, and what they do. “Most robots are used for things that are dangerous or boring,” Finio says. On the boring end, there are products like Roomba, a commercially available robot that can vacuum your floor for you. On the dangerous end, robotics is cultivating more and more fans among people who work on bomb squads or search and rescue teams. After… Read More

A Colorful Conundrum

For some people, solving a Rubik’s Cube takes no time at all. But for many, cracking the puzzle presents a real test. Getting all the colored squares to line up in the right order, let alone doing it quickly, is a head-scratching, mind-bending challenge. The cube was invented in 1974 by Erno Rubik, a Hungarian sculptor and architect. Some of the characteristics of 3-D objects troubled Rubik: he wanted to visualize how their parts could move independently, while keeping the larger object intact. As a way to play with this property, Rubik invented the cube as a learning tool rather than a puzzle. Realizing the model’s potential after scrambling it and finding himself stumped, Rubik first patented the game in 1975 as the Buvuos Kocka, or “Magic Cube.” In 1980, the toy hit the international scene when it appeared at fairs in London, Paris and New York. By 2009, the… Read More

Sparking Curiosity

Where would you hide if you were stuck in a lightning storm? Ideally in a car or a building with a lightning rod, right? However, would you feel safe from lightning inside a giant metal birdcage? Moreover, should you feel safe? To find an answer, a place to look would be at the ever popular Theater of Electricity, located at the crossroad between the electromagnetism exhibits and the weather exhibits at the Boston Museum of Science. The Theater of Electricity is literally a theatre; the center of attention is a live-action display of electricity that is performed regularly — and with educational instruction! The Theater certainly has an impressive aura. Giant metal cables encase the stage of the Theater, separating the stage area from the audience. On the stage are the gadgets of electricity, like a kite, big coils, and even a human-sized birdcage. But most attention-grabbing are the two… Read More

Hotter Than Your Hottest Date

Ok, maybe it’s not the kind of hot date you’re thinking of, but this hot date will be pretty hot. It is a date with your one and only sun! It’s always there, but have you taken the time to explore it? Do you even remember it’s there? Do you even give it the time of day? Many cultures have religions that worship the sun. However, many of us live day-to-day taking our sun for granted. Maybe we don’t think about because it is 93 miles away from us on earth. Maybe we don’t think about it because our planet earth seems so amazing that we think it’s probably the most amazing thing in existence. We may think earth is cool, but the sun might just be cooler. First off, compared to earth, the sun is massive! The sun is more than 300,000 times heavier than the earth. It would… Read More

A Berry Efficient Solar Cell

A short walk through the Cambridge Science Festival will reveal an important fact: the festival is not just for science. It’s for technology, presentations of innovative ideas, and fun, hands-on activities. The CSF offers such a wide variety of activities that it has attracted cool, sometimes strange, modern technologies. Among the strangest is the blackberry solar cell – no, not a solar cell for the BlackBerry phone, we’re talking about the actual fruit – small seeded dark berries whose juice can be used to harvest energy from the sun. To see this technology in action and make a solar sell for yourself (for free!) head over to the Cambridge Public Library at 449 Broadway between 12:30pm – 1:30pm or 2:00pm – 3:00pm for “The Blackberry Solar Cell: A green Chemistry Activity.” This activity is definitely for all ages. If blackberries can be used to capture solar energy, what other unusual… Read More

Bottled Water vs. Tap Water — Who Wins?

…Is there a difference? Should you prefer one over the other? Well, let’s start with this fact: some of the bottled water you buy is actually tap water. That’s right, tap. While bottled water may come from more pristine-sounding places like natural springs and wells, other bottled water is simply dressed-up tap water. Sure, it might have undergone some extra treatments, such as dechlorination and some tweaking of mineral content, but it is still tap water placed in a fancy and portable plastic container. Let’s do some math first. Water from the tap is dirt cheap. Water from the bottle is much less so. Typically, buying a bottle of water at a vending machine or convenience store costs you at least $1 per half-liter bottle. That’s $2 for a liter of bottled water, and there are about 3.8 liters in a gallon. This puts us at $7.60 for a gallon… Read More

How to Watch a Laser Show

This Saturday, the Cambridge Science Festival opens with a lunchtime laser show. This is the final post in a series of posts designed to familiarize you with lasers. What: Cambridge Science Festival Laser Show When: Saturday, April 24, Noon Where: Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway. Free shuttles run from the Harvard Square Red Line T stop. Enjoy the festival, everyone!