Date September 17, 2018
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Brown scientists to partner on ‘Big Bang’ Science Fair at WaterFire

A Brown-sponsored WaterFire event on Saturday, Sept. 22, will celebrate science with art, music, talks, hands-on activities and more.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University will co-host a family-friendly celebration of science at WaterFire Providence on Saturday, Sept. 22. The Big Bang Science Fair will include hands-on science activities for kids and adults, science talks, art exhibits, musical performances and more.

“At Big Bang Science Fair, we want to share the wonders of science with the public and draw parallels between science, art and music as timeless expressions of human culture,” said Meenakshi Narain, a physics professor at Brown on one of the event’s co-organizers. “We hope to engage both scientists and non-scientists and kids and adults through interactive activities at the intersections of art and science.”

Science fair events kick off at 3 p.m. in Providence’s Market Square and in the Rhode Island School of Design auditorium at 7 Canal Walk. All events are free and open to the public. The complete lineup of events and time can be found on the WaterFire Providence website.

Among the speakers is S. James Gates Jr., a professor of physics at Brown and National Medal of Science winner. Gates will explore how mathematics not only helps us understand our universe, but also relates to art and music in surprising ways. Brown physicist Stephon Alexander, who is also an accomplished jazz musician, will perform a set of science-inspired jazz tunes with a quartet, God Particle (a nod to the tongue-in-cheek nickname of the recently discovered Higgs boson). Karla Kaun, an assistant professor of neuroscience, will talk about how drugs rewire the brain.

Micky Dolenz, science enthusiast and member of the band The Monkees, will discuss his love of science with author and FermiLab physicist Don Lincoln.

Hands-on activities include learning how to program a robot like BB-8 from the “Star Wars” films, a video game design workshop as well as neuroscience and chemistry demonstrations. At a workshop called “Cloud Chambers,” attendees will use detectors to discover the invisible particles that constantly surround up. Cloud Chambers is sponsored by the U.S. contingents of the CMS and ATLAS experiments, the two large-scale experiments happening at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

“In this time of rapid societal and environmental change, it is all the more urgent for the public to understand the importance of science in our everyday lives,” said Narain, who is chair of the collaboration board for the U.S. CMS. “Science helps us understand the problems in society, as well as suggests innovative solutions for the future. Through this event, we hope to broaden the public perspective of science in our world, highlight the diversity of scientific research, and encourage individuals to creatively engage in STEM fields.”

Brown University sponsors include the Offices of the President and Provost, the Science Center, the Department of Physics, the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, the Carney Institute for Brain Science, the Data Science Initiative, ICERM, the Ladd Observatory and the Department of Music.

Additional cosponsors include CS4RI, the U.S. CMS Collaboration, IEEE Superconductivity and Harvard University, with collaborating support of Bryant University, Citizens Bank, and CERN’s U.S. ATLAS experiment.