Wonderfest and the Bay Area Science Festival

Dear friend of Wonderfest,
For twelve years, Wonderfest produced the annual Bay Area Festival of Science. Then, in 2011, Wonderfest became the Bay Area BEACON of Science, producing science events year-round. Also in 2011, UCSF’s Science & Health Education Partnership began to produce the Bay Area Science Festival (BASF), thus preserving the annual science festival idea.
BASF 2012 kicks off in two weeks. It runs for ten days, Oct.26 – Nov.4, and Wonderfest is a BIG part of the Festival.  Of the 23 formal BASF Partner organizations, Wonderfest is the youngest, the smallest, and (arguably) the most BASF-involved: we are producing four activities! Each of these is intriguing, and, unlike many BASF events, each is FREE:
1) Does a Scientific Approach to Cooking Kill the Joy? is a classic Wonderfest dialogue between author Harold McGee (On Food & Cooking: The Science & Lore of the Kitchen) and professor Richard Zare (Stanford Chemistry Department).  It takes place at 7:30 PM on Saturday, October 27, at Stanford’s Braun Auditorium (in the Mudd chemistry building).  Braun seats nearly 300, but NOVA ScienceNOW is co-promoting this event with its upcoming Can I Eat That? premier, so expect a crowd.  Why not guarantee a seat by arriving a little early and snacking on complimentary cheese and grapes?
Physics Circus

2) Wonderfest – Physics Circus takes place at the biggest BASF venue. This so-called Discovery Days event happens at AT&T Park on Saturday, November 3. Celebrated physics wizard Zeke Kossover and I will offer demonstrations and hands-on activities from 11 AM to 4 PM using homemade equipment and the finest of physics gizmos from PASCO Scientific.

3) When World’s Collide, also on November 3 (the event, not the collision!), is jointly presented by Wonderfest and the Mt. Tamalpais Astronomy Program. It starts with a lecture under the stars in Mt. Tam’s Mountain Theater by NASA planetologist Kevin Zahnle, and will conclude with naked-eye stargazing and complimentary deep-sky observing through the big telescopes of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers.


4) ICE, an Incredible Community Experiment is the most original Wonderfest contribution to BASF 2012, and it runs all festival long. ICE is a do-it-yourself, community-wide experiment that tests the seemingly absurd claim (made by Aristotle, among others) that hot water freezes faster than cold water. This simple, eye-opening, Bay-Area-wide experiment may end up being the BASF event that best promotes the understanding and appreciation of science.  Please do try the experiment yourself, and then submit your results for comparison with thousands of others at BASF.

The Bay Area Science Festival is a fantastic display of local science popularization efforts. Please check out the full Festival schedule, and mark you calendar accordingly. I hope I see you at some of Wonderfest’s intriguing BASF events.

Wondrous regards,

Tucker Hiatt, Executive Director

P.S.  To get more involved in Wonderfest activities, please consider becoming an Ambassador of Wonder.  This volunteer position comes with a fancy badge, a Wonderfest polo shirt, and a host of interesting opportunities.  The first such opportunity takes place on Nov. 3 at AT&T Park during our Wonderfest – Physics Circus.  We need volunteers to represent Wonderfest by greeting the public, helping with physics demonstrations, and selling Wonderfest goodies.  To become an Ambassador, please just drop me a message.