Philadelphia, PA, Monday, September 27, 2010 – Philadelphians far and wide will come together to explore the wondrous working of our world with the launch of the Philadelphia Science Festival (www.philasciencefestival.org) – a wide-ranging and ambitious celebration slated to run April 15 – 28, 2011. Hundreds of events will take place in Philadelphia, with the majority free to the public. Kicked off with a massive Science Carnival, and featuring a truly diverse series of events – from a school-wide science experiment for kids to a Phillies “Day of Science” at the baseball park to award-winning scientists in unexpected places – the Philadelphia Science Festival will be a truly collaborative event that highlights the incredible legacy and vibrant future of science in the region.
In an effort to raise awareness and engage its citizens in the science that makes this city great, Philadelphia’s museums, cultural institutions, universities, and corporations are joining forces to launch the Philadelphia Science Festival. A diverse list of organizations has stepped forward to participate and ensure that the Festival is a truly citywide event. Led by The Franklin Institute, the organizations so far include: The Academy of Natural Sciences, American Philosophical Society, Chemical Heritage Foundation, The City of Philadelphia, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum, Drexel University, The Free Library of Philadelphia, Independence Seaport Museum, La Salle University, Monell Chemical Senses Center, New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia University, Philadelphia Zoo, Please Touch Museum, The School District of Philadelphia, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, University of the Sciences, The Wagner Free Institute of Science, and The Wistar Institute.
Corporate support for the inaugural festival is underway, with The Dow Chemical Company as Presenting Sponsor. “The Dow Chemical Company is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor of the Philadelphia Science Festival,” said Jerome A. Peribere, President and CEO of Dow Advanced Materials, which is headquartered in Philadelphia. “We believe the journey from need to hope to discovery is driven by curiosity and guided by science. Science has always been a collaborative endeavor, and the Philadelphia Science Festival is a celebration of what is possible through collaboration and strong partnerships.”
“Since its founding, Philadelphia has been at the center of science and technology innovation,” said Mayor Michael Nutter. “The Philadelphia Science Festival is a wonderful celebration of the diversity of public and private science institutions and businesses in the Greater Philadelphia region, and the incredible discoveries, innovations, and work they do every day to make our world a better place. The City of Philadelphia is thrilled to participate in the inaugural Philadelphia Science Festival, and is anxious for it to continue for years to come.”
Programs and exhibitions will take place throughout the city’s many neighborhoods, fueled by the best scientific and educational resources the region has to offer—all geared towards making science interesting, relevant, and fun. Activities would include:
Science Carnival – the Festival will open with an outdoor carnival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on April 16, 2011. This celebration of science will be highlighted by hands-on interactive exhibits, science-themed performances and demonstrations, and family-oriented science entertainment. The Free Library of Philadelphia—a Science Festival partner organization—will host its annual Book Festival on the same day, making the Benjamin Franklin Parkway an unrivaled destination for family-friendly informal learning opportunities.
Neighborhood Science – Science outreach programs will take place in every neighborhood in Philadelphia over the course of the first week of the Science Festival. Through partnerships with each of the large science centers in the city and all partnering colleges and universities, programming will be placed throughout Philadelphia so that every city resident has an opportunity in his or her neighborhood to engage directly in a Philadelphia Science Festival event or activity. Highlights range from a kick-off Philadelphia school-wide science activity, to neighborhood visits from the “Zoo on Wheels” and The Franklin Institute’s “Traveling Science Show” to a Phillies “Science Night” game.
Science Conversations – Focusing on direct interactions between scientists and other residents, Science Conversations will feature lecture events, panel discussions, etc. from the city’s finest scientists, as well as science discussions from award-winning scientists in untraditional settings such as bars and recreation centers. For example, there will be a special Philadelphia Science Festival expansion of the successful Pub Science nights and Science Cafes held at various locations in the city, and a series of lunches with scientific luminaries daily throughout the Festival’s run.
“The Philadelphia region has long been considered the birthplace of innovation and continues to be the incubator of countless breakthroughs across scientific disciplines,” said Dr. Dennis M. Wint, president and CEO of The Franklin Institute. ―Yet, many Philadelphians—students and adults alike—don’t realize the significant science that surrounds them every day. The Philadelphia Science Festival presents all of us an opportunity to showcase and celebrate our city’s resources in the field with the hope of awakening an interest among Philadelphians and inspiring in them a passion for learning about science and technology.”
Over a two week period, the Festival will not only showcase the role that science plays in the city and region, but provide innovative opportunities to build community around science, engineering, and technology. These events will take place in Philadelphia’s branch libraries, community centers, museums, recreation centers, neighborhood gardens, bars and restaurants - and are aimed at bringing hands-on science to every city resident in a relevant and interesting way. The Philadelphia Science Festival also will be working closely with the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, inspired by the Kimmel Center, which takes place during the same time period, to ensure that Philadelphians have the opportunity to experience the intrinsic connections between science and the arts.
The Philadelphia Science Festival aims for the participation of every Philadelphian -- most especially students of all ages. Professional scientists, engineers, and technologists from every discipline are invited to volunteer throughout the program. K-12 teachers are integral partners—classroom curriculum and resources are in development to facilitate Festival involvement. The goal is for the Festival to offer something for everyone in hopes of sparking interest, meaning and involvement in science.
The Philadelphia Science Festival will culminate with the prestigious Franklin Institute Awards celebration on Thursday, April 28, 2011. Many past Franklin Institute Awards laureates will return to Philadelphia during the Festival, joining the 2011 laureates in a variety of public science festivities leading up to the final event.
The science festival idea has been slowly gaining ground across the nation as Americans recognize the need for science education reform in order to maintain international leadership in science, technology, and engineering. In 2009, the Science Festival Alliance received funding from the National Science Foundation to develop, implement, and evaluate the festival model as a strategy for informal science learning. The Science Festival Alliance partners—UC San Diego, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Museum, The Franklin Institute and UC San Francisco—were strategically selected to represent major U.S. educational entities on both coasts. As one of the four collaborating institutions, The Franklin Institute received a three-year grant of $550,000, with matching requirements, to develop the model for a sustainable science festival in Philadelphia.
For more information, visit www.philasciencefestival.org or call 215.448.2366.