Thursday, December 2, 2021

MSU Science Festival allows visitors to explore nature, technology

April 23, 2018
Chemistry professor James H. Geiger creates colorful flames by lighting an assortment of elements on fire during Keep Calm: It's Only An Explosion which is a chemistry demonstration going on as a part of the MSU Science Festival on April 14, 2016, in the Chemistry Building. Geiger says he likes demonstrating chemistry because he wants to spark interest for both adults and children to learn more about chemistry.
Chemistry professor James H. Geiger creates colorful flames by lighting an assortment of elements on fire during Keep Calm: It's Only An Explosion which is a chemistry demonstration going on as a part of the MSU Science Festival on April 14, 2016, in the Chemistry Building. Geiger says he likes demonstrating chemistry because he wants to spark interest for both adults and children to learn more about chemistry. —

The sixth annual MSU Science Festival incorporated other elements with science in a variety of events to open the public's eyes to futures in science.

The festival was 17 days long with more than 250 activities and events both on and off campus. The last day for the festival was Sunday. 

The event featured a variety of activities for different careers and ages and was free to the public.

The kick-off was at the Michigan History Center. The museum was opened up for two hours free of charge with activities throughout.

The activities integrated science into many different forms and offered ways to connect with a wide range of people, Director of the Abrams Planetarium and advisory committee member Shannon Schmoll said.

"We really try to find presentations for every age range," MSU Science Festival Director Roxanne Truhn said. "Last week, families really enjoyed the expo because there were a bunch of hands-on activities, but adults also enjoyed it because we had talks with global experts on doing science, autonomous vehicles and virtual reality."

A new feature of the festival was the different tours. The festival started giving tours last year and continued the tours from the positive response. There were 35 different tours going on around campus and in other small towns. The tour groups visited several places on campus, such as the MSU Museum, Abrams Planetarium and the Main Library. 

"Science is all around us, technology is all around us," Truhn said. "We use this stuff every day, and it also getting the youth interested in stem and steam. They are going to be our leaders of tomorrow, so it is important that they see all of the kinds of careers that are out there."

She said she wants to show science is fun and demonstrate to people that science is something they can learn and they are capable of doing.

The ultimate goal of the MSU Science Festival is for everyone to find something they always wanted to learn about, to spark their imagination, to try something new or discover how something new works, Truhn said.

"It brings people from all over the region out to see what MSU itself has to offer in terms of science, and how we can make it exciting and fun and for people to see why it is important," Schmoll said.

Schmoll said she loves the science festival and has an appreciation for the natural world.

Jen Owen presented the Burke Lake Banding Station Demonstration. She has been working with the science festival for about four years. They set up nets to catch the birds and show the audience the process of banding birds: catching them, measuring them, identifying them and releasing them.

Attendees had the opportunity to have a bird placed on their hand and to then release the bird.

A booth was up during the expo, where kids were able to be "banded" by receiving a bracelet with numbers on it. Kids were also shown how measurements were taken when banding birds.

People love to see the birds up close, and it is a novel experience that gives one a new perspective, Owen said.

"I love exposing people to science," Owen said. "I love showing how science is accessible and how it is relevant and interesting. It is a way to engage with the public and pique their interest."

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