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2012 Meet the Scientists at AAAS Family Science Days! (Archive)




Visit Family Science Days during the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Browse interactive tabletop exhibits, learn about cool science jobs, and have your questions answered by experts convened by AAAS! This FREE event is open to all, but organized especially for students in grade levels 6 to 12.

All Family Science Days events will take place on Saturday and Sunday, 18-19 February at the Vancouver Convention Centre, West Building, Exhibit Hall B1 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

This community science showcase—featuring hands-on demonstrations and other family and kid-friendly activities—shines a spotlight on a broad range of educators working to promote an interest in science among the general public.

Free Science Fun

At Family Science Days, you will be able to:

  • Create an earthquake
  • Touch live sea creatures
  • Learn about alien planets and distant stars
  • See the invisible- from the weather to electricity to DNA
  • Launch your own rockets
  • Meet cool scientists
  • And much, much more!

Students across Canada are submitting art inspired by science to the 2012 National Science Art Exhibition, taking place at Family Science Days. Learn more about the show and how to submit artwork.


Schedule of Stage Shows

Download event schedule (PDF)

Saturday, February 18


11:30 a.m.
Living and Working on the International Space Station
Chris Hadfield, Astronaut, Canadian Space Agency
12:00 p.m.
The Real Science of Alien Worlds
Jaymie Matthews, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia
12:30 p.m.
Colour of Fire: Stars and Light
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
1:00 p.m.
Science on Your Dining Table
Nitsara Karoonuthaisiri, Microarray Laboratory Director, National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Thailand
1:30 p.m.
Science Surprises
Science World British Columbia
2:00 p.m.
Indigenous Mathematics
Edward Doolittle, Department Head and Associate Professor of Mathematics, Interdisciplinary Programs, First Nations University of Canada, Regina
2:30 p.m.
The Alphabet in You! Looking at Your DNA
Jennifer Gardy, Genome Research Laboratory Head, BC Centre for Disease Control
Presented by Genome BC
3:00 p.m.
Monitoring Our National Parks
Philip Lee, Ecologist, Western and Northern Service Centre, Parks Canada
3:30 p.m.
It’s Fun Being on Cloud 9
How the Weather Works
4:00 p.m.
Flying Through the Clouds: Our Changing Climate
Kimberly Prather, Professor of Chemistry, University of California, San Diego
Sunday, February 19
11:30 a.m.
Earthquakes Happen Here, Too
Natural Resources Canada
12:00 p.m.
Global Fisheries: Sustaining People and Oceans
Rashid Sumaila, Director and Professor, Fisheries Economic Research Unit, University of British Columbia
12:30 p.m.
Colour of Fire: Stars and Light
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
1:00 p.m.
Brain Network: More than the Sum of Its Parts
Daniel Colón-Ramos, Assistant Professor of Cell Biology, Yale School of Medicine
1:30 p.m.
Science Surprises
Science World British Columbia
2:00 p.m.
Enormous Feats of Nature’s Nano-Machines
Nancy Forde, Assistant Professor of Physics, Simon Fraser University
2:30 p.m.
Science in Action
Simon Fraser University
3:00 p.m.
Killer Whales: Addicted to Learning
Kathy Heise, Research Associate, Cetacean Research Lab, Vancouver Aquarium
3:30 p.m.
Who Wants to Be a Mathematician
American Mathematical Society
4:00 p.m.
Kinetic City

* This schedule is subject to change.


A special thank you to our sponsors:







Exhibitors at Family Science Days

Download exhibitors (PDF)

AAAS Kinetic City
Kinetic City is a fun, web-based series of science clubs and other resources produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Children learn standards-based science through art, writing, and physical education challenges, and hands-on and on-line activities.

American Society of Plant Biologists
Try out a bumper crop of hands-on activities with research and education experts from the American Society of Plant Biologists. Root around in fun plant science resources that link important basics of biology to the clothing, medicines, and materials we all use every day. Learn how plants can help grow a future full of healthy food, quality fibers, and efficient fuels. Dig in and plant a Lilliputian garden necklace to take along for more plant experimentation at home.

Canadian Circumpolar Institute/TELUS World of Science Edmonton
The Canadian Circumpolar Institute (CCI) at the University of Alberta promotes research, education, and training related to the boreal and circumpolar regions (Arctic and Antarctica). The core activities of the CCI is in facilitating, developing, and supporting interdisciplinary circumpolar research and education programs across all faculties, as well as community engagement. The TELUS World of Science Edmonton is a primary external science and technology resource to the formal education systems in Alberta. It fosters a positive science and technology culture that inspires people to learn about, and contribute to, science and technology advances that strengthen themselves and their community.

Canadian Geoscience Education Network
The Canadian Geoscience Education Network (CGEN) promotes Earth Science education and public awareness through development of hands-on outreach activities that increase public understanding of Earth Science issues such as climate change, resources, natural hazards, the oceans and Earth’s history. We promote Earth Science teaching in schools through EdGEO teacher workshops. We host an Earth Science Careers website, Geoscape posters, What on Earth magazine, and Friends of Canadian Geoheritage. CGEN members are involved with projects such as International Year of Planet Earth book, 4 Billion Years and Counting, and more regional events including the BC Year of Science.

Canadian Space Agency
Established in 1989, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is committed to promoting the peaceful use and development of space, to advancing the knowledge of space through science and to ensuring that space science and technology provide social and economic benefits for Canadians. Learn more about us by visiting our booth.

Genome BC
Genome British Columbia is a catalyst for the life sciences cluster on Canada's West Coast, and manages a cumulative portfolio of over $450M in technology platforms and research projects. Working with governments, academia, and industry across sectors such as forestry, fisheries, agriculture, environment, bioenergy, mining, and human health, the goal of the organization is to generate social and economic benefits for British Columbia and Canada. The Genome BC Foundation was established to support the enhancement of life sciences education in the province.

High Touch—Science Made Fun
High Touch—Science Made Fun offers hands-on science opportunities to children ages 3 and up. Everyone becomes a "scientist," experimenting and discovering as concepts are brought to life.
How the Weather Works
How the Weather Works is a company dedicated to providing high-quality educational weather services to teachers and students from pre-school through adulthood. As a part of our ongoing booth activities, participants will have a chance to play with raindrops and discover some of their many "cool" properties. They will also learn about different cloud types, how clouds get their names, and how clouds stay floating in the sky.

H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
More than a tourist attraction, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is a non-profit community resource that provides a unique learning experience for all. Visitors can learn about space and the night sky through planetarium shows, live demonstrations, and an interactive exhibit gallery. Next to the Space Centre is the Gordon MacMillan Southam Observatory, open on Friday and Saturday nights.

Let’s Talk Science Outreach
Let's Talk Science Outreach is a national charitable organization dedicated to improving science literacy in Canada through innovative educational programs, research, and advocacy. Let's Talk Science Outreach is a national initiative operating at 33 campuses across Canada that pairs postsecondary science students with educators. The goal of Let's Talk Science Outreach is to show that science is interesting and relevant while promoting critical-thinking and life-long, culturally appropriate learning among youth. Our team strives to create an interest in science by designing and delivering exciting, hands-on activities to classrooms and community groups, including rural and First Nations communities throughout Canada.

Natural Resources Canada
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) seeks to enhance the responsible development and use of Canada's natural resources and the competitiveness of Canada's natural resources products. We are an established leader in science and technology in the fields of energy, forests, and minerals and metals and use our expertise in earth sciences to build and maintain an up-to-date knowledge base of our landmass. NRCan develops policies and programs that enhance the contribution of the natural resources sector to the economy and improve the quality of life for all Canadians. We conduct innovative science in facilities across Canada to generate ideas and transfer technologies.

NRC-Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
NRC-Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics is Canada's gateway to the stars. In addition to operating the government's observatories and a national astronomy data centre, we develop advanced scientific instruments for astronomical observatories and industrial partners—bringing out of this world technology back down to Earth.

Ocean Networks Canada Observatory
The Ocean Networks Canada Observatory, comprising VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada cabled networks, supports transformative coastal to deep ocean research and technology. It enables real-time interactive experiments, focused on ocean health, ecosystems, resources, natural hazards, and marine conservation. It also promotes and supports the translation of the knowledge gained from the research to achieve benefits for Canada in the areas of public policy, commercial opportunity, and public education and engagement. The Observatory is a national facility led by the University of Victoria for a pan-Canadian consortium of universities and partners.

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions
We’ve all heard about global warming but how many of us understand the climate science behind it? Find out the answers by trying out a new online product called Climate Insights 101. This series of short courses and YouTube videos created by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) use animations and interactive fun to teach “Climate Science Basics.” Lessons are available on CO2 and the greenhouse effect, climate change and Mother Nature’s influence, observable changes, and an introduction to climate modeling. PICS is a collaboration of BC’s four research-intensive universities hosted and led by University of Victoria.

Parks Canada
On behalf of the people of Canada, Parks Canada protects and presents nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage and fosters public understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment in ways that ensure their ecological and commemorative integrity for present and future generations.

Science AL!VE
Science AL!VE is a not-for-profit organization based at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC. Our mandate is to encourage, inspire, and expose youth to the many fields of science, engineering, and technology through hands-on and interactive activities, regardless of gender, culture, or financial background. We offer classroom and on-campus workshops, summer camps, year-round girls clubs, and co-ed clubs and many community outreach programs. Science AL!VE is also a proud member of Actua, a national organization that reaches 225,000 youth annually.

Science World British Columbia
Science World British Columbia is a non-profit organization which engages British Columbians in science and inspires future science and technology leadership throughout our province., the official Government of Canada portal for science and technology information, is a centralized resource that provides a single entry point to what is important and cutting edge across government S&T. The site offers free resources in formats that suit the needs of diverse audiences and are organized in a way that encourages learning by Canadians of all ages.

Science in Action at SFU
Science in Action at Simon Fraser University (SIA@SFU) is an interdisciplinary science outreach program offering free, customized science immersion events for school groups from grades K-12. These events take place primarily on the SFU campus. Student participants have the opportunity to carry out hands-on experiments designed to stimulate interest in science. It enriches the science curriculum offered in schools, allows students to see the important role that women play in science, and provides support to teachers to follow up on the experience in their own classrooms. Annual attendance currently exceeds 5,000 students, plus hundreds of parents, teachers, and community groups.

Stanley Park Ecology Society
The Stanley Park Ecology Society promotes awareness of and respect for the natural world and plays a leadership role in the stewardship of Stanley Park through collaborative initiatives in education, research, and conservation. Come visit the Stanley Park Ecology Society booth to interact with incredible animal specimens, including Nibbles the Beaver and more, and test your nature knowledge with interactive ecology games, such as matching the feet to the animal, identifying birds by their songs, and playing Harry the Heron!

TRIUMF/ UBC Physics & Astronomy
The University of British Columbia Department of Physics & Astronomy is a partner with TRIUMF, Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics. As one of the world's leading subatomic physics laboratories, TRIUMF brings together dedicated physicists and interdisciplinary talent, sophisticated technical resources, and commercial partners in a way that has established the laboratory as a global model of success. The advances ensuing from TRIUMF's research will enhance the health and quality of life of millions of Canadians and spur the imaginations of our children. Many UBC physicists and students conduct research at TRIUMF, located south of the UBC campus.

UBC Biodiversity Collections: Beaty Biodiversity Museum & UBC Botanical Garden
In the museum, view Canada's largest blue whale skeleton exhibit, explore 20,000 square feet of exhibits, and participate in tours and daily activities. Among the treasures are the third-largest fish collection in the nation and fossils, shells, insects, fungi, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and plants from around British Columbia and the world. The Garden is home to a collection of 12,000 plants representing approximately 8,000 taxa from temperate regions around the world. Be sure to experience nature high above the forest floor with a guided tour on the Greenheart Canopy Walkway.

UBC Life Sciences Institute
Life Sciences Institute (LSI) at University of British Columbia is an innovative, interdisciplinary research institute focused on the fundamental biological processes of life. Researchers seek to uncover the underlying mechanisms of cells by advancing understanding of disease processes, identifying potential therapeutic targets, and developing ways to remove toxins and pathogens from the environment. The LSI is a superb training environment offering many interdisciplinary research opportunities in science and medicine research labs. Trainees gain hands-on experience in a broad range of world-class research labs, using state-of-the-art technology, and are equipped with skills that can be used in health, environment, and related fields in the global workplace.

Vancouver Aquarium
The Vancouver Aquarium is a global leader in connecting people to our natural world, and a self-supporting, non-profit association dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life through display and interpretation, research, and direct action.

Vancouver Maritime Museum
We are Canada's principal maritime museum on the Pacific, located in the heart of Canada's greatest ports at the gateway to the Pacific Rim. For over 50 years, we have been Pacific Canada's premier link to maritime history, art, culture, industry, and technology.