A weekend for the science geek in all of us (Oct. 9-13)

October 6, 2008

The boys and I spent a chunk of Sunday afternoon making glow-in-the-dark slime with gel glue, borax and water.  We nailed the disgusting consistency — M. won’t even touch it except through the plastic baggies we’re storing it in — but the darn goo doesn’t glow in the dark.  I guess we didn’t use enough paint, or maybe not the right kind … so we’ll be making more slime until we get it right.  Ah, the joy of experimenting!  You can bet that I’ve been keeping an eye on SciFest 08, the world-class science conference coming to St. Louis later this week (Oct. 9-13).  With 60-some sessions on topics that range from what drinking does to your brain (cleverly planned for Thursday, SciFest’s secondary education day!) to rock guitar to fashion to vegetables (cleverly planned for Monday, SciFest’s elementary educatin day!), the festival is brimming with fun and challenging notions.

All the sessions requiring paid admission are set up in one-hour blocks so visitors can choose only those that interest them.  Naturally, I honed in on the freebie lessons and activities, offered in the Science Center throughout the five-day event by more than two dozen local companies (see a full list on the SciFest Showcase page). But the workshops are a good deal too, especially the Young Scientist Workshops for ages 3 to kindergarten or grades 1 to 6 (Saturday and Sunday only). For $6 (or $5 for Science Center members) you can drop a child off for a 90-minute session while you attend a simultaneous hour-long adult session of your choice (the same prices apply for each adult session’s admission). Advance registration is pretty much a given, and can be done online or on the phone at 314.289.4424, but do check out the online schedule first so you’re ready to roll when you call.

The event’s been garnering massive media attention thanks to its parent, the Cheltenham Science Festival in England, one of the city’s four world-renowned festivals (the others are in music, jazz and literature). SciFest 08 is the first iteration outside England; it will return to St. Louis for the next two years (and potentially more, if all goes well).

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