12 Apr 2013

Massive open-house of thousands of laboratories across Canada coming May 11!

By Pippa Wysong

What has a million legs, a few thousand open doors and things that make you go ‘ooh!’ and ‘aww!’? If you said Science Rendezvous, you’re right! This is a nation-wide event that will take place Saturday May 11, and it’s for the whole family.

What is Science Rendezvous? Think of it as a massive open-house where thousands of laboratories across the country open their doors to the public. The whole family can visit labs at universities and other institutions and see where real research is done. You can meet scientists who will answer your questions, give tours of their labs, and do demos – many of which you can try out yourself.
Explosive fun from Science Rendezvous 2012.
For more blasts (and other stuff) from the past,
check out Science Rendezvous's video gallery.
Photo courtesy of Science Rendezvous.

I ventured into the Science Rendezvous festival the last two years, and found it an amazing experience. I got to talk to geologists, astronomers of various types, and even spoke to a researcher working with flat-worms who was trying to figure out what it is that makes these creatures grow new body parts and be basically immortal. (Read a previous blog I wrote about it.)

This year, I’ve gotten involved. In fact, I’ll be at this year’s event all day, hosting a vaccine education tent that will be on the University of Toronto campus on St. George Street. Look for the tent where people are handing out surgical masks and letting you visit our actors portraying people sick with diseases such as Spanish flu, polio and smallpox.

There will be things that appeal to all ages. Across Canada, there will be experiments and activities for the kids, lectures for the adults, and displays for people of all ages. And not everything is indoors. There will be tents erected on university grounds where various demos and exhibits will reside and contribute to a festival atmosphere.

There will be even be science activities at a shopping Mall! Cape Breton University is hosting the Mall of Science at the Mayflower Shopping Mall where there will be a variety of hands-on activities.

Toronto has 17 venues participating, including 4 universities, 2 hospitals, research centres, libraries, and the Ontario Science Centre.

This is the only science festival of its kind in Canada, and the biggest. What makes it different from other science outreach events is that it’s the only one where the public gets direct access to real-live researchers and their labs, and find out exactly what novel areas they are working on. Other science outreach groups mostly focus on doing hands-on experiments that demonstrate basic scientific principles.

To find out more, tune in to the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet show. Each day for the week leading up to May 11, scientists participating in Science Rendezvous will be on the show describing and showing off a tiny sampling of the things you’ll experience.

Mark May 11, 2013, on your calendar now! Here are some highlights of things to come:
  • Science on Stage at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square, Ontario. With Daily Planet’s Dan Riskin. Ryerson University hosts the Science on Stage event at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto. See the ever-popular Sumo Robot Competition, a machine-vs-machine battle to the death, the Dance of Science featuring Ryerson’s renowned performing arts programs, and a spectacular fire show! Dan Riskin will host and do some amazing science himself!
  • The Role of Gender in Science Communication, Vancouver. As a prelude to the main event happening on campus, University of British Columbia (UBC) will present a public lecture on the role of gender in science communication on May 10th, 2013 from 5:30-7:00pm. Open forum and panel discussions will be led by Dr. Jennifer Gardy from UBC. On May 11, UBC labs will open their doors.
  • Science Jeopardy, Oshawa, Ontario. The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) presents flaming gummy bears, liquid nitrogen fun and Science Jeopardy. Examine forensic evidence to solve a crime scene, levitate a magnet, discover the sensational sliminess of creating polymers, create a Maggot Masterpiece, and isolate your own DNA.
And much, much more!
For more details: http://www.sciencerendezvous.ca/2013/

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