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Meet the Scientists at Family Science Days! (2013 Archive)


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16-17 February 2013
11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Hynes Convention Center
Exhibit Hall D
Boston, MA

Find directions by car and by public transportation.

Meet the Scientists at AAAS Family Science Days!
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.

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:

  • Dig for artifacts
  • Paint with bacteria
  • Trick your brain
  • Explore nanotechnology in everyday objects
  • Tour the universe
  • Meet cool scientists
  • And much, much more!

Want more science? Register for the scientific sessions at the AAAS Annual Meeting.



 Stay up-to-date with the latest news about Family Science Days by following us on Twitter!

Free Pre-registration

Pre-register by clicking on the Family Science Days section on the Registration website. Pre-registration is not required.

Same Day Registration

You can also register for free at the Hynes Convention Center when you arrive for Family Science Days to receive your pass.

Organized By





If you would like to learn more about Family Science Days, please contact here.

Schedule of Stage Shows
Saturday, February 16

Saturday, February 16
12:00 pm Using Nature to Grow Batteries and Other Energy Materials
Angela Belcher, W.M. Keck Professor of Energy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
12:30 pm Science Magic!
Museum of Science
1:30 pm Understanding Mars and Latest Space Missions
Clay Center Observatory
2:00 pm Speech and Song: Why I Became a Scientist 
Erich Jarvis, Associate Professor of Neurobiology, Duke University
2:30 pm Chemistry Magic
Boston College
3:00 pm Clocking the Fastest Animals
Sheila Patek, Associate Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
3:30 pm Experiencing Our Changing Climate
Climate Change Initiative at University of Massachusetts, Lowell
4:00 pm Who Wants to Be a Mathematician
American Mathematical Society
Sunday, February 17
11:30 am The Human Experience of Space Flight
Michael Barratt, NASA Astronaut
12:00 pm The Life of a Fossil: A Tale of Discovery
Jeremy DeSilva, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Boston University
12:30 pm Science Magic!
Museum of Science
1:00 pm Using Cool Nanomaterials for Hot Technologies
Baratunde Cola, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
1:30 pm Understanding Mars and Latest Space Missions
Clay Center Observatory
2:00 pm Electronic Temporary Tattoos
Todd Coleman, Associate Professor of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego
2:30 pm Science is Fun: A Beautiful Burst of Color Through Chemistry
Raytheon MathMovesU
3:00 pm Super Batteries and an Unplugged World
Sanjeev Mukerjee, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Northeastern University
3:30 pm It’s Fun Being on Cloud 9
How the Weather Works
4:00 pm Kinetic City 

* This schedule is subject to change.


Exhibitors at Family Science Days
AAAS Kinetic City

Use your cell phone to explore the world around you with the amazing new Active Explorer phone app and website! Developed by AAAS with support from Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative, Active Explorer lets educators create “Quests” that kids join on their smartphones. They collect images, video, audio, notes, and sketches on the Quest topic and upload them to their Active Explorer web account. Then they log in and use what they collected to create fun “SmartWork” comics, posters, ebooks, and slide shows to share with their friends and teachers.

AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes for Excellence in Science Books

The AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes for Excellence in Science Books celebrate outstanding science writing and illustration for children and young adults. The prizes are managed by the AAAS review journal, Science Books & Films (SB&F). Stop by and meet the 2013 prize winning authors and illustrators and try your hand at writing and illustrating science stories!

Aaniiih Nakoda College

Aaniiih Nakoda College is a tribally controlled community college located on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in north-central Montana. The college was founded in 1984 by the Fort Belknap Indian Community Council, which serves as the governing body of the Aaniiih nin (White Clay People or Gros Ventre) and Nakoda (Assiniboine) tribes of the Fort Belknap reservation. Aaniiih Nakoda College serves approximately 250 students each semester and offers 14 associate degree and certificate programs. Ninety-five percent of students are American Indians.

American Chemical Society: Northeastern Section and Division of Small Chemical Businesses

The American Chemical Society is the world’s largest scientific society with over 164,000 members. The Northeastern Section (NESACS) has 7,400 members from New Hampshire, northern Massachusetts, Boston, western suburbs and southeastern Massachusetts. Representatives from NESACS and Boston area scientific entrepreneurs from the Small Chemical Businesses Division will be presenting chemistry outreach activities that correspond to the National Chemistry Week theme – Nanotechnology: the smallest BIG idea in science. Audience-appropriate activities from the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network that have been scientist and peer reviewed have been selected for inclusion in this program.

American Meteorological Society

In the summer of 2010, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) embarked on a program to educate preK-12 students in the greater Boston area in the atmospheric and oceanic sciences. The program, called “School Talks Organized by Research Meteorologists” (STORM), was our initial foray into providing local students the opportunity for an AMS scientist to discuss weather/climate at a level appropriate for their class, conduct simple weather experiments, and answer students’ questions on weather, climate, and careers in the sciences. For this exhibit, the STORM team will be presenting a game called “Which Weather Where.”

American Society of Plant Biologists

Dig in to plant science! 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 things we all use every day. Learn how plants can help grow a future full of healthy food, quality fibers, and efficient fuels.

Archaeological Institute of America

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is North America’s oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archaeology. The Institute is a nonprofit group founded in 1879 and chartered by the United States Congress in 1906. Today, the AIA has nearly 250,000 members belonging to more than 100 Local Societies in the United States, Canada, and overseas. The AIA exists to promote archaeological inquiry and public understanding of the material record of the human past. The institute is committed to preserving the world’s archaeological resources and cultural heritage for the benefit of people in the present and future.

Beyond Benign

Beyond Benign is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting green chemistry education through curriculum development, educator trainings, and outreach activities for K-12 students and community members. We believe the concepts of green chemistry are integral knowledge for all future scientists and educated citizens as we work towards a more sustainable society. Our latest initiative is the Green Chemistry Commitment, through which we are working at the college level towards the commitment of chemistry departments to teaching and integrating into their curricula a more sustainable kind of chemistry.

Boston Children’s Hospital – Division of Developmental Medicine

The Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital is dedicated to furthering our understanding of brain and cognitive development in typically developing infants and children, as well as children diagnosed with or at risk for various developmental disorders. In gaining a better understanding of these processes, our goal is to contribute to the healthy growth and development of our children. We invite you to stop by to learn more about our ongoing research initiatives and try some of our games for kids of all ages: a giant brain puzzle, face-processing computer game, and other fun brain teasers!

Boston College

Boston College is one of the nation’s best and most selective universities, with U.S. News & World Report ranking Boston College 31st among national universities, and Forbes ranking it 26th in its 2012 America's Best Colleges listing. Boston College confers more than 4,000 degrees annually in more than 50 fields of study through eight schools and colleges. Faculty members are committed to both teaching and research having earned nearly $60 million in research grants in the last year alone. We are particularly proud of encouraging as many students as possible to become involved in science research.

Brandeis University

Members of several science departments will engage visitors in hands-on-activities related to ongoing research at Brandeis University.

Cambridge Science Festival

The Cambridge Science Festival is a celebration showcasing the leading edge in science, technology, engineering and math. A multifaceted, multicultural event every spring, the Cambridge Science Festival makes science accessible, interactive and fun! Check out activities, workshops, talks, demonstrations, and more for all audiences – 10 days, 100+ events throughout the Cambridge-Boston area. Visit for more information.

Clark University

Clark University is a small, liberal-arts-based research university. Founded in 1887, Clark is committed to scholarship and inquiry that addresses social and human imperatives on a global basis. Clark’s urban location and tradition of community partnerships place faculty and students in an ideal position to exemplify the University’s motto, "Challenge Convention. Change Our World." Undergraduates are offered a broad and deep liberal education that enables them to address the complex scientific, social and economic challenges facing our world through hands-on research, in-depth exploration, and practical problem solving. Clark’s focused areas of research excellence are backed by strong Ph.D. and master’s degree programs that engage graduate students from around the world, generating findings and insights that directly benefit the communities it serves.

Clay Center Observatory

Have you ever looked at the rings of Saturn, a carbon star, or a distant galaxy through a telescope? The Clay Center Observatory in Brookline, operated by Dexter and Southfield Schools, invites you to join educational public events hosted throughout the year, including Tuesday Telescope Nights, Astronomy Day, Envirofest, Amateur Radio Field Day, and more. Stop by our booth to touch a 70-pound meteorite and learn more about our outreach programs.

Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network is a citizen science program where backyard volunteers install a rain gauge and submit their precipitation data to the website. From there, the data are used by professionals including the National Weather Service. This booth will highlight the equipment used and will engage the audience with demonstrations of how rain, hail, and snow are measured and how the data are used by meteorologists.


Genspace is New York’s community biolab. It's a not-for-profit facility that offers anyone the chance to learn biotechnology in an immersive, hands-on environment. We offer classes, talks and workshops for adults and students in subjects like synthetic biology, genomics, and DIY neuroscience. We mentor high school and college students competing in DNA science-based contests like the Urban Barcode Project and iGEM. At Genspace, you can even become a lab member and use our facilities and equipment to pursue your own genetic engineering or personal genomics project. At our booth we will be demonstrating Genomikon, a modular system that allows you to build a custom genetically engineered biocircuit and transfer it into bacteria, all in about an hour using no lab equipment. We'll also be doing some cool painting with fluorescent bacteria and extracting DNA from strawberries.

Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments

Harvard University has been acquiring scientific instruments on a continuous basis for teaching and research since 1672. The Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, which was established in 1948 to preserve this apparatus as a resource for teaching and research in the history of science and technology, has become one of the three largest university collections of its kind in the world. Originally associated with the Harvard library system, the collection was placed under the stewardship of the Department of History of Science in 1987.

Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

Two great museums, one great mission: to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the natural world and the human place in it. The Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge is the public face of three research museums: the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Harvard University Herbaria, and the Mineralogical and Geological Museum. The Arnold Arboretum in Boston is a free public landscape with one of the most comprehensive and best documented collections of temperate woody plants. Both share research of scientists across the University and offer programs for people of all ages to spark curiosity and a spirit of discovery.

How the Weatherworks

How The Weatherworks (HTWW) is a recognized leader in helping both young and adult learners understand weather. HTWW provides online content material, offers in-school field trip programs, and leads teacher workshops focusing on weather and related disciplines. HTWW also spearheads a national summer weather camp program (mostly for middle and high school students). The HTWW principals have also published several books on extreme weather and weather experiments and more learning projects are underway.


Iridescent is a national, science education non-profit organization with a mission to use science, technology and engineering to develop persistent curiosity and to show that knowledge is empowering. Come visit us and try our hands-on activities, including Build A Bird, wind turbines, and honeycomb structures. Our exhibit will also have resources to help parents become better facilitators of their child’s education. Make building together a family hobby!

Mass Audubon

Join educators from Mass Audubon for an interactive and up-close look at the nature of Massachusetts. Explore a variety of activities that highlight some of the diverse life that can be found right outside your door.


Raytheon’s MathMovesU program is an initiative committed to increasing middle and elementary school students’ interest in math and science education by engaging them in hands-on, interactive activities. MathMovesU seeks to excite and motivate students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. The program features interactive learning programs – including the traveling interactive experience MathAlive!™ and Raytheon's Sum of all Thrills™ experience at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot – scholarships, sponsorships, and events.

MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences + MIT Kroll Lab

The MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences is one of about 20 centers in the country funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at NIH. At MIT, interdisciplinary teams conduct research studies to learn how the environment impacts human health. Much of the work is molecular, figuring out how the toxins actually damage our cells. The Center’s outreach group provides resources for public understanding. Visit the booth for “Understanding Air: Climate Change & Air Pollution," where LEGO bricks will be used to model the molecules in air.

MIT Museum

The mission of the MIT Museum is to engage the wider community with MIT’s science, technology, and other areas of scholarship in ways that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century. Join students and other members of our education team in exploring the many avenues of research at MIT and beyond!

MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center

At MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center researchers and students study fusion, a potentially endless source of energy. Fusion scientists work with plasma – the fourth state of matter – confining and heating it inside a doughnut-shaped device called a “tokamak.” Learn about this process and its challenges by playing a video game based on MIT’s tokamak, “Alcator C-Mod.”

MIT School of Engineering

The mission of MIT and its engineers is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas that will best serve the world in the 21st century. Join us to discover how we live out MIT’s motto – “mens et manus” (mind and hand) – with exhibits, demos, and activities from some of the Institute’s biggest departments and labs. Researchers from Materials Science, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Mechanical Engineering, D-Lab, the Lincoln Laboratory, and others, will show how engineering has shaped the world we live in – and give you some glimpses of where we might be headed.

MIT Sea Grant

The ocean is the last and largest unexplored place on Earth – less than 5% of it has been explored. Teams of scientists and engineers at MIT Sea Grant are designing vehicles to investigate our aquatic frontier and we invite you to come join the effort! Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pilot your own unmanned underwater vehicle? Come dive into the world of underwater robotics and try your hand at driving our remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Sea Perch. Learn how you can design and build your own ROV at home or in your classroom.

Museum of Science

One of the world’s largest science centers and Boston’s most attended cultural institution, the Museum introduces about 1.5 million visitors a year to science, technology, engineering, and math via dynamic programs and hundreds of interactive exhibits. Founded in 1830, the Museum was first to embrace all the sciences under one roof. Highlights include the Thomson Theater of Electricity, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Mugar Omni Theater, Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, 3-D Digital Cinema, and Butterfly Garden. The Museum’s “Science Is an Activity” exhibit plan has been awarded many NSF grants and influenced science centers worldwide.


MyTutorWorks (MTW), powered by Mathworks Tutoring, provides global online tutoring services in almost any subject area or standardized test. Capitalizing on Mathworks Tutoring’s strong focus on having students learn and understand the underlying concepts of any subject in a face-to-face setting, MTW aims to provide similar services to students (grade 3 to adult) using specially designed whiteboards and a user-friendly interface. Student families will be able to select the tutor of their choice and the day of the week and time(s) best suited for tutoring. Learning-centric videos, articles, and other materials can be found online.


The Dynamic Planet is a digital video globe that allows users to view and explore dynamic digital images of the Earth, other planets, and space. The system has a touch screen interface designed to encourage users to examine the wide-ranging data sets of Earth and its space environment.


NOAA is a federal science agency providing free information about weather, climate, oceans, coasts, satellites, data, and fisheries. Every day, NOAA’s science touches the lives of all Americans. NOAA Education’s mission is to advance environmental literacy and promote a diverse workforce.

Northeastern University – Center for STEM Education

The Center for STEM Education at Northeastern University will host a biomechanics activity and a wind turbine activity! In the biomechanics activity, families will have an opportunity to explore the muscles and bones that make our hands and arms work and test your own grip strength with our ‘hand dynamometers.’ In the wind turbine activity, you will have a chance to understand how wind energy has evolved since Ancient Egypt. Families will then have an opportunity to design their own wind turbine blades and test them out to see how fast they can make the blades spin and how much weight they can lift up. Great for kids of all ages! Information about other local programs and offerings will also be available.

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University

Founded in 1866, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is one of the oldest museums in the world devoted to anthropology and houses one of the most comprehensive records of human cultural history in the Western Hemisphere. The Peabody Museum engages in ongoing anthropological discourse through exhibitions, workshops, symposia, and publications, allows faculty and students to draw upon the collections to enrich classes and research, and serves a wide public audience through educational programs. How do archaeologists know what they know? Come explore the science behind some of the ways archaeologists arrive at their conclusions!

Phycological Society of America

The Phycological Society of America (PSA) is a professional organization that promotes learning, research, application, and outreach related to algae. The algae are mostly photosynthetic, mostly aquatic, and mostly microscopic in size, though some, like giant brown kelps, are tree-sized and form underwater forests. At this exhibit, PSA will demonstrate an activity in which the public can make an attractive and interesting preparation of alginate, a carbohydrate extracted from brown algae that has many industrial uses, and provide bookmarks that display the many ecological roles of algae, industrial applications, and evolutionary importance.

Science Club for Girls

Science Club for Girls provides girls in grades K-12 in eastern Massachusetts, especially those from underrepresented groups, with free, hands-on afterschool programs that connect them with mentor-scientists through explorations in science, technology, and engineering. Science Club for Girls participants, teen staff, and volunteers will guide visitors in various hands-on explorations throughout the day. Examples of rotating topics and activities include: Archaeology and Paleontology – reconstructing a “city” through artifacts and making plaster imprints to simulate fossils; live and video observation of Zebrafish embryonic development and anatomy; and Light Magic – kaleidoscopes and light ray projections.

Science from Scientists

Science from Scientists is a Boston-based non-profit that strives to improve science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) awareness in local middle school and late elementary students; our materials target 4th–8th grade students. Science from Scientists works with over 3500 students annually, including partnerships with approximately two dozen scools, to instruct children through year-long, module-based science teaching, field trips, science days, and science fair support. SFS supports its students to competitiveness in STEM fields through engaging instruction and enrichment from practicing scientists, in compliance with state frameworks and the Common Core standards while complementing the work of classroom teachers.

Science, Naturally!

Science, Naturally! creates materials that bridge the gap between the blackboard and the blacktop. Our products are hailed by educators, parents, librarians, and kids as a fabulous way to connect math and science to real life. We use both fiction and non-fiction strategies to entertain and educate. Come to our booth to try your hand at our “One Minute Mysteries” or see if you know the “101 Things Everyone Should Know About Science.” Our award-winning books, ebooks and apps, for kids 8-14, have been featured on NPR. Our titles have been awarded the “NSTA Recommends” designation.

Semitic Museum at Harvard

The Semitic Museum at Harvard University explores ancient Near Eastern life. The museum has a full scale replica of an Iron Age Israelite home on display, as well as life size casts of famous Mesopotamian monuments, authentic mummy sarcophagi, and ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets over 3,000 years old. The Semitic Museum is free and open to the public.

Society of Women Engineers Boston

The Society of Women Engineers is a nonprofit educational and service organization that empowers women to succeed and advance in the field of engineering and to be recognized for their life-changing contributions as engineers and leaders. The objectives for the society are to: inform young women, their parents, counselors, and the general public of the qualifications and achievements of women engineers and the opportunities open to them; assist women in readying themselves for a return to active work after temporary retirement; serve as a center of information on women in engineering; and encourage women engineers to attain high levels of education and professional achievement.

Southern New England Girls Collaborative Project

The Southern New England Girls Collaborative Project, based upon a model developed by the National Girls Collaborative Project, brings together organizations throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island that are committed to informing and motivating girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Different members of the collaborative and our mini-grant recipients will feature activities from their recent programs, ranging from green chemistry to basketball and technology to paper airplanes and computer simulations.


The Educational Gaming Environments group (EdGE) at TERC presents the new “Leveling Up” science learning games, Impulse and Quantum Spectre. Come to the TERC booth to play the games and see for yourself how fun learning science can be! EdGE at TERC is a research design and development team that is investigating the possibilities – and challenging the assumptions – of game-based learning environments. The team is designing compelling game experiences that gamers like to play, where the game mechanics are embedded in fundamental science education concepts.

The Scripps Research Institute – Scripps Florida

If you’ve ever tried putting your right hand into your left glove, you’ve noticed that your hands are mirror images of each other and not identical. This is called chirality. Just like your hands, molecules can also be chiral. Discover how mirror image molecules can have very different properties. Take a sniff of limonene, the molecule that gives lemons their distinctive odor, then smell its mirror image… you might be surprised! Visitors can play with molecular model kits and construct a variety of molecules, then learn why chirality is important to Scripps researchers who are developing drugs to treat diseases.

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

From its early days as a land-grant agricultural college, UMass Amherst has expanded and diversified, but keeps its focus on science and scholarship in the public interest. The UMass STEM Education Institute, Materials Research Science and Engineering Center on Polymers, and Engineering Diversity Programs, along with partner Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, will provide demonstrations and hands-on activities to highlight the beauty and scientific principles to be found in everyday materials. Come by and explore nanoparticles and sunscreen, polymer crystallization in a rubber band, new ways to play with color, and materials to create your own art from science-created images.

University of Massachusetts, Lowell – Climate Change Initiative

The UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative spans all six colleges and schools of UMass Lowell and includes more than 24 faculty members from 13 departments, including such diverse areas as Art, Political Science, Management, Engineering, Atmospheric Sciences, Education, and Community Health and Sustainability. Its mission is to bring faculty, students, and communities together, across traditional disciplinary silos, in order to address climate change through education, research, and developing solutions to transition to a more sustainable and resilient society.


The Education Department at WGBH, Boston’s PBS station, produces, distributes, and promotes media resources that support teaching and learning at all ages and grade levels. Many of WGBH’s programs, including Design Squad Nation, PEEP and the Big Wide Word, and NOVA, focus on science, technology, engineering, and math education. In association with the shows, WGBH offers free downloadable activities, online workshops, and interactive opportunities for educators, parents, and kids.

WorldWide Telescope Ambassadors/Harvard University

Explore our incredible cosmos – investigate your favorite planets, view exploding stars, colliding galaxies and more, as seen through the world's most powerful telescopes – all on your home computer. WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a stunningly beautiful astronomy visualization environment developed by Microsoft Research. WWT makes the world’s store of astronomical imagery available for free to anyone, putting the images in context in a “night sky” view. A three-dimensional model of the solar system and cosmos empowers users to visualize relationships between the Earth, sun, and moon and beyond. Try WWT with our guidance at our hands-on demo station.

Zoo New England

Zoo New England is the non-profit organization that operates Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Massachusetts. Its mission is to inspire people to protect and sustain the natural world for future generations by creating fun and engaging experiences that integrate wildlife and conservation programs, research, and education. Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo are both century-old institutions that are unique and vital components of the Commonwealth’s cultural landscape. They educate and inspire hundreds of thousands of visitors from throughout Massachusetts as well as tourists from around the globe. Both zoos are accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

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