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Massachusetts Institute of Technology  /  MIT Museum
Building N51   265 Massachusetts Avenue   Cambridge, MA 02139
Open Daily 10am – 5pm  /  Closed Major Holidays

If the MIT Museum is closed due to snow, there will be a message here.

The Cambridge Science Festival
Presented by the MIT Museum, April 20-29, 2012

The Cambridge Science Festival is presented by the MIT Museum in collaboration with the City of Cambridge, community organizations, schools, universities and businesses. Public TV & radio, the libraries, small kids and big kids – everyone gets in on the action.

 

Throughout the Cambridge Science Festival, the MIT Museum will host a range of performances, classes, receptions, and workshops and activities.


2012 Festival Events at the MIT Museum

For information on 2012 festival events at the MIT Museum, please refer to the schedule and event descriptions below. For other festival events elsewhere, please visit the official Cambridge Science Festival website. Both sites are being updated as new events are confirmed, so check back for the final schedule later in the season.

 

Friday 4/20 | Saturday 4/21 | Sunday 4/22 | Monday 4/23 | Tuesday 4/24 |
Wednesday 4/25 | Thursday 4/26 | Friday 4/27 | Saturday 4/28 | Sunday 4/29

Jump to pre-registered events

 

All programs are free with Museum admission unless otherwise noted.


Friday, April 20

10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Free Day at the MIT Museum

In celebration of the Festival’s opening day, the MIT Museum is open for free on Friday, April 20. Participate in hands-on activities and explore the newly renovated galleries and exhibitions!

Free admission
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Caution: This Game is Under Construction

Making a video game takes a lot of work and we need your help!


A dollop of art, a dab of audio, a generous helping of programming and voila: the perfect video game! We wish it were that simple. Before we release our games to the public, we need playtesters to make sure they're worthy of being GAMBIT games. Is the game fun? Are the goals clear? Can players figure out what to do? Even though these games aren't finished, we can still discover the answers to these questions and others. How? By asking you! At the MIT Museum on Friday morning, the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab will be testing several works in progress. Come be the first to play our newest games and tell us what you think.

All experience levels welcome and encouraged. Making games may be hard, but playtesting them is easy. Trust us, you're exactly who we want to talk to.
Presented as part of the MIT Museum’s free day

10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Squeaks, Squeals, and Songs

Curious about how marine mammal communicate? Listen and learn about the exciting world of marine mammal communication. Hear sounds from many different marine mammals. Did you know that young dolphins tend to mimic adults, especially their mothers? Listen to a mother and calf's calls and even try to mimic a marine mammal call for yourself and see how you do.
Presented by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as part of the MIT Museum’s free day

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Everything You Wanted to Know About Slide Rules

Novice and expert slide rule users welcome for a hands-on exploration of the most important engineering instrument of the twentieth century. We'll start by learning (or reviewing!) the basic principles of using a slide rule to do calculations, then try out some real-world engineering calculations from projects like famous bridges, buildings, and spaceships. We'll also look at some special-purpose slide rules for specific applications.
Ages 12+ (knowledge of logarithms useful but not required). Presented as part of the MIT Museum’s free day.
Pre-registration is now closed.

6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Level Up: GAMBIT Game Night

When is a lighthouse not just a lighthouse? When it's GAMBIT Game Night! Come celebrate the five-year anniversary of the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. Like all proper gamers, we've been exploring the world, gaining experience, and collecting cool loot. Now we'd like to share it with you. Games from throughout GAMBIT history will be available for your amusement: from puzzles to action to games so experimental they're beyond definition. But don't just play…level up with us by asking about the research. Every GAMBIT game explores a research question, and GAMBIT developers will be at the ready to tell you all about it. There is more to that gum-chewing schoolgirl and floppy space squid than meets the eye!

Presented as part of the MIT Museum’s free day


Saturday, April 21

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Robots Gone Wild

Bugs, birds, and cheetahs, oh my! Take a walk on the wild side as you explore the exciting world of biology-inspired robotics. See robots in action and talk with the researchers from MIT's Biomimetic Robotics Lab, the Robot Locomotion Group in the MIT Media Lab, Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically-Inspired Engineering, Northeastern's Biomimetic Underwater Robot Program and MIT's Ocean Engineering program. Find out what happens when engineers join forces with nature to design machines that run, fly, swim, crawl, and climb to new realms of robotic technology.

Free with Museum admission

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Biomimetics: From Spider Webs to Cheetah Legs

Join us for a series of special presentations by MIT researchers who are inspired by nature to create new technologies. Hear from Sangbae Kim, Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, about his work in MIT's Biomimetic Robotics Lab, and Markus Beuhler, MIT's Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering about the connections between spiders' silk and technological development.
Free with Museum admission

12:30 p.m. and
2:30 p.m.

Math and Origami (but mostly origami) - SOLD OUT

Less is more when it comes to paper folding. Learn about the history of mathematical origami as you construct your own polyhedra out of simple shapes and everyday materials. Find out what a Sonobe unit is and transform simple squares of paper into a mathematical wonder!
$4.00/student, $8.50/adult, includes Museum admission
Pre-registration is now closed.

4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Vanishing Glaciers: What's Your Question?

Especially for high school students! A public symposium in conjunction with the MIT Museum's newest exhibition, Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Himalaya. Details to be announced. Reception to follow.
Event will occur at MIT's Stata Center (32 Vassar St), NOT the Museum.


Sunday, April 22

12:30, 2:00 & 3:30 p.m.
Workshop: Knots for Novices

It's knot (all) theory! Get 'roped' into the math of knots and links as you explore engaging activities for your hands and mind. Learn about the history and future of this extremely active field, as you give your own knot table a tie!
$4.00/student, $8.50/adult, includes Museum admission
Pre-registration recommended

Note: The 2:00 p.m. session (sold out) will be geared toward younger children (ages 8+) with adult help, while the 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. sessions are best for teens and adults.

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Underwater Exploration with Sea Perch

MIT Sea Grant staff will bring hands-on activities such as Sea Perch, a simple, remotely operated underwater vehicle, or ROV, made from PVC pipe and other inexpensive, easily available materials. Come try your hand at operating the Sea Perch in a tank set up for the occasion! Members of MIT Sea Grant's Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Laboratory will be on hand to show off larger underwater vehicles as well.
Free with Museum admission


Monday, April 23

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Culinary Chemistry: (Chick)peas on Earth
Have some fun with food in the Museum's new lunchtime science series! Bring your lunch and something for dipping as you chat with MIT hummus enthusiast Eliad Shmuel about the MIT Hummus Experience and the science behind chickpea creations.

Free admission, does not include entry to Museum exhibits

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

MIT Museum Revealed: Snapshots, Circuits, and Robots
The MIT Museum invites you to explore our exhibit halls with a special Cambridge Science Festival guide! Acting Curator Ariel Weinberg presents highlights from the Museum’s Polaroid and Robotics collections, including a look at MIT’s rich history of artificial intelligence research.

Free with Museum admission, first come, first served


Tuesday, April 24

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Culinary Chemistry: Rising to the Occasion
Have some fun with food in the Museum's new lunchtime science series! Bring your lunch and nibble away at some examples as Baking Volunteer Club founder Rob McQueen discusses what it takes to engineer the perfect loaf of artisan bread.

Free admission, does not include entry to Museum exhibits

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

MIT Museum Revealed: Spotlight on Holography
The MIT Museum invites you to explore our exhibit halls with a special Cambridge Science Festival guide! Seth Riskin, Manager of Holography and Spatial Imaging, offers new perspectives on the Museum’s popular holography collection.

Free with Museum admission, first come, first served

7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Story Collider at the MIT Museum
The Story Collider is a live show featuring true, personal stories about how science has affected people's lives. We'll find people with the most exciting, humorous, weird, or just plain interesting science stories from all over Cambridge and Boston, and then put them in front of a microphone to tell their tales. For a preview of what to expect, check out our podcast or website, storycollider.org or see tonight's line-up here.

Free admission. Appropriate for ages 16+, ages 21+ with ID.


Wednesday, April 25

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Culinary Chemistry: Pop and Fizz
Have some fun with food in the Museum's new lunchtime science series! Bring your lunch and sip some sample beverages as MIT chemical engineering alum Greg Pollock explains what it takes to keep the bubbles in beer and the fizz in soda pop.

Free admission, does not include entry to Museum exhibits

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

MIT Museum Revealed: Sampling Innovation
The MIT Museum invites you to explore our exhibit halls with a special Cambridge Science Festival guide! Museum Director John Durant leads visitors on a journey through the Mark Epstein Innovation Gallery, featuring a sampling of current research projects at MIT.

Free with Museum admission, first come, first served

6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Science of Illusion

Can you imagine the science behind an invisibility cloak? What about a hovering hologram? The Science of Illusion pushes beyond the boundaries of the real and provides insights into how magical thinking drives technological innovation and the human imagination.
Doors open at 5:00, advance registration required


Thursday, April 26

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Culinary Chemistry: Adventures in Chocolate
Have some fun with food in the Museum's new lunchtime science series! Bring your lunch, take a taste test, and talk with soft matter physicist Naveen Sinha about how the physical properties of chocolate affect the experience of eating it.

Free admission, does not include entry to Museum exhibits

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

MIT Museum Revealed: Explore the Himalaya
The MIT Museum invites you to explore our exhibit halls with a special Cambridge Science Festival guide! Exhibitions Coordinator Laura Knott “surveys” the Museum’s new Rivers of Ice exhibition with stunning views of glacier photography by David Breashears.

Free with Museum admission, first come, first served

6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Science for Sinners
Explore the science of sin in this “speed-geeking” event at the MIT Museum. Visitors can enjoy adult beverages and sinful snacks as they rotate through a series of flash presentations by local researchers. Download flyer here.
Ages 21+, $15 (light dinner and drinks included)
Advance registration required
.


Friday, April 27

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Culinary Chemistry: The Clover Food Lab
Have some fun with food in the Museum's new lunchtime science series! Bring your lunch, enjoy free samples, and chat with chef Rolando Robledo and MIT alum Ayr Muir about their egg-citing journeys with the Clover Food Truck.

Free admission, does not include entry to Museum exhibits

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

MIT Museum Revealed: Undersea Robotics
The MIT Museum invites you to explore our exhibit halls with a special Cambridge Science Festival guide! Curator Kurt Hasselbalch dives into MIT's numerous connections to autonomous underwater vehicle development and nature-inspired robotics.

Free with Museum admission, first come, first served


Saturday, April 28

10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Down to Earth Outer Space

Discover space research at MIT! Hands-on activities and interactive displays will be available all day, with featured presentations at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Explore new worlds in new ways--from the search for life in extreme environments and the exploration of Mars to the discovery of black holes with new technologies and x-rays from distant galaxies.

11:00 a.m.: Mike Nowak: "If black holes are black, then how do we see them? (Answer: sometimes we don't!)"
1:00 p.m.: Matt DiCicco: "NASA's new nuclear powered, rock-crushing, laser blasting Mars rover"
3:00 p.m.: Meredith Danowski: "From dusty galaxies to alien worlds- it really IS rocket science!"

Free with Museum admission

10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Splash@CSF

MIT, Boston College, and Harvard students come together with the inspiration of Splash to present Splash@CSF, an exciting day of short workshops for middle and high school students.
Details and registration

6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Do It Yourself Game Design

Does your family game night need a boost? Join engineers from the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab for hands-on workshops about game design. Visitors of all ages can choose from four different sessions that will change the way you look at board games, video games, and more. Featuring Board Game Remix (middle school and older), Junkyard Track Meet (youth and family), Serious Games for Social Change (teen and adult), and Unity Basics (teen and adult, programming experience required).
Pre-registration required, $5/person materials & registration fee


Sunday, April 29

12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Workshop: Paper-Based Electronic Art

Come learn about materials and techniques for integrating electronics with paper to create expressive and interactive artworks. This workshop is appropriate for youth ages 10-14, accompanied by one parent (or other adult partner). Pre-registration and materials fee required. Presented by the High-Low Tech group at the MIT Media Lab.
$12.50 per pair, includes Museum admission.
Workshop and wait list are now full.

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Interactive Ideas Fair

For the Festival's final day, the MIT Museum presents a showcase of new ideas, products, and projects from MIT scientists and engineers on a variety of topics. Presenters include members of the wearable techno-fibers research group at the Research Laboratory for Electronics, Sports Innovation @ MIT, BioSuit, and the MIT student chapter of the Optical Society of America.


Quick Links for Pre-Registered Events

Fri. 4/20

Workshop: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Slide Rules
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Pre-registration closed | Release form/parental consent (pdf)

Sat. 4/21

Workshop: Math and Origami (but mostly origami)
12:30 p.m. or 2:30 p.m. (both workshops are now full)

Pre-registration closed | Release form/parental consent (pdf)

Sun. 4/22

Workshop: Knots for Novices
12:30 p.m., 2:00 (full), or 3:30 p.m.

Pre-registration closed | Release form/parental consent (pdf)

Wed. 4/25

Science of Illusion
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Details and Registration

Thu. 4/26

Science for Sinners
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Details | Registration

Sat. 4/28

Workshops: Splash @ CSF
12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Details and Registration\ Release form/parental consent (pdf)

Sat. 4/28

Workshops: Do It Yourself Game Design
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Details and registration | Release form/parental consent (pdf)

Sun. 4/29

Workshop: Paper-Based Electronic Art
Sunday, April 29, 2012, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Pre-registration closed, session full | Release form/parental consent (pdf)

 

MIT MUSEUM   Building N51   265 Massachusetts Avenue   Cambridge, MA 02139
P: 617.253.5927   F: 617.253.8994   museuminfo@mit.edu
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About the Festival:

The Cambridge Science Festival is the first and largest multi-day celebration of science and technology in the United States. During ten days in April and May, the City of Cambridge showcases hundreds of free & open events designed to excite, engage and educate the public. We take curiosity to a new level!

Girls with Statue-of-Liberty hats


History of the Festival:


The first Cambridge Science Festival was held in April 2007, and opened at Cambridge City Hall. Last year, the festival celebrated its fifth anniversary, and now holds its kick-off event on the grounds of the Cambridge Public Library.

The 2011 Festival coincided with MIT's 150th Anniversary celebration and a campus-wide Open House. The MIT Museum hosted, as always, daily events and demonstrations for visitors of all ages.