This Saturday, anyone living near Madison WI will have a chance to get  up close and personal with science.

A Madagascar hissing cockroach makes an appearance at the "Who's Who of the Insect Word" booth during Science Expeditions 2007 held March 24, 2007 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Photo by: Aaron Mayes Photo credit: UW-Madison, University Communications

The University of Wisconsin-Madison takes sharing its research with its citizens very seriously.

I’ve written about the amazing accessibility of the science on this campus in the past.  (see Twinkle, Twinkle, UW-Madison )

This Saturday,  the 10th annual Science Expeditions will offer a bigger, better opportunity to learn about science and get to know the labs, museums and researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Lauri Schwarts and her daughter Jacel Schwarts use special glasses to see various properties of light during Science Expeditions 2007 held March 24, 2007 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Photo by: Aaron Mayes Photo credit: UW-Madison, University Communications

The 2012 version of Science Expeditions, will open to the public more than 40 hands-on science exploration stations at two dozen different venues around campus – all connected to each other and free parking by a trolley that will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Engineering Expo. Photo by: Michael Forster Rothbart Photo credit: UW-Madison, University Communications

“Last year, we had thousands of visitors who met and learned from the people who work here,” says Tom Zinnen, a Science Expeditions organizer and outreach specialist at UW-Madison’s Biotechnology Center. “It’s all about those people. I love going to science museums, but science museums are primarily about exhibits. The great thing about coming to campus is that you get to talk to the scientists.”

That’s a key opportunity for the public, which funds research at universities around the country with billions of tax dollars.

“The people we’re inviting to campus aren’t just visitors, they’re patrons,” Zinnen says. “We have a stake in them, they have a stake in us – even if they never set foot on campus.”

Those that do set foot on campus or Science Expeditions will have more to do and see than ever before.

The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St., will serve as a hub, providing tours and hosting up-close encounters ranging from live reptiles to the science of chocolate. A series of Science Spectaculars will showcase physics, chemistry, astronomy and ever-popular dinosaurs in buildings near the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Among Science Expeditions’ many new venues are:

At an exploratory station organized by the School of Veterinary Medicine, student Leslie Estelle shows children an illuminated model of cow's stomach during Science Expeditions, an interactive science and technology outreach event held at Engineering Hall. Photo by: Jeff Miller

– The newly refurbished Biochemical Sciences Building, 440 Henry Mall, will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Biochemistry Outreach Day, with tours of new facilities given by the scientists who work in them.

– Birge Hall, 430 Lincoln Drive, home to the Botany Department and Wisconsin State Herbarium, will let visitors see with the eyes of a botanist at its Plant Imaging Center from noon to 2 p.m., offer guided tours of the Botany Greenhouse every 45 minutes starting at 10 a.m., and send people away with plant seedlings for at-home experimentation.

Natalie Rodenkirc participates in an activity booth explaining how DNA is isolated in a lab setting during the "Science is Fun" event at Engineering Hall, one of several activities offered during Science Expeditions 2008 held April 5, 2008, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Photo by: Bryce Richter Photo credit: UW-Madison, University Communications

– The Chazen Museum of Art, 750 University Ave., is planning a tour on the science of art conservation at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and another, “Bountiful Beauty: Fruit in Art,” at 1 and 2:15 p.m.

Also open for tours, presentations and other activities are Allen Centennial Gardens, UW Arboretum, the Botanical Gardens, Geology Museum, the Ingersoll Physics Museum in Chamberlin Hall, Chemistry Building, Madison Children’s Museum (where admission is charged), Genetics-Biotechnology Center Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, Microbial Sciences Building, the Stock Pavilion, D.C. Smith Greenhouse, Science House, the Zoological Museum, Steenbock Library, Babcock Hall Dairy Store, the Primate Center’s Learning Lobby, and the Dairy Cattle Center’s afternoon milking from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

This is your chance to learn more!

For a full schedule and information on parking, bus routes and the circulating trolley, visit the Science Expeditions website here.
If you don’t live near Madison, what are the science learning options available to you?  How do you like to keep up on the scientific research that affects all our lives in so many ways?

3 replies

  1. Thanks, Lorijo. And congrats on the book assignment.
    On the writing topic, I’m about to take attend the UW-Writers’ Institute these next four days. I hope to see you there again someday.

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