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Wisconsin Science Festival highlights connection between science, art

August 25, 2011 By Janet Kelly

What happens when you mix one part Aldo Leopold, another part Frank Lloyd Wright and add a pinch of Indiana Jones? Anyone can find out with a visit to the first Wisconsin Science Festival, an educational and fun-filled exploration of science and art taking stage across several sites in Madison from Sept. 22-25.

People of all ages can touch, taste, look, listen and discover the wonders of science and art through hands-on interactive exhibits and workshops, lectures, demonstrations and more with leading researchers and creative thinkers.

This groundbreaking festival explores the natural world in new and exciting ways from cutting-edge biotech research to the science of ice cream, and from an artist’s view of life on the nano level to the physics of football. The hub for most activities will be the Town Center at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, with select events taking place elsewhere at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and at the Madison Children’s Museum.

Sponsored by UW–Madison, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and about a dozen other local organizations as well as several corporate sponsors, the Wisconsin Science Festival seeks to inspire, educate, and cultivate global citizens while raising awareness and understanding of key scientific advancements.

The four-day festival will kick off with an opening ceremony marking the UW–Madison transition from the Year of the Arts to the Year of the Wisconsin Idea. It also will be the first designated “Arts Night Out” event of the 2011-12 academic year, and by incorporating dance, music and performance will introduce the interrelated nature of science and the arts.

A variety of activities are planned to interest a wide range of people — from toddlers through Ph.D. scientists. Titles run from the quirky to provocative, including “iPhone and iPad Orchestra”; “The Science of Murder”; “Bioethics Trek: Star Trek”; “NOVA Workshops”; “The Physics of Football”; “Science Street Festival”; “Insect Art”; “Music and Neuroscience”; and “Startup Cinema: Conversation and Screening of ‘The Social Network.'”

Entry to the festival is free with only a few activities requesting nominal materials fees. Additional information and a current schedule of events are available at