President Barack Obama’s call to action for Americans to “out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world” will be answered for the second year in a row as the Philadelphia Science Festival brings together the best scientific and educational resources the region has to offer. The Philadelphia region has long been the birthplace of innovation and continues to be the incubator of countless breakthroughs across the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM fields.
For 10 days, the 2012 Festival will showcase how vital science and technology are to everyday life with an ambitious range of programs designed to engage and intrigue. The inaugural Philadelphia Science Festival took place in April 2011 and brought together more than 120,000 to celebrate the region’s strength in STEM.
The science festival idea has been slowly gaining ground across the nation as Americans recognize the need for science education reform in order to maintain international leadership in science, technology, and engineering. In 2009, the Science Festival Alliance received funding from the National Science Foundation to develop, implement and evaluate the festival model as a strategy for informal science learning. The Science Festival Alliance partners — UC San Diego, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Museum, UC San Francisco and the Franklin Institute — were strategically selected to represent major U.S. educational entities on both coasts.
Many Philadelphians don’t realize the significant science that surrounds them, and this event aims to provide opportunities for all to positively engage with and build a community around science, engineering and technology by showcasing the role that each plays in the city and region. As a collaboration among organizations of varying size and mission, the Festival has become a citywide event, with programs and exhibitions taking place throughout the city’s many neighborhoods, fueled by the best scientific and educational resources the region has to offer — all geared toward making science interesting, relevant and fun.
The Philadelphia Science Festival runs from April 20 to 29. For a complete calendar of events, visit philasciencefest.org.