by Sue Ann Rybak
It’s time to get your geek on – with the 2014 Philadelphia Science Festival, a city-wide event that explores how people use science and technology in everyday life. And it’s Astronomy Night is coming to Chestnut Hill on Friday, April 25. Due to recent weather forecasts, The Astronomy Night at J.S. Jenks Elementary School is CANCELED.
Whether you want to learn the science of NASCAR, extract DNA from a strawberry, test a “crime scene” for forensic evidence or taste liquid nitrogen, the 2014 Philadelphia Science Festival, which runs from April 25 to May 3, has something for everyone.
Gerri Trooskin, Philadelphia Science Festival director, said the festival is a nine-day celebration of science and technology that aims to erase the stigma associated with science.
“Science has gotten a bad wrap,” Trooskin said. “As a society, we don’t celebrate science – we celebrate art, music and food. People tend to think of science as something that was hard in school or not fun.”
Trooskin said the Philadelphia Science Festival, which is in its fourth year, aims not only to inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers but “to change the perspective of what it means to love science.”
“Science is in everything we do and everything that we are,” she said.
The festival, which is presented by Dow Chemical and directed by The Franklin Institute, brings together more than a 175 partners and features more than a 100 events throughout the region at parks, restaurants, bars, libraries and museums.
Several events are taking place in Northwest Philadelphia, including Astronomy Night. Michael Atwell, Chestnut Hill College adjunct astronomy professor, and Albert Lamperi, a former Chestnut Hill College adjunct professor, will give local residents a tour of the cosmos on April 25 from 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. at John Story Jenks Elementary School playground, 8301 Germantown Ave. Astronomy Night in Chestnut Hill is hosted by the Chestnut Hill Business Association in partnership with Philadelphia Science Festival.
“Astronomy is one of the most gratifying fields [of science] to watch people experience for the first time,” Trooskin said. “That one moment – when you see the night sky through a telescope and see the rings of Saturn for the first time. It really can be incredibly impactful. It’s not just about studying astronomy – it’s about understanding that the world is vast.”
Other sites in the northwest participating in Philadelphia Science Festival’s Astronomy Night include Awbury Arboretum, 1 Awbury Road; Blair Christian Academy, 220 West Upsal St.; Grumblethorpe Historic House & Garden, 5267 Germantown Ave.; and Imani Educational Circle Charter School, 5612 Germantown Ave. So bring your curiosity and a blanket. With 27 locations throughout the city and suburbs participating in Astronomy Night, you won’t get lost in the stars.
For more information about the Philadelphia Science Festival go to www.philasciencefestival.org.