South Side Science Festival to offer free hands-on demos and science experiments for the public Sept. 17

Meet scientists and learn about everything from jellyfish to DNA at first annual UChicago event

The University of Chicago invites members of the community to explore the fascinating world of science at the first annual South Side Science Festival.

The event will bring the South Side and UChicago communities together for a day of fun outdoor science exploration, inspiring exchanges with faculty and student researchers, live experiments and demonstrations, food, and music. All ages are welcome; no previous registration is necessary.

The public can meet some of the scientists conducting top research on the South Side; talk to grad students about why they chose science; and fire up imaginations around the possibilities of STEM.

Among the activities: Immunoengineer Aaron Esser-Kahn and his lab will teach you to compare the adhesive strengths of gels, tapes, and glue — and show you how to build foreign cells to mimic how the body recognizes vaccines. Molecular geneticist Jocelyn Malamy will walk you through the anatomy and life cycle of the incredible jellyfish. Synthetic chemist Bryan Dickinson will help you extract DNA from a strawberry and make a DNA model with candy.

Visitors can also help chemist Dmitri Talapin and his lab make ice cream with liquid nitrogen; use guitars to learn about how MRIs work; or discuss “the origin of everything” with Prof. Angela Olinto and Nobel laureate Jack Szostak — from the birth of the Universe to the creation of the building blocks of life, and to animal and human evolution.

The first edition of the festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., at the UChicago Science Quads at 5734 S. Ellis Ave. in Chicago. This location is easily accessible by CTA bus and Metra.

This event is open to the public, and all ages are welcome. No previous registration is necessary. More information is available on the South Side Science Festival website.

“We’ve organized this festival because we want to share all of the cool and mysterious ways that science is a part of everyone's lives,” said Neubauer Family Assistant Professor Sarah King, who heads the committee that organized the festival. “A key part of sharing science and building relationships with the community is making sure that the science we’re sharing is accessible to everyone, no matter where they are on their journey of discovery with science.

“We want everyone to come away from this event with a sense that science is for everyone—all you need is curiosity!” she said.

“The festival is such an exciting way to start the school year - it provides so many different ways to experience all of the sciences in a single day!” said Shaz Rasul, executive director of education partnerships within the Office of Civic Engagement. “Our hope is that this experience will lead to longer-term relationships with the numerous STEM programs the University already offers to local youth year-round, and that the spirit of collaboration that the festival represents will inspire new initiatives that further broaden participation in the sciences.”

The South Side Science Festival is co-organized by UChicago’s Physical Sciences Division, Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering.

The event will kick off Saturday, September 17, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., at the UChicago Science Quads at 5734 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, Il 60637.

For more information, visit the event website.