"..won’t satisfy everyone’s tastes and wants. It is too small to do that and too smart to try." Boston Globe

Cambridge Science Festival!

Bring your curiosity!
April 20 – 29, 2012

For ten days, Cambridge and beyond presents the most engaging, inspiring, surprising, and thought-provoking festival you’ve ever seen! “What If” challenges scientists and stand-up comedians to describe what life would be like if the history of science were rewritten. The “Science of Baseball” will throw a curveball at you laced with sabermetrics. World-renowned filmmaker and mountaineer David Breashears will debut his latest exhibit and lead a public symposium, “Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya.” Come “Fishing for Sustainability,” explore space at our “Star Party” with telescopes that NASA uses, and catch a glimpse of the science behind the invisibility cloak at “The Science of Illusion.”

Looking for your favorites? “The Science Carnival” will swing with the Science of Circus on Friday, April 20th and “Big Ideas for Busy People” moves to a bigger space, First Parish Church, on Friday, April 27th.

Events in Harvard Square:

Urban Astronomy
Friday, April 20 (cloud date: Saturday, April 21), 8-11pm Deguglielmo Plaza, in front of 25 Brattle Street

In spite of bright lights and restricted views, we can see quite a lot from the heart of an urban area. This spring we will be able to get fantastic views of Venus, Mars, Saturn, double stars, and distant star clusters. We will be setting up telescopes in front of Cambridge City Hall to provide free views for the public. We will be hoping for clear skies on the evening of Friday, April 20; in the event of clouds the event will take place instead on Saturday, April 21. Check for weather cancellations/updates at http://www.bostonastronomy.net.

Big Ideas for Busy People
Friday, April 27, 7:30-9:30pm First Parish in Cambridge, 1446 Massachusetts Ave

Once again, by popular demand we bring you Cambridge’s fast-paced answer to Ted Talks. Big Ideas for Busy People features 10 short, sharp talks by some finest minds in and around Cambridge – 5 minutes per talk, plus 5 minutes for questions – presenting a roller-coaster ride through some of the biggest, boldest ideas in science!

SoundScience Fun!
Saturday, April 28, 3:30-5pm Club Passim, 47 Palmer Street

Ever wonder why your guitar gently weeps? We welcome people of all ages who are curious about sound to learn, sing, move and explore the science of sound in this lively, interactive performance. Through demonstrations and songs, we will ride a sound wave, sing about strings, hum about drums, and have fun!

Fishing for Sustainability in New England
Sunday, April 29, 1-5pm Harvard Science Center, 1 Oxford Street

Our waters may be cold, but the topic of sustainable fishing in New England is hot. We know that the bounty of the sea is special to New England. How do we most accurately assess our fish stocks? Which fish varieties should we be eating? How do we maintain the tradition and livelihood of our fishing fleet and still safeguard our environment and our fish? Where does Aquaculture fit in? Join us for this Teach-In on New England fishing and hear from experts in policy, science, nutrition, the environment, business — and from our fishermen.

Artisan Asylum’s 48-hour Trebuchet Design Competition
Sunday, April 29 4pm Cambridge Common

Come join the Artisan’s Asylum community for the public contest of our second Design Challenge! In this event, teams will put their 48-hour creations to the test, pitting their final projects against each other to accomplish the stated tasks. Entries will be disqualified for violating any of the terms of the project or for unsafe building or competing practices; winners will get public glory, gift certificates to the Asylum, and prominent display for their project in our facility. Whether you want to cheer on your ‘home team’, seek out promising designers and engineers, or just feel your blood race with the excitement of the contest, come watch the bout!

Author Talk, How the Hippies Saved Physics
Sunday, April 29, 3-6pm Democracy Center, 45 Mt Auburn Street

Join David Kaiser in a talk about How the Hippies Saved Physics – An exciting story of how, in a time of great social upheaval, some young physicists broke with convention and helped reconnect Physics with its philosophical roots and revive the study of Quantum Theory. David Kaiser is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he teaches in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society and the Department of Physics.

What If…?: Alternative Histories of Science
Friday, April 20, 7-9pm Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street

Imagine that phrenology – the 19th century study of mind by measuring bumps on people’s heads – had turned out to be true? Or that Darwin hadn’t been invited to go on the voyage of the Beagle? Or that the luminiferous ether – much loved by late 19th century physicists as the theoretical medium for the propagation of light – had turned out to actually exist?

Now imagine historians in discussion with stand-up comedians on these subjects, and you’ve got “What If…?” Join Moderator Anne Harrington and her guests Andrew Berry, David Jones, Roberto Lalli and stand-up comedians Kevin Harrington, Raj Sivaraman, and Rob Crean as they improvise alternative histories of science.

Cambridge Explores the Universe
Saturday, April 28, 12-4pm Harvard College Observatory, 60 Garden Street

Become an astronomer for a day! Enjoy exploration stations that include hands on activities, telescope tours, ask an astronomer science cafe, and solar observing. Find out the latest discoveries about the Sun, exoplanets, and black holes, and take your own telescope images. Go on a virtual tour through the universe using the World Wide Telescope visualization lab. It’s out of this world!


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