Science Expeditions invites everyone to campus March 31 to April 2

March 27, 2017 By Eric Hamilton
During the Science Expedition event in 2011, Children learn about creeping, crawling and flying bugs and insects at a hands-on exploration station organized by the Department of Entomology's Insect Ambassadors. This year's Science Expeditions will be this coming weekend.

During the Science Expedition event in 2011, Children learn about creeping, crawling and flying bugs and insects at a hands-on exploration station organized by the Department of Entomology’s Insect Ambassadors. This year’s Science Expeditions will be this coming weekend. Photo: Jeff Miller

In the span of a few hours on Friday, visitors to the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus will be able to make a virtual trip from Japan to the Egyptian Sphinx, before peering backward in time at distant stars, to kick off a weekend of free science explorations.

Science Expeditions, UW–Madison’s 15th annual scientific open house, invites visitors of all ages to campus from Friday, March 31, to Sunday, April 2, to delve into the world of science. Demonstrations, hands-on activities, tours and shows will let visitors explore weather prediction, tour tropical greenhouses, track leaf-cutter ants, and more.

Most importantly, everyone is welcome.

“The public are co-owners and co-funders of this university, so we are delighted to welcome everyone to campus not only these three days but the other 362 days of the year,” says Tom Zinnen, an outreach specialist at UW–Madison’s Biotechnology Center and UW–Extension, and a Science Expeditions organizer. “Visitors can connect to the people and the programs they can use all year round to explore science and science-based decisions.”

The School of Pharmacy joins Science Expeditions for the first time this year, hosting exploration stations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday in Rennebohm Hall, 777 Highland Ave. Also new on Sunday is a trolley, which will be available both Saturday and Sunday to take visitors between venues.

Science Expeditions starts Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. in Room 1360 of the Genetics Biotechnology Center, 425 Henry Mall, with the Joy of Origami workshop led by Wisconsin Public Radio host Ruthanne Bessman. Bringing together the fine arts, material sciences, and the mathematical field of topology, Bessman will teach visitors about the principles and the practice of artistic paper folding. Then, from 7 to 9 p.m., geophysicist Bob Schneiker will take visitors to Egypt to learn about the geologic history of the Sphinx.

Stargazers can end their Friday night at Washburn Observatory, 1401 Observatory Drive, which will be open from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. both Friday and Saturday to let visitors get a glimpse of the early spring night sky above Madison.

Referencing a 3-D weather globe displaying real-time and recorded satellite imagery, an outreach specialist with the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), describes weather patterns on Earth to a group of families and visitors participating in Science Expeditions in 2011.

Referencing a 3-D weather globe displaying real-time and recorded satellite imagery, an outreach specialist with the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), describes weather patterns on Earth to a group of families and visitors participating in Science Expeditions in 2011. Photo: Jeff Miller

On Saturday, the nexus of Science Expeditions is the Discovery Building (Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery), 330 N. Orchard St., which will host four dozen exploration stations with hands-on activities for all ages from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Art buffs can stop by the Chazen Art Museum, 750 University Ave., from noon to 4 p.m. to learn about the Science of Art.

At Science Scinema, movie enthusiasts can view a selection of short documentaries from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Room 1111 of the Genetics Biotechnology Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Two UW–Madison alumni from the studio, Dennis Liu and Laura Helft, will share what it’s like to make these movies with a special presentation at 7 p.m.

On Sunday, April 2, Science Expeditions explores the health sciences with exploration stations open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Health Sciences Learning Center of the School of Medicine and Public Health, 750 Highland Ave., the School of Nursing’s Signe Skott Cooper Hall, 701 Highland Ave., and the School of Pharmacy. Anyone who missed them Saturday can catch encore Science Scinema presentations at the Health Sciences Learning Center. Furry friends get in on the action too, with an open house at the School of Veterinary Medicine, 2015 Linden Dr., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Visitors can cap off the weekend by stretching their legs, at exploration stations at Picnic Point starting at 2 p.m. Sunday or by joining naturalists for a walk at the UW–Madison Arboretum, 1207 Seminole Highway, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Still not enough? Check out these other events:

  • Budding botanists can tour the state herbarium and botany greenhouses at Birge Hall, 430 Lincoln Drive; check out the DC Smith Greenhouse at 465 Babcock Dr.; or explore the rooftop greenhouses at the Leopold Residence Hall, 1635 Kronshage Dr., on Saturday.
  • Early birds can check out the Geology Museum in Weeks Hall, 1215 W. Dayton St., and the 100-year-old hands-on Ingersoll Physics Museum in Chamberlin Hall, 1150 University Ave., starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
  • Get up close to the satellites on top of the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences building, 1225 W. Dayton St., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Catch hourly shows at the Sterling Hall Planetarium, 475 Charter St., on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Learn about chemistry with a show presented by the Students Participating in Chemistry Education (SPICE) in Room 1351 of the Chemistry Building from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, and come back for a Science is Fun Spectacular at 3 p.m.

Even more events, a full schedule, parking information, and all the details can be found at the Science Expeditions website.