Festival for the minds

MiSci to hold Super Science Weekend, Dudley Observatory kicks off activities

At miSci’s Super Science Weekend all aspects of the local science community will be under one roof.

At miSci’s Super Science Weekend all aspects of the local science community will be under one roof.

— Some unique events on Saturday include Union College professor Jim Hedrick explaining how to talk to robots, Niskayuna High School students giving chemistry demonstrations, Empire State Aerosciences Museum offering flight simulations and the Dudley Observatory offering a solar viewing.

On Sunday, there will be a robot scrimmage between Niskayuna and Mohonasen high school students. On Monday, SI Group will present its popular bubble hoist demonstration, and Mr. Sly the Science Guy will have a presentation on energy and matter.

Cabot Creamery has also donated cheese to be used for a food science presentation.

“There is a lot of chemistry in food,” Sudduth said. “I think a lot people don’t realize how ubiquitous science is in our lives now.”

The festival will also feature Harry Ringermacher, who will be giving a lecture starting at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Dudley Observatory on discovering planets around other “suns.” There are around 3,000 candidate planets in the “Goldilocks zone” of their stars, and around three or four are considered “super-earths.” Ringermacher though will explain what makes our solar system rare.

Ringermacher retired last year from General Electric Global Research Center as a senior research physicist. He was project leader of the infrared imaging group, and he also worked with laser techniques and nuclear magnetic resonance for materials evaluation.

The “bread and butter” of miSci is families coming with children, Sudduth said, but seniors are also coming out to see what miSci has to offer.

“Parents and families are looking for things they can do with their children. And learning is lifelong, and I think a lot of people are still looking to learn things after they get out of school,” he said. “If you look at individual sciences, everybody has one they are interested in.”

Sudduth added learning more about science is a benefit for everyone.

“We don’t think people are going to make every child into a scientist or engineer,” he said, “but if you are familiar with it, you will be able to make better informed decisions.”

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