Tuesday, February 15, 2011

International Public Science Events Conference, Science Festivals and Science Cafes

When I describe my philosophical stance I usually place a few adjectives together so that my self-label comes out something like, “a rational-scientific, secular humanist”. I often squeeze the term “pragmatic” in there, but rational-scientific holds a key place. The Greek idea of searching for a rational explanation to the natural phenomena is dear to my heart. DC is a good place for discussing the Scientific endeavor and I see that the there is a 2011 International Public Science Events Conference (IPSEC, Feb. 16-17) at the Convention Center as part of the pre-conference of the 2011 AAAS Annual Meeting. You can see a schedule of events (including a Tuesday evening 6:30 – 9:00 Evening science café at Clyde’s of Gallery Place: 707 7th Street, NW, Washington DC Can paleontology (help to) save the world?) at http://sciencefestivals.org/news/126.html
The plenary panel speakers for Wed, February 16 are:
  • Tracy Day, co-founder, World Science Festival
  • Kathy Sykes, co-director, Cheltenham Science Festival
  • Vittorio Bo, director, Genoa Science Festival
Thursday February 17 has:
  • Bruce Alberts, editor-in-chief, Science magazine
  • Sir Roland Jackson, chief executive, British Science Association
  • Dennis Wint, president and CEO, The Franklin Institute
Among the sponsors of IPSEC (besides AAAS and NSF) are Sciencecafes.org the Science and Festival Alliance folks - supporting the advancement of science festivals—extended celebrations of science, engineering, and technology that engage whole communities.

We are lucky in the DC area to have Science Cafes such as Café Scientifique Arlington run by the Ballston Science and Technology Alliance. Café Scientifique organizes events to make science more accessible and accountable by featuring speakers whose expertise spans the sciences and who can talk in plain English. Our free, local Café meetings are usually on the first Tuesday of each month at the Front Page in Arlington. Our next one is Tuesday, March 1, 2011, speaker to be announced - see www.arlingtonvirginiausa.com/ or contact Kaye Breen at ballstonscience@yahoo.com
Science festivals are also great events in this area with the National Mall drawing some large, inspiring celebrations of, as they say:
“ the fascinating world of science and technology that reach people where they live, work, and play. Festivals present science in unusual venues and innovative ways, making each celebration an incubator for new outreach formats.”

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