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UNC Science Expo

2017 UNC Science Expo

Come join us for the UNC Science Expo on Saturday, April 6th, 2019, from 11am until 4pm. This annual celebration of science features over 100 hands-on activities and science demonstrations lead by STEM students, researchers, and practitioners from UNC-Chapel Hill and the Town of Chapel Hill. Come build your own squishy circuit neuron model, test your mettle in the Department of Psychology’s “cold water challenge”, take a look at insects under an electron microscope, make your own ice cream, and so much more! The UNC Science Expo is your chance to get up close and personal with cutting edge science at UNC Chapel Hill – from the 30 meter wave tank in the Marine Sciences lab to the virtual reality and robotics demonstrations at the Computer Science department. This year’s event will also bring out your artistic side as you learn about The Beautiful Brain and the 27-foot-wide Crouching Spider statue. And if you need to take a break, grab a bite to eat at our food trucks and sit down to enjoy one of our science demonstrations on the Solar Stage. You won’t want to miss our (unofficial) attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the Galileo Cannon!


April 6, 2019

11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Curiosity Classroom

The 2019 UNC Science Expo is expanding to include an outdoor, tented classroom perfect for families ready to explore! Read the descriptions below and sign up for a 30-45 minute hands-on STEM experience.

Note: Each session includes stuff you can take home. Due to high demand, please register your family for only 1 session.

11: 30 a.m. Outbreak: A Neuroscience Escape Room in a Box
There has been an outbreak of a virus across the US! The virus is known as "Giggluenza" and attacks the brain and leads to uncontrollable laughter. The CDC has searched day and night for an answer with no success, so they are turning to you, leading neuroscience researchers, to find the cure! Try your go at hypothesis testing and experimental design to see if you can find the cure. If you don't find the cure in the next 30 minutes, then you will be infected so work quickly!

Recommended for middle schoolers and up. Register for Outbreak: A Neuroscience Escape Room in a Box. 

12:30 p.m. Catapult Challenge
Are you ready to build your very own mini-catapult? In this family workshop, you’ll work together on an engineering challenge as we explore how to harness elastic potential energy to launch projectiles! Each participant will get their own catapult.

Recommended for ages 7+. Register for Catapult Challenge.

1:30 p.m. Spudstronauts
Team up with the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center and the UNC Science Expo to help protect a very special astronaut. The harsh environment of space can be unforgiving, even for a nutritious and hearty potato! Participants in this session will design and outfit a protective space suit for a potato astronaut that is preparing for launch on Spudnik-2. Your goal: protect the spudstronaut from being french-fried or hashbrowned on re-entry. Designers are encouraged to take their creation home for further testing. 

Recommended for ages 8+. Register for Spudstronauts.

2:30 p.m. Oobleck Lab
Join Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at the UNC Science Expo to create and personalize your very own Oobleck masterpiece! Participants will explore the chemistry of non-newtonian fluids to concoct and create their very own slimey project. Experimenters are encouraged to take home their oobleck and continue exploring these fascinating states of matter!

Recommended for ages 6+. Register for Oobleck Lab.

Lab Tour Schedule:

Chemistry: 12 p.m./1 p.m./3 p.m.

Marine Science: 11 a.m./12 p.m./1 p.m. 
Learn how marine scientist attempt to understand and predict changes in marine systems - and their effects on humans and other organisms - via a 36 meter wave tank.

Exercise and Sports Science: 12:30p.m./1:30 p.m.
The tour will immerse you in The MOTION Sports Science Institute where you will see demonstrations and have opportunities to participate in various human movement and sport science assessments. Biomechanical assessments using motion capture, force platforms, and electromyography as well as Ultrasonography of muscles and joints will be demonstrated.      

Electron Microscopy: 11:30 a.m./12 p.m./12:30 p.m./1 p.m./1:30 p.m./2 p.m.
Tour will include imaging bees (and other interesting specimen) with our Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) in Chapman Hall. Orange County Beekeepers Assoc will be on hand to explain the parts of the bee seen through the SEM.

Coker Arboretum: 11:30 a.m.
Coker Arboretum is at the center of one of the most beautiful university campuses in the nation: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Managed by the North Carolina Botanical Garden, it is one of the Garden's oldest tracts.

Psychology and Neuroscience: 12:30 p.m.

Physics and Astronomy: 11 a.m./12 p.m./1 p.m.
Get a firsthand look at world renown research in physics and astronomy.

Biology: 1 p.m./2 p.m./3 p.m.
Visitors will walk through the greenhouse and get an idea of how a greenhouse works and what UNC Chapel hill is working on in the plant industry.

Be-A-Maker Makerspace: 11 a.m./1 p.m./2 p.m.
The makerspace student group will provide hands-on making activities that are appropriate for all ages. 

Computer Science: Open 1-4 p.m. (Sitterson Hall)
Visit Sitterson Hall for an incredible variety of computer science demonstrations involving graphics, robotics, telepresence, and many types of medical collaborations.

Ackland Art Museum: Open All Day
Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s drawings of the brain are as aesthetically astonishing as they are scientifically significant. The Beautiful Brain is the first museum exhibition to present these amazing objects within their historical context.

Additional Information

  • Admission is free to this event.
  • No registration required.
  • Food trucks will be on-site for lunch, snacks and drinks.
  • Bring your own water bottle to enjoy fresh, clean water from the Blue Green Machine water purifying system.
  • Restrooms are available in the Campus Y building, Phillips, Chapman and Sitterson Halls. Portable toilets are located at each end of Cameron Avenue.
  • Free parking: Stadium Drive, Cobb parking deck, Nash, Park Place and Bell Tower parking lots. Paid parking: At metered street spaces or at the Rosemary Street parking decks.
  • Bus and car parking: On Skipper Bowles Drive near the Dean Smith Center; catch the free U bus to campus. 

More Info