Unleash the curious kid in you at the Science Festival

Nine-day event promises to delight all ages

(Photo Left) The Franklin Institute is one of several locations hosting festival events. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Science Festival.

Spring in Philadelphia can be unpredictable, weather-wise. But one confirmation of the season that we’ve come to count on over the last six years is the Philadelphia Science Festival.

The Franklin Institute and Dow Chemical Company have helped assemble more than 70 events, over nine days (April 22-30), with 200 partners across the region, to “illuminate the essential role science and technology play in today’s world.”

What the annual event really does is allow us all to be kids again.

There’s a certain toddler delight in “Aquaponics: Is Fish Poop the Future of Food?”, a presentation at the Riverbend Environmental Education Center. And your adolescent gallows humor might be called up during “Murder at the Mütter: Picture of Death” at the Mütter Museum. But for the adult in you, there’s “Grow a Pint!” at the Yards Brewing Company.

I give a lot of credit to the festival’s steering committee for the creative ways in which the event brings us into the scientific world. “Over the past five years, perceptions on science have continued to evolve and Philadelphians are taking a deeper, closer look at science and technology, appreciating how vital they are to our everyday lives,” offered Larry Dubinski, President and CEO of The Franklin Institute, lead organizer of the Festival. Justin Land, northeast public affairs manager for Dow, said he was proud to partner with the Franklin Institute “to bring this celebration of science to life in the Delaware Valley.”

The nine days of offerings expose us not only to cool, scientific experiences, but also to people you don’t come across everyday (or maybe we do, and just don’t know it.)

Consider “Science at Play for the Young at Heart” speaker, Alexis Jeffcoat, described as “a Dungeons & Dragons playing history nerd” also known for her Laurel Hill Cemetery tours and geeky history talks at various cafes throughout the city. Her area of interest and research is Victorian social culture and burial practices. In 2015, Jeffcoat was nominated for Geek of the Year by the Philadelphia Geek Awards.

Speaker, Aaron Muderick, is president of Crazy Aaron’s Puttyworld, a Philadelphia-based toy and gift manufacturer who invented Thinking Putty, a toy and stress reliever sold in over 30 countries around the world. “With his magnetic, UV light-reactive, heat-sensitive, glow-in-the-dark and color-shifting varieties, Crazy Aaron has brought bouncing putty into the 21st century,” brags Muderick’s online bio.

Another speaker Jason Poole is a dinosaur expert who has participated in expeditions in Wyoming, Montana, Egypt, and Argentina. He was part of a team that discovered the gigantic Dreadnoughtus sauropod specimen.

The festival’s carnival, which last year attracted a crowd of 95,000 to the Ben Franklin Parkway, takes place on Sat., April 30, at the Great Plaza on Penn’s Landing.

The best way to navigate your way through all the offerings is through the philasciencefestival.org website, where a downloadable 21-page guide is also available. Science awaits you.


Unleash the curious kid in you at the Science Festival
Sheila Simmons - Contributor

Sheila Simmons brings many years of writing and communications experience to her work for Liberty City Press. She began her professional writing career at the Philadelphia Daily News, where she covered Business, City Hall and Education.


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