Ferris Wheel in Liseberg, Sweden
Ever play science roulette? Me neither. In Gothenburg, Sweden, festival organizers had the brilliant idea to put a scientist on each of the cars of a ferris wheel. When you got on, you rode with a scientist and learned a little bit about what s/he does. You didn’t know which scientist was going to be in which car, hence: roulette.
Know anyone with a nerdy tattoo? I do. (Comes with the territory when you’re in the biz.) Last year, the Philadelphia Science Festival hosted Science Ink featuring Carl Zimmer and a body artist to talk about scientists with science-y tattoos as well as the use of tattoos in modern medicine.
Each year, the Bay Area Science Festival takes over an aircraft carrier in San Francisco Bay to host a Nerd Nite at Sea complete with food, drink and science demonstrations. Nerd. Nite. At. Sea. How fun is that? (Even if they do spell “night” wrong.)
I’m bringing these funky events to your attention as a challenge to the good people of North Carolina. The NC Science Festival is putting out the call for event submissions for our 2014 Festival. The dates are March 28 – April 13, 2014. Each year, we’ve been thrilled at all of the wonderful events our partners have come up with. This year, we’d like to see more. We’d like to engage new audiences. I’m convinced that we’re the best science festival in all the land. But we still want (need!) to be better. So I’m looking at all of you, you Ignites and SparkCons, you TEDx organizers and 5K fun run fundraisers. We want you! The Festival is the perfect time to captivate crowds and get people talking your language.
A science of beer event featuring beers with science-style names (Rocket Science with Rocket Scientists serving Rocket Science IPA, anyone?).
A Reverse Science Fair where scientists have to explain their research to kids?
A robot zoo?
A video game tournament with looks behind the scenes at computer programming?
How about an app off? Come pitch your new app in front of the adoring masses and get voted as the best.
So many ideas I start to forget what I’m typing about. What I do know is that we would love for you to get involved. We’re the first and one of the few statewide science festivals. There’s room for everybody.
For details on hosting official NC Science Festival events, please go here.
Keep those ideas coming. And by all means, contact me anytime with suggestions. The wackier, the better.
Jonathan Frederick directs the North Carolina Science Festival, an initiative of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.