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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Biosphere 2 offers ‘Science Saturdays’

The Biosphere 2 will be holding a series of weekend events geared at providing visitors with a hands-on science experience.

The events, dubbed “”Science Saturdays,”” will be on a variety of scientific topics being researched at the Biosphere.

“”Our goal is to really try and get people who pass through the Biosphere to get involved with the science here,”” said Whitney Henderson, a research technician at the Biosphere 2. “”We want to not only raise public awareness about what goes on out here but to actively try and bridge the gap between our scientists and the public.””

Since the university took over control of Biosphere 2 in 2007, one of the main focuses of the site has been to increase public outreach and awareness of the science that occurs there. Matt Adamson, the senior program coordinator at Biosphere 2, says that “”Science Saturdays,”” as well as several other regular events, represent Biosphere 2’s dedication to that part of their mission.

“”One of the official mission statements for Biosphere 2 is to ‘increase the public’s scientific literacy,'”” Adamson said. “”It’s a really neat place to visit even if you’re not into science, and it’s definitely our goal to try and get people who may otherwise not be interested to come and experience what we have to offer.””

Both Henderson and Adamson estimated that half to three-quarters of Biosphere 2 visitors stop to observe the “”Science Saturdays”” events. The peak season in the spring involves about several hundred people.

“”Most everyone decides to stop by, even just to see what’s going on,”” Henderson said.

The next “”Science Saturdays”” event will feature the Physics Factory, a team of academics and scientists who host hands-on programs to demonstrate various physical forces at work. Other upcoming events in the series include presentations by the Fin Foundation, and a discussion on Sonoran Desert Discovery will round out the month of March.

The Biosphere 2 also offers a weekly scientific lecture series called “”Let’s Talk Science,”” which also takes place on Saturdays at noon.

“”Unlike the Science Saturdays, these are designed to be more a general audience lecture,”” Adamson said. “”But we encourage all of our speakers to make it as interactive as possible, and usually the crowd has a lot of questions for them.””

Presently, the lecture series is framed around the theme of “”extreme water,”” with each lecture featuring university faculty experts talking about hydrology, drought and other water-related topics.

“”Both the lecture series and the Science Saturday programs are a supplemental tour experience,”” Adamson said. “”We want anyone who comes here to have fun, to have those ‘Gee whiz’ moments and, most of all, experience some fantastic programs from an interdisciplinary scientific perspective.””

All “”Science Saturdays”” presentations are included in the cost of tour admission, which is $20 for individuals. The next program will be held March 13 with regular programs running until the end of the semester. The “”Let’s Talk Science”” lecture series will run weekly until April 3.

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