UW-Madison: Science Expeditions opens doors to UW-Madison science

CONTACT: Tom Zinnen, 608-265-2420, [email protected]

MADISON – The 10th annual Science Expeditions will offer a bigger, better opportunity to learn about science and get to know the labs, museums and researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

On Saturday, April 14, the 2012 version of Science Expeditions, will open to the public more than 40 hands-on science exploration stations at two dozen different venues around campus – all connected to each other and free parking by a trolley that will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

That is a big step up from 2003, when Science Expeditions drew hundreds to see 20 exploration stations in one building.

“Last year, we had thousands of visitors who met and learned from the people who work here,” says Tom Zinnen, a Science Expeditions organizer and outreach specialist at UW-Madison’s Biotechnology Center. “It’s all about those people. I love going to science museums, but science museums are primarily about exhibits. The great thing about coming to campus is that you get to talk to the scientists.”

That’s a key opportunity for the public, which funds research at universities around the country with billions of tax dollars.

“The people we’re inviting to campus aren’t just visitors, they’re patrons,” Zinnen says. “We have a stake in them, they have a stake in us – even if they never set foot on campus; even if they’re never a prospective student.”

Those that do set foot on campus or Science Expeditions will have more to do and see than ever before.

The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St., will serve as a hub, providing tours and hosting up-close encounters ranging from live reptiles to the science of chocolate. A series of Science Spectaculars will showcase physics, chemistry, astronomy and ever-popular dinosaurs in buildings near the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Among Science Expeditions’ many new venues are:

– The newly refurbished Biochemical Sciences Building, 440 Henry Mall, will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Biochemistry Outreach Day, with tours of new facilities given by the scientists who work in them.

– Birge Hall, 430 Lincoln Drive, home to the Botany Department and Wisconsin State Herbarium, will let visitors see with the eyes of a botanist at its Plant Imaging Center from noon to 2 p.m., offer guided tours of the Botany Greenhouse every 45 minutes starting at 10 a.m., and send people away with plant seedlings for at-home experimentation.

– The Chazen Museum of Art, 750 University Ave., is planning a tour on the science of art conservation at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and another, “Bountiful Beauty: Fruit in Art,” at 1 and 2:15 p.m.

Also open for tours, presentations and other activities are Allen Centennial Gardens, UW Arboretum, the Botanical Gardens, Geology Museum, the Ingersoll Physics Museum in Chamberlin Hall, Chemistry Building, Madison Children’s Museum (where admission is charged), Genetics-Biotechnology Center Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, Microbial Sciences Building, the Stock Pavilion, D.C. Smith Greenhouse, Science House, the Zoological Museum, Steenbock Library, Babcock Hall Dairy Store, the Primate Center’s Learning Lobby, and the Dairy Cattle Center’s afternoon milking from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

For a full schedule and information on parking, bus routes and the circulating trolley, visit the Science Expeditions website at http://science.wisc.edu/events-science-expeditions.htm.