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

Urban Astronomy: Bringing the Stars to the Street

A night of celebration of the heavens! 🙂 [(8:00pm – 11:00pm; Friday, April 20, 2012); Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue, Deguglielmo Plaza, Harvard Square in front of 5 Brattle Street] I managed to get a glimpse of Venus [appeared a bright crescent], Mars [a bright spot with a reddish fringe], Saturn [with a ring, I shrieked; unable to hide my excitement], The Mizar quadruple star system [actually did not get lucky, saw the brighter binary system; one bright, other dim] and a satellite that zipped through the field-of-view.. Wow! with all the abundant city lights, we still managed to see these celestial objects! It was fun to interact with the curious attendees, knowledgeable members who set up the telescopes by the sidewalk, sharing insights into the precise construction of the telescopes and the various flavors of telescopes. My sincere thanks to enthusiastic organizers of the event. Please find the… Read More

Science and Magic

You’re sitting in an auditorium.  A man emerges from the side of the stage in a black tuxedo and a top hat.  He introduces himself as the Great Gregory!  He takes off his hat and shows the audience that it is empty. But wait!  He reaches in and pulls a rabbit out of the hat! OK maybe that was too basic of an example; but what are you thinking of when watching a magic trick?  Are you actively trying to figure out how the magician is accomplishing this feat?  Or are you just in awe and really want  this illusion to be real? The magician is skilled in altering reality, they understand how our senses construct the world around us.  Scientists also question reality in an effort to understand nature, and are in many ways magicians themselves!  The Science of Illusion was explored by a panel of scientists and artists… Read More

Experimenting with Art and Science

If you’re like me, you grew up thinking that artists and scientists inhabit non-overlapping worlds or perhaps even that they use different sides of their brain. Fortunately, great science communicators have stepped up to dispel this myth, coming up with creative new methods of bringing out the art in science. New projects like WNYC’s Radiolab or Studio 360 routinely weave potent storytelling, sound design, and music to frame the science story and stimulate their audiences’ imagination. During my Cambridge Science Festival wanderings, I’ve observed the same trends on display. The Story Collider is a science storytelling show that believes everyone has a personal science story to tell. On Tuesday night the founders of The Story Collider, Brian Wecht and Ben Lillie, hosted a storytelling event at the MIT Museum showcasing inspired science stories that had the packed museum in stitches for much of the night. The evening featured an array of raconteurs from… Read More

What’s Your Question?

Over the weekend I attended the thought-provoking symposium Rivers of Ice: What’s Your Question, co-sponsored by GlacierWorks. Following the symposium was a reception at MIT’s absolutely spectacular Rivers of Ice exhibition, featuring images from GlacierWorks founder David Breashears. A fully packed auditorium tuned in to hear five experts from diverse backgrounds speak on melting glaciers in the Himalaya and the impacts of climate change. Framing the speakers were beautiful works of art by local high school students that inspire questions surrounding water supply, rising temperatures, agriculture and politics. Adventure photographer and film-maker David Breashears introduced a short film that followed his exploits on a recent climb. We were taken on a journey of breathtaking beauty that showed first-hand the effects of climate change in this remote region and on its people. The photos that followed included some of the earliest photos of glaciers captured juxtaposed with a current photo taken… Read More

Kick off to CSF!

What an amazing start to the Cambridge Science Festival!  This is the place that really has something for everyone.  And what better way to start off the festivities than at the Science Carnival! Every table had a pile of bright-eyed youngsters eagerly learning about robots, cells, and chemical reactions, among the many many other science topics.  And let’s not forget about the liquid nitrogen ice cream!  But I must say the kicker for me was the Science of Circus performances with the amazing athletes from Simply Circus.  Can I please run away and join the circus now? On the topic of fantasy, I spent the evening imagining what the world would be like if some events in the history of science turned out differently.  The extremely funny What if…? Alternative Histories of Science delved into the topics of phrenology, Wallaceism, and the luminiferous ether.  Phrenology, the idea that we could determine different… Read More

Coolest Teacher, Solar Flares, Trebuchets, Oh My

So, one incredibly cool piece of local (teacher) news to share is about Boston Latin School’s 8th grade teacher and adviser to BLS Youth CAN (Boston Latin School Youth Climate Action Network).  Not only is BLS Youth CAN participating in the Cambridge Science Festival’s Ideas Challenge, they will also be producing a mural for David Breashear‘s Rivers of Ice symposium for the Festival on Saturday, April 21.  But this isn’t about Youth CAN (in this post, anyway).   Cate Arnold             This is about their teacher adviser, Cate Arnold, who is currently on a trip of a lifetime to Antarctica on Expedition 2041 as a “Coolest Teacher in The World”.  What a crazy experience that must be!  Check out the daily blog posts by members of the expedition from all over the world. Moving on to some space news that makes “local” take on a new meaning.  On Tuesday, the Sun’s… Read More

Another short one

I’m sorry for the short posts lately, folks.  But this just crossed my path and I had to share it quickly: This is what a Scientist Looks like

New & Awesome Science Discoveries

It was brought to my attention that there is a trifecta of awesome discoveries in the science world that I should share here on the CSF blog. The Universe is more crowded than we think“Astronomers See More Planets Than Stars in Galaxy“ The start of complicated life was… easy?“Test Tube Yeast Evolve Multicellularity” This one speaks for itself.“‘Lost’ Darwin fossils rediscovered“ In Festival news: We’re pumping along, adding more goodies to the Schedule of Events!  And look out for an announcement of some special guests who’ll be at our Science Carnival!

Google Science Fair

Gotta love their tagline: Everyone has a question.  What’s Yours? Very reminiscent of what the Cambridge Science Festival wants kids ages 5-14 to answer in our Curiosity Challenge (Deadline: February 10th!) On that note, we’re looking for volunteers who can translate the Curiosity Challenge guidelines for students (and especially parents) with different backgrounds.  What language can you help with?

Link Salad!

Happy New Year, everyone!  We at the Festival office have hit the ground running this year.  Events should be going up onto the website starting in a few days (hopefully!).  CSF 2012 is really shaping up to be a great 10 days – Science Circus, CSF Star Party, Science of Baseball, of course our brain marathon Big Ideas for Busy People, and so much more!  We love to collaborate with new friends, so shoot more ideas and events our way!  (but soon please!) Okay, here are some interesting links.  Some old, some new, some tried, some true… Parallel between spider silks and melody http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2en7WM/http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/silk-music-proteins-1208.html “Nine Stubborn Brain Myths that Just Won’t Die, Debunked by Science” I have to admit, I thought a couple of these were true… http://lifehacker.com/5867049/nine-stubborn-brain-myths-that-just-wont-die-debunked-by-science Curing cancer in high school…  Yea, I’m feeling pretty incompetent right now. http://online.wsj.com/article/AP27e6b4fd88bf44e49660ba127407d5f4.html Righty or lefty? Check out how it shapes your… Read More