Pet a comet at Saturday’s Science Rendezvous

Making magic bubbles during last year's Science Rendezvous

How do you “pet” a comet? What’s the secret behind magic bubbles? Does a crater pool have a diving board?

This Saturday, science goes into the community as part of the fifth annual Science Rendezvous festival taking place on Markham’s Main Street. The event brings science out of the laboratory and into the street where young and not-so-young minds can learn about honey bees, DNA, space science and more.

Making magic bubbles during last year's Science RendezvousEach year, York University’s intrepid scientists bring their most imaginative demonstrations to the people. York has been an active participant in Science Rendezvous since it was launched in 2008. Saturday’s Science Rendezvous is part of a network of events on campuses and main streets across Ontario.

Making magic bubbles during last year’s Science Rendezvous

In collaboration with various partners, including libraries, science-based organizations and postsecondary institutions, Science Rendezvous seeks to celebrate and inspire kids of all ages to learn more about the important role of science in their everyday lives.

This year, the interactive event led by York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering will take place, in collaboration with the Town of Markham at the popular Main Street Markham Farmers market. The event promises to be a colourful carnival with lots of activities and experiments.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the Town of Markham to host Science Rendezvous 2012 at the Farmers Market on May 12,” said Paulina Karwowska-Desaulniers, research officer in the Faculty of Science & Engineering. “This event is an example of our commitment to get out into our community and tell people what we are actually doing in those labs and classrooms on York’s Keele campus. We want to show everyone just how much fun science really is and how it affects every part of daily life!”

Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti (second from the left) watches as York science students demonstrate how to make a magic bubbleMarkham Mayor Frank Scarpitti (second from the left) watches as York science students demonstrate how to make a magic bubble

There are activities for all ages from making magic bubbles to extracting DNA from fruit to walking on water and making plant batteries. Visitors will see how crystals form and make a geodesic dome. They will have an opportunity to learn about the important role that honeybees play in the garden. They will be able to look down a microscope to see sex in a dish (no parental guidance required!).

There will be a crater pool that demonstrates how craters are made. Kids can pet a comet and play “Tentacles” — an interactive real-time art installation that allows audience to “play” with each other through their mobile devices.

York University will also be present at the Yonge & Dundas Square location along with scientists from Ryerson University, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the University of Toronto.

The York-Markham event is part of a growing one-day festival held at schools, in malls and at cultural centres across Ontario to engage citizens in the discovery and wonder of science and research. Students, faculty and staff from York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering have participated in Science Rendezvous since the festival first launched.

In the first year, York focused on space science (see YFile, April 10, 2008). The following year, it focused on space, energy and stem cell research and incorporated Science Rendezvous into the York Community Festival (see YFile, May 4, 2009) celebrating the University’s 50th anniversary. For the last two year,York has been engaging with the local community and partnering with the Town of Markham on the event.

The fair is free and open to people of all ages. For more information, visit the Science Rendezvous website.