The Las Vegas Science Festival, May 1-7
If you have any interest in science, the first week of May 2011 is going to be something special. That’s when the first Las Vegas Science Festival is scheduled to happen. With a clever slogan (Science in Vegas: What are the Odds?) and participation of public and private organizations, the Science Festival is shaping up to have something to entertain anyone.
The latest information will be available on the official website – as I am writing this, there are still a lot of unknowns. The main events are summarized here. On May 1st there will be guided tours at various museums, educational institutions and other science-related places. The Las Vegas Natural History Museum is very much involved in the Festival, so I would expect they’ll have something scheduled for that day.
Then, throughout the week there will be various events at schools. There appear to be events that can be brought to home-schoolers and senior centers as well. Also planned, at places not yet announced, are debates on topics such as the relationship between science and religion.
Finally on Saturday, May 7th, the big event of the Festival is an Expo at the Cashman center. The festival organizers are expecting 100 or more exhibitors to offer demonstrations, hands-on activities, and education. It looks like there will be no charge for entrance into the Expo (but check the website as the day approaches, to be certain).
I have high hopes for the success and quality of this event. The festival co-directors are Marilyn Gillespie of the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, and John Good of Exhibit IQ. They got advice from Professor Kathy Sykes, who helped create the Cheltenham Science Festival, one of the United Kingdom’s leading science festivals — this year the Cheltenham Science Festival is expecting about 40,000 paid attendees.
Professor Sykes gave a brief talk about the Cheltenham Science Festival and the upcoming Las Vegas Science Festival to a group of about forty interested science enthusiasts at the Mirage on April 6th. “It took about five years for the Science Festival in Cheltenham to really take off,” she noted. She thought that perhaps it wouldn’t take as long in Las Vegas. There were three exhibits at that talk; one on chocolate, sponsored by Trader Joe’s; one featuring the chemistry of wine, courtesy of Southern Wine; and the third was a stand from Atomic #7 of Henderson, where you could get ice cream made-to-order, flash frozen with liquid nitrogen while you watched. If the coming Festival will be as good as those, I thought, sampling the wine, chocolate, and ice cream, we’ve got a winner.