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USciences at the 2015 Philadelphia Science Festival

By Brian Kirschner

University of the Sciences is excited to be a core collaborator in the 2015 Philadelphia Science Festival, an innovative, nine-day celebration that explores the many ways that science and technology touch our everyday lives. A citywide collaboration that runs April 24-May 2, the Festival unites 210 of the region’s most influential institutions, museums and cultural centers in a common goal.

We hope you will join us for some the exciting events listed below and explore the other 100-plus events available throughout the Festival. Presented by The Dow Chemical Company and organized by The Franklin Institute, the Festival brings science to restaurants, parks, breweries, libraries, museums and other neighborhood places! Details at

Check out the fun from 2014

USciences will have a presence at all of the below activities. Don't forget to mark your calendars and stop by.



Philadelphia Science Festival Kick-Off Party: 8-bit Night
Franklin Institute (21+ event)
7 to 10 p.m. Ticket Required

Kick-off the Festival at The Franklin Institute with a night devoted to classic video games! Enjoy 40-plus interactive activities in this opening night extravaganza and meet the organizations that bring the Festival to life. Discover the science behind the Oregon Trail, Frogger, and Dr. Mario, play Galaga in the Fels Planetarium, dissect an arcade machine, and enjoy music from your favorite video games! Be a pinball wizard, see dueling tesla coils, learn how to play music on your old Gameboy, and tap the official Yards Brewing Company’s Science Festival beer!


  • Dr. Matthew Farber, Department of Biological Sciences
    • Does nose grease collapse beer foam? Beer foam is important for consumer appeal, and it enhances organoleptic quality such as flavor and aroma. In this demonstration, the addition of dry ice to beer creates spectacular bubbles and foam. The large bubbles convey the idea of the liquid/air interface for a discussion of surface tension. A participant will then evaluate the effects of different liquids on the beer foam, including nose grease! An additional demonstration for how to properly clean glassware to optimize foam will follow.
  • Dr. Stacey Gorski, Department of Biological Sciences
    • Can you catch the flu from the flu vaccine? Learn how the influenza vaccine is manufactured and what is in a vaccine! We will use hands-on models to demonstrate the components of a vaccine and show you how it is impossible to 'catch the flu' from receiving the flu vaccine as a shot in the arm!
  • Dr. Paul Halpern, Department of Mathematics, Physics, & Statistics
    • Why did Einstein spend his final decades seeking a theory of everything? A look at the quest for a theory of everything, a single set of equations sought by Einstein and others that would unite the natural forces!


Discovery Day in Clark Park 
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. FREE! 

West Philadelphia has a lot of science to share! Meet local scientists and STEM students and experience the beauty of Clark Park. Participate in hands-on activities and hear about the great research happening all over University City!


  • Dr. Grace Farber and Ms. Catherine Purzycki, Department of Biological Sciences
    • What genes are you wearing? Families make bracelets using beads that represent their genotypes...using their phenotypes as a guide!
  • Dr. Salar Alsardary and Ms. Amy Kimchuk, Department of Mathematics, Physics, & Statistics
    • Math Games! Come out and try to solve two great mathematical puzzles. In the “Königsberg bridge problem” you have to figure out how to cross a bridge when given certain rules! In the “Instant Insanity Puzzle” you will use four giant cubes to create a puzzle with a specific pattern!
  • Dr. Lora Packel, Department of Physical Therapy
    • Can you beat this challenge? Students from the Department of Physical Therapy will offer physical activity advice for kids and adults who play soccer. They will also offer information regarding concussion avoidance, symptoms, and treatments.

Science Night at the Ballpark at the Phillies Game
Citizens Bank Park
Gates open at 5:05 p.m., Game time at 7:05 p.m. Ticket Required. Tickets are only $8 with discount code SCIENCE.

Root for the Phillies as they take on the Atlanta Braves! Watch the game under the lights as they shine on your favorite baseball stars and explore 12 sports-themed activities, where you can get in on the action on the main level of the first floor concourse! Collect stamps as you complete activities and use them to redeem for a Phillies and PSF giveaway!


  • Dr. David Logerstedt and Professor Shelley Lewis, Department of Physical Therapy
    • Can you beat this challenge? Students from the Department of Physical Therapy will examine throwing motion and speed


Fishtown Science Crawl
Frankford Hall (21+ event) at 2 to 5 p.m.
FREE to attend, $5.00 wristband for Happy Hour prices at all venues. 

Take pub hopping to a whole new level during the Fishtown Science Crawl! Enjoy great drink specials as you explore your favorite Fishtown spots and enjoy hands-on science activities from hactronics to squinking (painting with squid ink, obviously)!


  • Dr. Nicole Sunnen and Dr. Grace Farber, Department of Biological Sciences
    • The Dragon Illusion Learn the science behind various optical illusions while you cut, paste and assemble a tricky dragon to take home

Murder at the Mutter: Serial Killer
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia (16 and up)
2:30 to 6 p.m. Ticket Required

USciences faculty Jillian Fesolovich is taking part in this unique event. A body has been found in the Library during a gala event honoring renowned sixteenth century anatomist Andreas Vesalius. It seems like a horrible accident, but is it? Participants will work with investigators and forensic experts at different evidence stations to experience the science of criminal investigation and solve the mystery.
The afternoon includes two hours of programming (including some walking and standing) followed by a cocktail reception and light hors d'oeuvres. 


Educator Workshop: Teach Students Protein Synthesis Using a Hands-on Activity
University of the Sciences
4 to 5:30 p.m. FREE (Reservation Required) 

Educators are invited to workshops where they will learn new teaching techniques and activities!


  • Dr. Grace Farber, Department of Biological Sciences
    • Teach Students Protein Synthesis Using a Hands-on Activity Educators will learn how to run a hands-on activity, “The Bold Fold”, which teaches students transcription, translation, protein folding, and protein sorting while helping them make connections between cellular organelle function. Students create a protein model using laminated paper, wires, beads, and key rings. Middle school, high school, and college educators will be provided with the files, supply list, and instructions for performing this demonstration in your own classroom.


Neighborhood Science Afterschool: Haddington
Haddington Library (446 N 65th St.)
3:30 to 5:30 p.m. FREE!

Join the Philadelphia Science Festival at your neighborhood library after school for a celebration of science exploration! Scientists, engineers, and other experts will share their knowledge to provide FUN and FREE programs filled with exciting activities, animal encounters, family-friendly experiments, and hands-on demonstrations, for all to enjoy.


  • Dr. Fred Schaefer, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
    • How will it change? Participate in hands-on chemistry based activities!


Beer Lab
Yards Brewing Company (21+ event)
7 to 9 p.m . Ticket Required

Take a trip back to your high school science lab, but forgo the frog dissections. Instead, dust off those science skills for something a lot more desirable: beer! Take a scientific tour of the ingredients behind your favorite sudsy brews and don’t forget to record your observations in your lab manual! Best grade in the class gets some sweet prizes!


  • Dr. Matthew Farber, Department of Biological Sciences and Dr. Fred Schaefer, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry


Science Carnival on the Parkway
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. FREE!

Don’t miss the chance to GET NERDY on the Parkway with your friends, family, and science lovers from all over the region! It’s a jamboree of fun featuring more than 150 exhibitors offering family-friendly experiments, games, and a packed line-up of live entertainment. Gaze at the sun (safely!), meet zoo animals, explore the science of sports, interact with robots, try your hand at countless chemistry experiments, grab a bite from your favorite food trucks, and so much more!


  • Dr. Nicole Sunnen and Dr. Grace Farber, Department of Biology
    • Can you believe what you see? Try out one of three sensory activities including an optical illusion, olfactory (smell) test, and gustatory (taste) detection experiment! Learn the science behind the interaction of your senses, how previous experience can alter your perception, and how you detect stimuli in your environment!
  • Dr. Elia V. Eschenazi, Department of Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics in collaboration with Phoenixville High School
    • How Can A Laser Create a Circle of Light? Find out how a laser can create a circle of light, learn how to make a Magnus Glider and more as you join students from Phoenixville Area High School and the University of the Sciences in preparation for the 2015 International Young Physicists Tournament. Explore the wonders of physics by conducting amazing experiments!
  • Ms. Caterina Gallelli, Mayes College
    • How can I help the environment around me? Families can make planters out of recycled materials and plant a seed to take home and grow! Also, use a black light at this booth to see the organisms (including germs) that hang out on your hands!

About the Philadelphia Science Festival:

Established in 2011 as one of the first of its kind in the country, the Philadelphia Science Festival is a nine-day celebration of science and technology in everyday places – parks, restaurants, bars, libraries and museums. It asks Philadelphians to question the world around them and aims to inspire not only the next generation of scientists and engineers, but also create homegrown citizen scientists. More than 200 partners work together to produce the Festival, which runs April 24-May 2, and is presented by The Dow Chemical Company and organized by The Franklin Institute.

To learn more, visit or email us at or follow #GetNerdyPHL on social media.

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