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

PiEinstein Day

Einstein in 1904 / Lucien Chavan   Good morning, and a glorious Super Pi Day to you! In case you’re unaware, today is the occasion when the month and day coincide with the first three digits of π – 3.14. Today is even more spectacular in that the year, hour, minute, and second also extend to further match the irrational sequence of numbers at precisely 9:26:53 am, giving 3.141592653. So, why is Albert Einstein’s visage pictured above? Galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 / NASA/ESA Believe it or not, today is also Einstein’s birthday! Born in 1879, he would have been blowing out 136 candles on this particular orbit around the sun. Furthermore, his theory of general relativity also celebrates its centenary this year. Published in 1915, this work takes the force of gravity and explains how it is a fundamental property of both space and time itself. While Einstein’s theory was not… Read More

Flash Mobbing Cancer Treatment

    Here’s the basic idea behind adoptive T cell therapy: Patients whose cancers don’t respond to conventional treatments can have some of their own immune cells known as T cells plucked, genetically re-engineered to better target their cancer cells, and reinserted. In recent years these treatments have achieved dramatic early clinical successes, and there’s a lot of excitement about them. This excitement made adoptive T cell therapy a prime candidate for the third annual Biology Flash Mob at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, which drew about 180 volunteers on Friday morning.  We volunteers were a diverse group—by a show of hands, one third of us worked at Koch and one third had never heard of the institute—and several of us were only two years old. Our Koch hosts divided us into groups of healthy cells (green shirts), cancer cells (red shirts), T cells (blue shirts)… Read More

Alternative Careers in Science: A Speed Networking Event

The Cambridge-Boston area teems with science students, graduates and post-graduates, all brimming with the potential to push science forward. However, not all science graduates will stay in academia and pursue the career of a research professor. Increasingly, graduates are exploring alternative career options in science to put their numerous sought-after skills to use in the workplace. As part of the Cambridge Science Festival 2013, a networking event about alternative careers in science was held in conjunction with the Massachusetts Association for Women in Science (MASS AWIS). MASS AWIS is a national non-profit organization, the mission of which is to promote the interests and career development of women in all STEM disciplines. http://mass-awis.org/ The event took place at MIT and over 75 early career scientists attended to hear from some of the 25 speakers that were on hand to share insights from their chosen career paths. A wide variety of career… Read More

43 days until the 2014 Cambridge Science Festival!

We’re just over a month away from the 8th iteration of the Cambridge Science Festival.  Have you marked your calendars for April 18-27, 2014?  We’ll see another Robot Zoo, print in 3D, develop video games, understand the science of archery or modern cocktails, eat science, discover technology in jazz and runway fashion!  Check out our Schedule of Events for more. In other news, allow me to introduce the newest member of our Teen Advisory Board. Kathi Marcos Allphin is a homeschooled student who lives on the North Shore. Her interests are far too numerous to list, but they include genetics, science communication, music, linguistics, and science fiction (particularly anything by Isaac Asimov). She writes a public science blog called Endoplasma at http://endoplasmablog.wordpress.com. Here’s her latest entry about the science festival! Filling the chasm by: Kathi Marcos Allphin Far too often, the humanities and the arts are segregated from the STEM… Read More

Science is no game … or is it?

  Science is no game… or is it? Kellian Adams from Green Door Labs shares three games that contribute to scientific research. I admit it: I was not a science nerd when I was a kid. I was an artsy nerd and in fact, I was a little scared of Math and Science. But we live in a different world now where science is accessible to artsy kids in ways that I never imagined. Now, as a game designer, art and science collide in my world every day and I’m amazed by how scientific research actually makes for GREAT (and beautiful) games. The exciting thing about science games is that they can be used to gather and interpret real data for scientific research so there’s this sense of playing with a purpose. There have been new supernovas named, new proteins discovered and new epidemiological patterns uncovered all thanks to people’s… Read More

What is a Germ?

A guest post by the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology‘s public outreach coordinator, Geoff Hunt:   Germs are everywhere. In the bathroom. On the subway. All over the kitchen. But what exactly is a germ? How does it make you sick? Is it alive? What does it look like?   Comb through the scientific literature, and you will find thousands of papers that can answer these questions. But those different answers are confusing to the general public.   That’s why ASBMB, in conjunction with the Cambridge Science Festival, is sponsoring the “What is a Germ?” challenge.  We’re looking for the most creative, insightful entries that can answer the simple question: What is a germ?   Here’s a chance for scientists to take their technical knowledge and boil it down to a simple, straightforward explanation, free of jargon, complications and caveats. Scientists can use any format for their responses… Read More

From Spark to Hologram: A Timeline of Theater Technology

post by: Daniel Jones A figure emerges on the stage. It’s a man dressed in dark clothing. He disappears through a wall. He was never real; he was a hologram. Such is the magic that we’ve come to accept as part of the modern theatrical experience. Imaginative designing and directing team Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon have infused their company—aptly titled Lemieux Pilon 4D Art—with this sense of wonder and technological engagement, and they bring it from Montreal to the Boston stage with the ArtsEmerson presentation of La Belle et la Bête. La Belle et la Bete is playing at ArtsEmerson Dec 5-9 Cutler Majestic Theatre 219 Tremont Street, Boston For tickets or more information visit artsemerson.org or call 617.824.8400. Whereas the modern effects of defying gravity have advanced, the principles are the same as they were centuries ago. The main difference? Electricity. One spark changed everything. And now, the effects… Read More

Link Salad: Fall edition

Happy Fall, everyone!  An assortment of news and links for your perusal on this fine autumn day! Did you know that it’s National Chemistry Week? This year’s theme is Nanotechnology, which can be used to create a new method for water desalination or to make the world’s smallest snowman – both very worthy pursuits IMHO. Not new news, but a fun exercise all the same to understand that the human eye has a blind spot. Relatively new news, that we (using the very broad definition of “we”) have found the first planet known to have 4 suns.  Yes, four.  Even after reading the article, I don’t even have a clear picture in my head of how that works. On the festival front, some very exciting events are coming together for April.  Know of organizations that should be involved?  Leave us a note! For Science on the Street, we’re headed out… Read More

Taking a poll

So, one signature event we’re putting together for the festival next year is a “Science Crawl” through Kendall Square. To give you some background – at last year’s Bay Area Science Festival there was a Science Crawl through the Mission in San Francisco on a Friday night. It was pretty awesome. (Click to embiggen) So, the short of it is that we want to make our very own Science Crawl with tons of fun for an adult audience.  What we’d like to know is – do you like this idea?  And – would you come?  Please fill out the poll on the right side of the page letting us know if “yes” you would come, “no” it’s not for you, or “maybe, if…” and please let us know in the comments what would draw you out to the Crawl.  (Please only take the poll if it is possible for you… Read More

Science Trivia Challenge!

Prof. Walter Lewin at MIT, renowned for his free online lectures on Physics [I love his lectures! my version of super-star you see 🙂 ;)], moderated for the third time, the science quiz, ‘Science Trivia Challenge’, a splendid success in IMHO, today at the Broad Institute of MIT. There were two categories, one for high school kids and the other, open to public. Well, even though it was open to pubic, most participants turned out to be bachelor students and only a few quite elderly [one team which made it to the top had all biggies ;)]. Most of the questions were multiple choice or required a short-answer. Each team had 30-60 seconds to come up with their answer. I had no team or any plan to participate for I am a photographer, blogger.. but, when I was there, I did find that I missed out on something. The teams… Read More