Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fete de la Science!

First, a so-so picture of me (and the sash!) at Crismat, where I do research. Crystallography and Materials Science: Cris + Mat = CRISMAT. Not my best picture, but they can't all be gems. This weekend I went to the Fete de la Science (science festival) in Caen. It's hosted by Relais d'Sciences, and it has booths set up by  grad students, researchers, and science enthusiasts from a variety of labs and local organizations. 

As you can see, it was held a large warehouse and there were plenty of people. Since it wasn't on any bus routes, the organizers got a local tour boat to taxi people from the dock downtown to the exhibit hall a little ways down the canal, free of charge. They also struck a deal with a food truck who parked themselves right in front of the building to sell delicious sausages on bagettes, aka hotdogs. 

One of the best chemistry exhibits was this one where kids could come up and do an extraction. You had your choice of a few different things, but the most popular choice was banana.

These people didn't have a lot of visitors (math booths usually don't), but I personally liked their set up because people so often turn to snowflakes to demonstrate fractals in nature. It was nice to see someone use something living.

The archaeologists were a very popular booth, but these two little boys decided the dismantling the "dinosaur skeleton" would be more fun than putting it together.

These jelly fish were actually part of the Titanic exhibit, but I like jelly fish so I took their picture even though the booth really wasn't about them.

One of the most popular groups, and I think one of the most well done, was actually a group of statisticians. I never heard what they were modeling, but their model involved a complex marble set up which they used to demonstrate the difference between the experimental results (with the marbles) and the simulated results done on the computer. {In case you're wondering, the difference is that the computer ran thousands more simulations than they did experiments.} The kids loved watching the marbles go down the shoots, and the adults learned a little about statistics and the importance of having a large sample size.

The event was definitely geared towards the kiddos, but I loved it all the same. They had a great variety of fields and the turn out seemed good. I wish every city had a Science festival! Can you imagine what that could be like in a big city like Atlanta? Forget DragonCon (or whatever it's called), let's have ScienceCon.


  1. I think your wish has already been granted. There's supposed to be a science festival in Atlanta during March of 2014. Eight days and 30 locations celebrating nerd-dom =)