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This Spring, Get Out and Enjoy Science Offerings

This Spring, Get Out and Enjoy Science Offerings

It wasn't just the super blue blood moon. From a major science event downtown to a STEM festival for girls to Explore UT, this year brings a rare alignment of science-centric events to Austin. The College of Natural Sciences is encouraging everyone to get out and enjoy some science in the weeks ahead.

From a visit by the world's largest multidisciplinary science organization, to a talk by a Nobel Laureate to "the biggest open house in Texas" right here on the Forty Acres, there's a lot to see and experience in science this spring.

Three Weekends in a Row of Public Science Festivals (Family Science Days, Feb. 17-18; Girls STEM Festival, Feb. 24; & Explore UT, March 3): For three weekends in a row, Austin families and science enthusiasts of all ages will have opportunities to enjoy hands-on experiences of science, see explosive stage shows that harness lessons from chemistry and physics, meet local scientists and learn about the natural world.

  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting will bring 10,000 scientists from around the world to an event that includes sessions by University of Texas at Austin scientists on topics ranging from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico to new advancements in cancer therapies to how to build sustainable urban landscapes. Guest speakers include former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. A free and open to the public two-day event is happening in conjunction with the meeting, AAAS Family Science Days. This opportunity for adults and children to explore interactive science exhibits, see live science-themed stage shows and have their questions answered by scientists from around the globe. (11 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 17-18, Austin Convention Center)
  • Girl Day STEM Festival at UT: Boys are welcome, too, at this free annual event presented by Women in Engineering. Introduce a Girl to Engineering and the Girl Day STEM Festival features grade-specific, hands-on activities and demonstrations to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math. More than 1,300 students, faculty and industry experts will be on hand to answer questions. (12-5 p.m. Feb. 24, UT campus)
  • Explore UT, the annual university showcase, has more than 80 exhibits, talks and demonstrations focused on science and a special alumni lounge for members of the College of Natural Sciences community. Little ones can become a veterinarian for a day, talk to robots, become a crime scene investigator or peer through a telescope, and adults can hear from some of the nation's top scientists, including from notable UT Austin alumni like National Geographic's Spencer Wells. (11 a.m.-5 p.m. March 3, UT Campus)

Public Lectures, Lessons and an Open Science Debate: The College of Natural Sciences sponsors a number of monthly public outreach programs, as well as annual lecture series that often bring in special guests. Here are some upcoming offerings.

  • Science Under the Stars: The free outdoor lecture hosted at the Brackenridge Field Laboratory in February features Spencer Fox, an infectious disease researcher, who will give a behind-the-scenes look at combating outbreaks and pandemics like flu, Ebola and Zika by tracking their path. Tours of the Brackenridge Field Lab and hands-on events for children precede the talk. (6:30 p.m. Feb. 8, Brackenridge Field Laboratory, 2907 Lake Austin Blvd.)
  • Brainstorms: Hosted by the Department of Neuroscience, February's Brainstorms will feature Dr. Michael Drew and a look at "The Frightened Brain," including the effects of fear and anxiety on brain health. (6:30 p.m. Feb. 15, UT Thompson Conference Center room 1.110)
  • Our Dynamic Microbiomes and Gut Health: The Department of Nutritional Sciences hosts a talk about the tiny microbes that live in our guts and their big impact on the health of our bodies. Dr. Rob Knight of the University of California San Diego, a world leader in gut microbiomes, will deliver this year's Jean Andrews Guest Lecture. (6 p.m. Feb. 15, UT Hogg Auditorium)
  • 2018 Great Lecture in Astronomy: "From the Telescope to the Laboratory and Back Again," led by Dr. Don Winget a professor of astronomy at UT Austin, will explain in a free talk that's open to the public how plasma researchers at UT Austin are recreating star stuff here on Earth in a rare new project in "experimental astronomy." (1:30-2:30 p.m. Feb. 17, Peter O'Donnell Building Auditorium at UT Austin)
  • The Dionysium: A unique Austin event that features a public-friendly debate about dark energy and what it means for the universe will also have fun science short talks and musical performances. In honor of the scientists' meeting in Austin that week, the event, usually held at an Alamo Drafthouse, will be at the Austin Convention Center. (8-10 p.m. Feb. 18. Austin Convention Center)
  • Save the date for Nobel Laureate Kip Thorne: On April 25 in the Hogg Auditorium, the Physics Department will host one of the newest Nobel Laureates in physics. Thorne was awarded the prize for the discovery of gravitational waves.

For a full list of UT upcoming science events, visit cns.utexas.edu/events.

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