Wisconsin Science Festival 2013 announces dates, call for presenters

March 19, 2013

by Janet Kelly

Image: Wisconsin Science Festival logo

After more than tripling attendance last year, the Wisconsin Science Festival is coming back for year three with plans for more activities at more sites that reach more people. The organizers announced today the 2013 festival will be held September 26-29 and issued an open call for presenters, communities, organizations and sponsors to get involved.

As in prior years, the festival will offer a full schedule of interesting people, music, art, food, and explosions that bring the wonders of science to life for all ages. The festival strives to explore the natural world in new and exciting ways, often with a local twist, from the science of making bratwurst and beer to investigating the connections between music and our brains.

New headliners for this year include Ira Flatow, the host of NPR's Science Friday, Nobel laureate Roald Hoffmann, and artist Vivian Torrence. UW-Madison evolutionary biologist and New York Times contributor Sean Carroll will take part for the second consecutive year. Other returning attractions include dozens of hands-on exploration stations, the physics of football, the science of food and live science fiction radio.

"The Wisconsin Science Festival celebrates science, the arts and the humanities in events where everyone can experience and enjoy how these endeavors interact and affect our society and our culture," says Bassam Shakhashiri, UW-Madison professor of chemistry and creator of Science is Fun, which is returning for the third year of the festival.

Most Madison-based festival activities are held in the Town Center at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, with numerous events also taking place elsewhere on the UW campus, at the Madison Children's Museum and in communities statewide. As last year, all the children's museums in the state (Appleton, Eagle River, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Sheboygan and Stevens Point) plan to participate.

Laura Heisler, festival director and director of programming for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, says she expects the festival to draw visitors from across Wisconsin and around the world due to its unique offerings of interactive exhibits, workshops, lectures, demonstrations and conversations with leading researchers and creative thinkers.

"More than 18,000 people attended from 17 states, as well as some foreign countries last year. We offered 250 events in 50 venues, including 13 communities across Wisconsin. This year we are encouraging even more communities in Wisconsin to host events and become part of the festival."

The festival is accepting proposals until May 1 for presenters, exhibits and activities from colleges, universities, community nonprofits and K-12 schools engaged in the sciences, arts, humanities or creative combinations of any of the three disciplines. In addition, festival organizers are eager to attract new partners and sponsors in 2013. Organizations and individuals interested in participating can find details and application information here.

Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and a number of other nonprofit organizations and corporate sponsors, the Wisconsin Science Festival seeks to inspire, educate and develop global citizens by raising awareness and understanding of science.