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A Virtual Science Festival as Big as Texas

A Virtual Science Festival as Big as Texas

The University of Texas at Austin is gearing up to welcome science enthusiasts everywhere to the Texas Science Festival. The virtual celebration features rapid-fire and deep-dive presentations by world-changing scientists, live hands-on demonstrations, explosive science, telescope viewings, opportunities to interact with experts from Texas' flagship public research institution and more.

The six-week event kicks off on Tuesday, Feb. 16 with leading COVID-19 researchers. It concludes on Friday, March 26, after dozens of separate events featuring biologists, computer scientists, astronomers, marine scientists, physicists, chemists, students, science entertainers, authors and even some Nobel laureates. The different live events will be streamed via online platforms such as Zoom webinar, YouTube and Facebook. The regularly updated schedule can be found at: www.sciencefest.utexas.edu.

The festival encompasses and builds upon several popular existing events and outreach programs featuring University of Texas STEM faculty members and students, including Explore UT and Girl Day at UT Austin, which also are being held virtually. In addition to traditional talks, one of the offerings will be "Science Sparks," events where pairs of experts each provide rapid-fire presentations on a theme. There will also be tours of the night sky and more from the McDonald Observatory, dispatches from the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas and the annual Visualizing Science Showcase with science-themed art. The virtual event is hosted by UT Austin's College of Natural Sciences. The theme of the event is "Science for a Changing World."

Among the many event highlights will be the ones below. Peruse more offerings and register for free at sciencefest.utexas.edu/schedule.

Defeating COVID-19 (Rescheduled)

Tuesday, Feb. 23, noon-12:45 p.m. CT

Hear from Jason McClellan, whose innovation features in nearly every leading coronavirus vaccine, about how years of prior work enabled lightning-fast vaccine development; and from Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, who has consulted with top national, state and local leaders, about the latest forecasts on the spread and impact of this virus.

Moon Tour Live from the McDonald Observatory

Thursday, Feb. 18, 7-8 p.m. CT

Watch live views of the moon from a world-class telescope in West Texas highlighting lunar surface features, Apollo landing sites, moon phases and more. Moderators will be available to answer your questions. (Other observatory events include solar viewing on March 5, a deep sky tour on March 6 and a Hobby-Eberly Telescope tour on March 25.)

​Open Questions at the Physics Frontier with Steve Weinberg

Thursday, Feb. 25, 4 p.m.

Explore big questions with one of the most revered scientific leaders of our time, Dr. Steven Weinberg, a theoretical physicist who holds the Josey Regental Chair in Science at The University of Texas at Austin. His contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles led him to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics, as well as 2020's Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

The Fooled Brain: A UT Brainstorms Event

Thursday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m.

Hear from University of Texas neuroscientists and get your questions answered about the brain's susceptibility to misinformation, in a conversation on how people can be easily misled when processing information and making decisions.

Explore UT & Explosive Chemistry with Kate the Chemist

Friday, March 5, 10:30 a.m. CT

Join Kate the Chemist, author of "The Big Book of Experiments" and "STEM Night Disaster" for this kid-friendly event. Dr. Kate Biberdorf will demo explosive chemistry and show off the Bubble Snake experiment you can do along, from school or home. There will be prizes, Q&A and a story-reading.

Big Strides in Fighting Cancer

Tuesday, March 9, noon-12:45 p.m. CT

Texas is home to one of the nation's most ambitious efforts to fight cancer, yielding breakthroughs in cancer research that are already saving countless lives. Hear from Nobel laureate and UT alum Jim Allison, who led the immunotherapy revolution; and MacArthur fellow and faculty member Livia Eberlin, who invented the MasSpec Pen, a game changer for the detection and removal of cancer during surgery.

Solving the Universe's Big Questions

Tuesday, March 16, noon-12:45 p.m. CT

The ordinary atoms that make up the known universe — from us and the air we breathe to the planets and stars — make up only 5% of all matter and energy in the cosmos. The remaining 95% is made up of dark matter and dark energy. Learn from National Academy of Sciences member Katie Freese and astrophysicist Karl Gebhardt about what they are learning from the cutting edge of discovery about these mysterious, nonluminous ingredients of our cosmic cocktail.

Visualizing Science Showcase

Monday, March 22 through Friday, March 26

Each year, the College of Natural Sciences invites its faculty, staff and students to submit the most stunning and inspiring images from their scholarly research for its Visualizing Science competition. Explore this year's winners and learn more about the science behind the art.

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Thursday, 04 March 2021

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