The 2011 World Science Festival took place on June 1-June 5 in New York City. We offered a slate of exciting new programs and old favorites this year, all aimed at unlocking the beauty and complexity of science for everyone. Sign up for our newsletter to stay connected and get exclusive interviews, stories, and updates.
The Washington Square Park area was transformed into a science wonderland when the World Science Festival Youth and Family Street Fair returned to New York City on Sunday, June 5, 2011. This year’s extravaganza featured a non-stop program of interactive exhibits, experiments, games, and shows designed to entertain and inspire. Some highlights of this year’s Fair included:
The CSI Experience, sponsored by John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Kids of all ages became Forensic Detectives as they explored the Crime Scene at John Jay College’s CSI Experience. They collected evidence, examined blood splatter, conducted DNA analysis, excavated bones, dusted for finger prints, and became a CSI Detective.
Dinosaur Train and Sid the Science Kid
We were joined by The Jim Henson Company and friends as they investigated why some dinosaurs had feathers, and discovered if they are related to our present day feathered friends. Also in tow were our friends Sid and Buddy the T-Rex as they strolled through the festival taking in the sights, sounds and science of the Street Fair.
So You Think You Can Do Science
The Dancing Mad Scientist, Jeffrey Vinokur performed “So You Think You Can Do Science,” an unforgettable high-energy science show that combined the hottest dance moves with a science twist.
Smell Lab hosted by International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.
Test your Smell IQ, Concoct your Own Unique Fragrance from Scratch, “Recreate Whiffs of Reality,” and Guess that Celebrity scent at the Smell Lab, hosted by International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.
Doktor Kaboom took us on a sidesplitting journey of increasingly spectacular, and often successful, experiments and demonstrations.
Central Park Zoo’s Wildlife Theater
The Central Park Zoo’s Wildlife Theater introduced two new shows that will have you singing, laughing and learning with the “Polar Bear and the Beat” and the “Penguin State of Mind.”
This is Your Brain on Ping Pong
Wendy Suzuki, a leading Neuroscientist and specialist from NYU, discussed the effects of the fast pace, strategic decision making and eye-hand coordination of ping pong on your brain. Professionals battled it out as you learned how your mind and body connect to play fast and win.
Museum of Mathematics
Kids got a chance to ride a square-wheeled tricycle, explore geometry with the laser-based Ring of Fire, and play with human-sized geometric puzzles—it was math as you’ve never seen it before. New to the Festival this year was Math Unleashed, where untangling a rope yields surprising results, and Coffee Cup Curves, a hands-on exploration of the beautiful light patterns created by curved surfaces.
American Museum of Natural History’s Moveable Museum: Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries
We explored the evolution of dinosaurs and possible causes of the mass extinction 65 million years ago. We also examined dinosaur nests and tracked ways to interpret their social behavior, and explored the fossil evidence found in the earth’s rocks.
Lynn Brunelle’s Pop Bottle Science and Camp Out experiments
Lynn Brunelle, Emmy Award winning writer for Bill Nye the Science Guy, teacher, and author of Pop Bottle Science, Camp Out and Mama’s Little Book of Tricks. Children got the chance to smash a few leaves, crush a pop bottle with the power of the atmosphere, layer some liquids, make a lava lamp, blow up a balloon without using your mouth and make raisins dance. Science is a blast!
The New York Hall of Science helped create Oobleck, a classic science experiment that’s perfect for entertaining both kids and adults. Oobleck acts like a liquid when being poured, but then acts like a solid when a force is acting on it. You can grab it and then it will ooze out of your hands.
New York City/ New Jersey FIRST Robotics
We met the New York City/New Jersey FIRST robotic program students, who shared and showed their state-of-the-art robot creations that will keep you saying “How do they DO that?”
Discovery Theater and Authors Alley
Meet and greet your favorite science authors and other experts in Discovery Theater and at Author’s Alley. Enjoy a day full of conversations, readings and demonstrations with today’s top science writers.
What Lies Beneath: Science of Underwater Exploration
We explored with scientists how they investigate the secrets of the water world, be it in your local estuaries or the vast oceans. Dive right in!
The Messier Starship
Mary Seidman and Dancers and composer Bruce Lazarus flew you through the universe with a live dance and musical performance enhanced by beautiful visual projections of star clusters, galaxies, and time travel. Carter Emmart, Director of Astrovisualization for the American Museum of Natural History guided us from the earth into outer space with his 3-D atlas of journey through the stars. This unique performance brought to life astronomer Charles Messier’s Elliptical-Spiral Galaxy, Ring Nebula, Whirlpool Galaxy, and Pleiades star cluster on stage.
Kids visited our hands-on Science Labs for “take home” science experiments throughout the day. It was your chance to build your own volcano, plant your own seeds, determine DNA and discover science in a pop bottle.
How Does Exercise Change My Brain?
Get your heart pumping as you join in an IntenSati session, a form of exercise that combines movements from kickboxing dance and yoga with positive spoken affirmations.
We learn how Cooper Union Students built their own competitive racing car from scratch, watched sumo robots battle it out and learned what it’s like to be an engineer.
Math and Science Arcade
The arcade engaged your game addictions and improved your math and science skills at the same time! Children had the chance to step up to more than 50 laptops and game stations including Microsoft’s Kinect, SMART Boards, and dance pads to play innovative games that are both fun and educational!
Franklin Institute’s Traveling Scientists
Can liquid nitrogen be used to make a cannon? Does air really take up space? This band of merry scientists got to the bottom of these questions and more through a series of demonstrations.
The New York Botanical Garden
We enjoyed hands-on gardening activities and plant-science discovery with The New York Botanical Garden. Families could pot up plants to take home. Kids could create their very own junior scientist field notebook to investigate, observe, and record signs of seasonal change in nature in their neighborhood or local park.
The Large Hadron Collider: Discovering the Secrets of the Universe
Families learned about the world’s largest science experiment, Large Hadron Collider. It took more than 15 years and $10 billion to build the Large Hadron Collider. This amazing machine is probing a new frontier in high-energy physics and may reveal the origin of mass of fundamental particles, the source of the illusive dark matter that fills the universe, and even extra dimensions of space.
Underwater Engineering: Biomimetic Robots and Smart Materials
You’ve probably heard about 20,000 leagues under the sea. But what about 20,000 robots under the sea? At the NYU-Poly Dynamical Systems Laboratory tent we learned about different types of underwater robots, including biomimetic robotic fish that swim with real fish and animal-safe submarines. We explored new smart materials that can silently propel robotic fish as real muscles would do and that can scavenge free energy from little eddies and small vibrations in water.
NYU Poly: Smart Materials for Underwater Engineering Lab
We participated in a hands-on activity which explores artificial muscles that can aid technological progress and scientific discoveries of the world underwater. Prof. Porfiri demonstrated smart materials that can silently drive small robotic fish, sense the surrounding aqueous environment, and scavenge untapped energy underwater.
Fab @ Home
Fab@home is a low-cost, hackabale, computer-controlled platform for 3D-Printing, milling, carving, cutting and automated measuring. Fabricate any object from any material, from cheese to stainless steel.
Before Cave Walls…
Christopher Agostino, author of Transformations: The Story Behind the Painted Faces, presented an interactive program on this art of transformation. An exceptional visual artist and fascinating speaker, he delved into the use of masks and makeup in cultural traditions and world theater, symbols and iconography in tribal body art. This performance challenged audiences to consider the origins of our collective humanity while taking performance art in a new direction—illustrated live on the faces of volunteers.
Urban Science Education for the Hip-hop Generation
Christopher Emdin of Teachers College, Columbia University and member of rap group Ghosttown performed songs from his mixtape Urban Science Education for the Hip-hop generation, which features raps on basic science concepts, and science teaching and learning.
Rap Science 101
This lab session introduced participants to the connections between hip-hop and science in a short presentation, and provide them an opportunity to explore rap lyrics that connect science and hip-hop in a brand new way.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center, a world leader in genetics education, brought science to the streets of NYC! Families experienced how DNA can help you study the biology of the boroughs. Just as a unique pattern of bars in a universal product code (UPC) identifies each item for sale in a store, a DNA barcode is a DNA sequence that uniquely identifies each species of living thing.
NYC Center for Space Science Education
There’s no up and down in space! This can be disorienting to astronauts. Inversion goggles simulate this feeling. We joined the NYC Center for Space Science Education and experienced how simple tasks become difficult when you can’t tell up from down.
Liberty Science Center
Kids got their hands dirty digging for fossils. We sifted through rocks and searched for fossils that you could take home. We took a look through a Global Microscope and learned about the Earth’s surface, global warming and hurricane formations.
The Mad Science
Walloping Weather Pavilion
We explored the natural world and the wonder of weather as we demonstrate rapid changes in pressure to create clouds in bottles. We used our powers of observation and estimation to stamp out our own weather forecast on our special Mad Science weather maps. We also discovered how to be sun safe as we create Ultra-Violet Detector Key Chains that will help determine how strong the sun is on any given day.
The Mad Science
Crazy Chemworks Pavilion
We were joined for even more science fun as we explored chemistry and got to create ooey-gooey polymers using a new brand of Mad Science. Mix up a Mad Science Slime sample you get to keep.
What can you make from all that junk you throw away? The ScrapKins®, an industrious monster tribe who live in a recycling center, gave step by step instructions to turn milk cartons into pirate ships.
From Earth to the Universe (FETTU)
From Earth to the Universe is a collection of astronomical images that showcases the most dramatic views of our Universe. The images are at once artistic and informative, weaving together themes in multi-wavelength astronomy, planetary science, and heliophysics. Including contributions from backyard astronomers to the largest telescopes in space, the collection represents the current state of astrophysics as seen through the eyes of the scientific community.
Phantastic Physics Demo Show
Join Mark Croft and David Maiullo, from the Rutgers University Physics Department, as they use everyday objects in exciting physics demonstrations to explain the “laws” of physics. Both enlightening and entertaining, the show is fast paced and illustrates how physics principles can be easy to grasp and understand. Mechanics, fluid mechanics, waves & sound, thermodynamics and electricity & magnetism will all be explored. Great for all ages!