Penn helps stage Philadelphia Science Festival

This month scientists and science fans alike will take the latest research in fields from astronomy to zoology out of the labs and into the streets to celebrate the first annual Philadelphia Science Festival.

Penn helps stage Philadelphia Science Festival

The science fest, a partnership between The Franklin Institute and several Philadelphia universities and research centers, including Penn, Drexel, Temple, the Chemical Heritage Foundation and the Monell Chemical Senses Center, will feature more than 100 events that range from lectures and demonstrations, to more interactive activities such as kid-friendly experiments, a science-themed pub trivia night and a science-themed murder mystery at the eccentric Mütter Museum in Center City.

Science Festival programs will be held at various sites across the city, and most are free. On Saturday, April 16, there will be an outdoor Science Carnival on the Ben Franklin Parkway, featuring 80 booths of presentations and exhibits. The fête runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Sunday, April 17, the festival comes to Penn, with the University Museum hosting Spencer Wells, National Geographic’s explorer-in-residence and director of the Genographic Project, at 2 p.m. Wells is scheduled to discuss “Genetic Perspectives on the Tarim Basin Mummies.” Tickets are required and cost $5, but are free for college students with ID.

On Wednesday, April 20, the Museum will also present a workshop titled “Infusing Global Education into Math and Science Curriculum,” in which seasoned educators will give tips and lesson plans for immersing global education into math and science courses. The event begins at 5 p.m. Reservations are required. To register, contact Jennifer Reifsteck at 215-898-4016 or email

The Penn Genomics Frontiers Institute is convening several events during the festival, including a panel discussion on Monday, April 18, on “What Genomics Can Tell Us about Everyday Behaviors andWhy These Behaviors Can Change,” scheduled to be held at The Franklin Institute’s Franklin Theater, 20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The panel discussion will begin at 6 p.m. To reserve a seat, call 215-448-1254 or visit

Thursday, April 21, is astronomy night and participants can join Penn astronomers at the David Rittenhouse Laboratory Observatory, 209 S. 33rd St., for an event called “Picturing the Universe.” The University’s team of astronomers will guide visitors through an evening of star gazing using some of the Observatory’s cutting-edge instruments. The star party will begin at 8:30 p.m.

On April 26, Garret FitzGerald of Penn’s Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics will lead a panel discussion titled “Custom-Made Medicine: Is There a Future for Personalized Therapies?” The discussion will focus on the origins and outlook of personalized medicine at a time of dramatic change within the field of healthcare. Scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. at Penn’s Translational Research Center,
3400 Civic Center Blvd., the discussion is free but reservations are required. To reserve a seat, call 215-349-5658 or

For a complete list of events, including those happening at Penn,

Originally published on April 7, 2011