Fun at the Wisconsin Science Festival

“Is this a real human brain?” I asked. The answer was yes. The liver, lungs, spleen and stomach that were on display were also real—all from donated human bodies. My 3-year-old daughter put on a latex glove and eagerly touched each of the organs, while my 6-year-old son stood back at a distance, wide-eyed. We were at the Discovery Expo on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, a free kid-friendly science event featuring dozens of interactive exploration stations. Continue reading

Getting Ready to Unleash My Curiosity

science fest_cWe have lots of ways of celebrating science. This week was Nobel Prize week in which the hard work of many scientists was celebrated with awards of prestigious prizes and news stories around the world. Our cartoon lab, kindly provided by scientist, Ed Himelblau, celebrates all of the little things that go into the daily pursuit of science.

In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Science Festival: Curiosity Unleashed is a celebration of science that has become an annual event for our family. The hands-on experience of designing vehicles to a race across and obstacle course, shooting air-propelled paper rockets at the moon, holding a tomato horn worm in your hand and watching its pulse, and exploring the principle of viscosity through the intense study of chocolate are big hits for us. We can explore rocks, water, bugs, bubbles, and in the process experience some of the “oh wow” factor that got me interested in science to begin with.

All over the state from October 22–25, 2015, people are bound to find a free activity that interests them–from learning about the history of the Wisconsin agriculture from local writer Jerry Apps to learning about the science of popular video games like Call of Duty and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which are made right here in Wisconsin. There are art and science programs, theater programs, programs for the nature-lover, hands-on scientific exploration, and even Halloween-themed cave exploration. There are programs geared for specifically adults, and programs just for children. There is something for everyone.

The Wisconsin Science Festival is a celebration of our innate spirit of exploration– of our natural curiosity–our ability to look at the world ask questions and figure out how to answer them. You can dive in completely and lose yourself in science, and it is so much fun.

Watch the video and see for yourself:

Have you ever attended a community celebration of science? What was your favorite activity?

The Wisconsin Science Festival is a state-wide event produced by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, The Unversity of Wisconsin, and the Morgridge Institute for Research. It is completely funded by businesses and private donors in Wisconsin, including Promega.

Curiosity Unleashed: Wisconsin Science Festival 2014

Our buggy conversation starter at the Wisconsin Science Festival

Our buggy conversation starter at the Wisconsin Science Festival

“Oh wait Mom, look, bugs!”

And she was off. The next thing I knew she had a pale greenish-blue tobacco hornworm caterpillar in her hand.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before.” Nor had I.

She turned it upside down and started tickling its legs with a finger of her free hand.

“What does it eat? What will it turn into? How big will it get?” Rapid fire questions at the student who was manning the table of bugs. “Ooo cool. Look Mom he has a stick bug on his shirt. What does a woolly bear caterpillar become? What’s the name of that beetle? Where does it live? Why is that hornworm so much more active than the one I’m holding?”

We both took a really good look at the beating heart just underneath the dorsal skin of the very active hornworm that was about to pupate.

That was one adventure. There were many more.

Promega was one of many sponsors of this year’s Wisconsin Science Festival: Curiosity Unleashed 2014. Continue reading