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9th annual MSU Science Festival seeks to celebrate science virtually through April

April 9, 2021
<p>Poster of MSU Science Festival 2021. Photo courtesy of Science Festival Coordinator Roxanne Truhn.</p>

Poster of MSU Science Festival 2021. Photo courtesy of Science Festival Coordinator Roxanne Truhn.

Through the month of April, the ninth annual MSU Science Festival hopes to help people explore, learn and question the unseen mysteries of the universe. 

For the entire month, Michigan State and community partners will be virtually giving talks, demonstrations and hands-on experiments, Roxanne Truhn, coordinator of the Science Festival, said.

“It’s to celebrate not only science, even though it’s called the Science Festival,” Truhn said. “It also celebrates science, technology, engineering, arts and math. So, we’re a STEAM festival.”

This is the second year the festival has gone virtual, as the pandemic forced them to cancel their live event two weeks prior to its kickoff.

Truhn said the organizers did not want to just leave the festival at that, so they decided to put on digital, online presentations instead. She also said about 50 presentations were given last year. This year, there will be over 200.

“Especially with the pandemic, it’s shown science is so important to the health of everyone that we wanted to provide something for the public, even though we couldn’t hold a live event,” she said.

The festival is currently preparing for its second of three “expo days,” which will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 10. The final expo day will be Saturday, April 17.

This Saturday’s expo day will feature 48 different events where presenters may give a talk, demonstration or perform an “experiment along” activity, where they provide materials one can gather around their home and experiment alongside the scientists.

From large-scale chemistry demonstrations to bird talks, Truhn said the festival has “a little bit of everything for people to enjoy in all realms of science.”

“We like to say we have something for everybody,” she said.

The festival is also encouraging people to get outside and explore the living world around them by promoting a new project, the Citizen Science Bioblitz.

To participate in the Bioblitz, go out with a camera, take a picture of any living thing you see and upload it through the MSU Science Festival page on the iNaturalist app.

“That helps scientists know what plants are coming up, if they’re coming up weeks earlier than normal or what songbirds are migrating through the region,” Truhn said. “So, for the entire month of April, we’re asking people to get outside and document that so we can see what lives around here.”

The festival is also readying for statewide astronomy night. In honor of the night, Truhn said the festival asked planetariums around the state to do something special for their audiences.

From 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. April 16, community members can log onto the Science Festival website and see what each participating planetarium is displaying.

Michigan State’s Abrams Planetarium will be participating in astronomy night with astronomy that takes place over Chile. (5:30)

All statewide and on-campus events are free and open to the public. For more information about the Science Festival, click here to access its website. 

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