Maine Science Festival

Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 9:00am

Various Venues in Bangor
Bangor, ME 04401

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The Maine Science Festival (MSF) is an all-ages celebration of Maine science, including  engineering, innovation  and technology, in a festival atmosphere.

As the first and only science festival in Maine, the Maine Science Festival is a celebration of the national and world leading science by the Mainers who do it. We shine a spotlight on the science, engineering, technology and innovation happening in Maine every day.  

The MSF encourages attendees to question the world around them, and seeks to inspire not only the next generation of scientists and engineers, but also facilitate grass roots scientific thinking at the citizen level. With the help of our sponsors and presenters, the MSF works to showcase the remarkable work happening in Maine daily.  

Our primary event is our five-day festival in March, with all events except the headliner free of charge thanks to our sponsors. We have more than 70 + activities and events (forums, talks, exhibits, films, hands-on) for all ages, held in different locations around Bangor including the Cross Insurance Center. The MSF is set up to ensure that all Mainers have the opportunity to attend and learn about science in a unique and innovative way. By doing this, we allow festival-goers to get inspired by the many different types of science, technology, engineering and research that is happening in Maine on a daily basis.  


9:00am - 4:00pm: Exploration Stations Engage-Examine-Experiment 

Roll-up your sleeves and learn through various hands-on activities from scientists and practitioners around the state. Make sure to stop in and visit each activity, and see how science is everywhere! Recommended audience: all ages 

Location: Cross Center Ballroom, Cross Insurance Center- 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

9:00am - 4:00pm: Immersive Environments 

Are you interested in virtual reality? Have you always wanted to try on a headset and experience immersive environments? Now is your chance! Join the students and staff from the Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction Laboratory (University of Maine) at their interactive VR Exhibit! There will be several demonstrations for folks of all ages! Recommended audience: all ages 

Location: Meeting Rooms A&B, Cross Insurance Center - 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

9:30am - 10:30am: Crustaceans in Maine: a new look 

As soon as someone mentions lobster, an image of the Maine coast seems to appear before your eyes. Mention green crabs and an invasive species wreaking havoc on the Maine coast may appear. But there are other ways to think about both lobsters and green crabs, and at this session, you’ll hear from Maine researchers who are looking at these crustaceans in a totally new way. Recommended audience: high school and up 

Location: Meeting Room D, Cross Insurance Center - 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

9:30am - 11:30am: Science in the Field – instrument petting zoo 

Come and check out this exhibit of field equipment used by University of Maine faculty and students to measure a variety of natural phenomena. Equipment may include ground(ice)-penetrating radar, high-end GPS units, lidar, ice drills, fish traps, sediment corers, and similar gear. Students and faculty who use the equipment will be present to demonstrate and explain how this equipment is used. They will also bring examples of data output and impact of studies that used the equipment. Recommended audience: all ages 

Location: Meeting Room 4, Cross Insurance Center - 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

10:00am - 3:00pm: Climate Conversations 

Scientists have been aware of, and tracking, the impact of climate change since 1938. However, even though the science is long-settled regarding the existence and potential consequences of climate change, the “general public” remains mostly unable to discuss and address the vast impact that the climate crisis is having on the earth in general and Maine in particular. Even when a non-scientist recognizes and understands that climate change is happening, there is rarely (if ever) anything beyond that recognition. There has not been an ongoing dialogue where a large community of people across ages, expertise, political leanings, and educational backgrounds are addressing what is happening in their communities due to climate change. The Maine Science Festival, in collaboration with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, is hosting Climate Conversations, an opportunity for Mainers to have a true dialogue about climate change in Maine. 

Climate Conversations is modeled after the intimacy of StoryCorps with a specific focus on building connections between people about climate change in Maine. Because conversations about climate change have been so difficult for the public to have, we will have a facilitator who will encourage participants to answer the following questions: 

-What are you noticing?
-Who is impacted?
-What is the logical future for this?
-What future would you rather see? 

Climate Conversations will be set up as a small studio and be recorded (audio only). A facilitator will be on hand to help participants. Recommended audience: all ages 

Location: Meeting Rooms 5&6, Cross Insurance Center - 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

10:00am - 11:00am: Science of Sleep 

Join Thomas Rajan MD, lead physician, Northern Light Sleep Diagnostics, and learn about the science of sleep. Sleep is one of the main things we do each day. The average child spends 42% of his or her life asleep. Dr. Rajan will address topics and issues of sleep affecting youth, like: 

-How much sleep is needed
-The cost of sleep deprivation
-Habits to help your child/children sleep better
-How sleep really works 

An educational session for parents. Recommended audience: parents, childcare providers 

Location: Main Street Gallery, Maine Discovery Museum - 74 Main Street, Bangor ME 

10:00am - 3:00pm: Maine Invention Convention 

The Maine Invention Convention (a program of the Maine Discovery Museum) is a statewide competition that promotes innovative problem solving and inventing by Maine middle school students.Students work with their peers and teachers to identify and solve problems by using the Innovation Engineering process. At this event, students from each participating school compete for the top invention awards. Recommended audience: all ages 

Location:  Prefunction Area, Cross Insurance Center - 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

10:00am-5:00pm: Climate Change Art 

Climate Change Art encompasses paintings and prints created by Jill Pelto between 2014-present. Her environmental art began with field paintings created while conducting science research in locations such as Washington State and Antarctica. These experiences in art and science inspired her to find ways to communicate important environmental changes with an interdisciplinary approach. Jill’s artwork since 2015 has incorporated a wide range of graphical data, which paired with her visuals, can share these stories in new ways. Recommended audience: all ages 

Location: Main Street Gallery, Maine Discovery Museum - 74 Main Street, Bangor ME  

10:30am - 11:30am: Climate change and ocean resources: How can a changing climate impact Maine’s economically important ocean resources? 

The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of the world’s oceans. During this session, the presenters will explain how the changing climate can impact the oceans, and will discuss some of the sea creatures who are economically important to Maine (mussels, oysters, lobsters, and seaweed) and how they rely on healthy oceans to survive. Recommended audience: high school and up 

Location: Meeting Rooms 1&2, Cross Insurance Center - 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

11:00am - 12:00pm: Radical Reactions 

Are you ready for some kooky, crazy chemistry? Explore the difference between physical and chemical change in our Radical Reactions Show! Let us impress kids with our over-the-top demonstrations! We will release a genie from a bottle, and spew massive columns of foam with the use of a catalyst.  Presented by Mad Science of Maine

Audience limited to ~100; first come-first served. Recommended audience: families (kids ages 3-10) 

Location: Lecture Hall, Bangor Public Library - 145 Harlow Street, Bangor ME 

11:00am - 12:00pm: Understanding Addiction 

Maine, along with many other states, has been deeply impacted by the opioid crisis. In this session, you’ll hear from practitioners who are working to advance our understanding of addiction and how best to address Maine’s addiction crisis. Recommended audience: high school and up 

Location: Meeting Room C, Cross Insurance Center - 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

11:00am - 4:00pm: NISE net presents: Earth, Space, and Universe: The science of our home world and beyond! 

Stop by the Maine Discovery Museum to explore Heliophysics, Earth Science , Planetary Science, and Astrophysics at fun, hands-on science stations and mini labs created by the NISE network in collaboration with NASA. Engineering is everywhere, on Earth and in space: try your hand at building your own water testing device, discover asteroid mining, investigate clouds, make beautiful Nebula spin art! Lot’s of hands-on fun, take home ideas and materials. Recommended audience:  families with children ages 4-14 

Location: Maine Discovery Museum - 74 Main Street, Bangor ME 

11:30am - 12:30pm: Euclid in the Vernacular: Geometry as the Pathway to all Mathematics 

Euclid’s famed work on geometry, was probably composed in Alexandria, Egypt, about 300 BCE. It would dominate mathematics and logical thought in the western world well into the 19th century. It likely has more reprinted editions that any other book in history (well, after the Bible). The session will begin with an overview of the study and teaching of mathematics, and will then turn to Isaac Barrow’s influential eighteenth-century English translation of Euclid’s foundational work. Recommended audience: high school and up 

Location: Meeting Room 3, Cross Insurance Center - 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

12:00pm - 1:00pm: Maine Climate Council 

In 2019, Governor Janet Mills signed into law legislation setting greenhouse gas reduction targets of 45% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% below by 2050. In addition, the law created the Maine Climate Council, charged with delivering an updated Maine Climate Action Plan to the Legislature by December 2020, with updates every four years thereafter. In the fall of 2019, the Maine Climate Council commenced work on this ambitious and yet critical work to assure a vibrant future for Maine’s communities, economy, and environment. 

The Maine Climate Council consists of a broad range of representation across Maine government and society. In support of the work of the Maine Climate Council a Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and six working groups were established and are actively engaged in work to meet the goals of the legislation encompassing mitigation and adaptation. 

This session will offer attendees an opportunity to learn about the Maine Climate Council and to ask questions. The work of the Maine Climate Council represents the critical state-wide framework by which Maine is responding to the accelerating climate challenge. Recommended audience: high school and up 

Location: Meeting Room D, Cross Insurance Center - 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

12:30pm - 1:00pm: MSF Films: Student Film Competition 

Join us for a public screening of the 2020 MSF film contest top finishers, and an unveiling of the winners! Recommended audience: all ages 

Location: Cross Insurance Center - 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

1:00pm - 2:00pm: Science Goes to the Dogs 

Dogs have been companions to humans for at least 14,000 years, and bring a wealth of abilities to the relationship. In this session, we’ll learn about some of the science behind training dogs for police work, data collection and conservation practices, and what some humans are doing to help dogs live healthy and happier lives. Recommended audience: high school and up 

Location: Meeting Rooms 1&2, Cross Insurance Center - 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

1:30pm - 2:30pm: This is What an Economist Looks Like 

Economics has a diversity problem and a perception problem. It is a common belief that economics is primarily concerned with money and not with people. Because of this, many talented people diverse interests from diverse backgrounds do not even consider studying economics. In this way, economics’ perception problem contributes to its diversity problem. 

The truth is, economists come from all walks of life and study an incredible diversity of topics. Not just competition, but cooperation. Not just consumption but preservation. In this forum, a range of economists will present five-minute, narrative-driven talks on why they became economists and how their research is helping real people make tough decisions. Recommended audience: high school and up 

Location: Meeting Room 3, Cross Insurance Center - 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

2:00pm - 3:00pm: The Sinking of the Titanic… It’s Not What You Think 

A root cause analysis may sound like an unpleasant way to spend an afternoon, but it’s actually a critical tool being used throughout companies and research organizations.  In this interactive session, you will see how this tool is used at one of Maine’s most scientifically-focused companies, and determine for yourself the real reason for the sinking of the Titanic. Recommended audience: high school and up 

Location: Meeting Room C, Cross Insurance Center - 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

3:00pm - 4:00pm: From Maine to the Stars 

Maine companies and researchers have been involved with space exploration and research for many decades. At this session, you’ll hear from three different Maine companies that are at the forefront of exploring this latest frontier. Recommended audience: high school and up 

Location: Meeting Rooms 1&2, Cross Insurance Center - 515 Main Street, Bangor ME 

4:30pm - 8:00pm: Science Board Gaming 

What do science, math, innovation, and board games have in common? A lot, actually! Come and enjoy some drop-in gaming at Fork & Spoon (short games) and Maine Discovery Museum (long games), hosted by the SnowCon gaming convention crew. From resource management to agriculture to space travel, SnowCon regulars will be available to teach gamers of all ages how to play a curated selection of games to celebrate the Maine Science Festival! Recommended audience: all ages 

Location: Fork & Spoon, 76 Main Street - Maine Discovery Museum, 74 Main Street, Bangor ME 

5:15pm: Safety Net – Talkback 

Unpack the issues at the heart of this provocative new work, and learn about the work being done in Maine to address addiction. Join the discussion! 

Location: Penobscot Theatre Company, Bangor Opera House - 131 Main Street, Bangor ME 

7:00pm: Safety Net – Pre-show session 

Penobscot Theatre Company and the Maine Science Festival are hosting pre-show talks about Safety Net’s major themes: addiction, treatment, community, first responders, and the research happening in these areas. Each session will have a different set of speakers. This session is 45 minutes long, enabling attendees to get to the Opera House in time for the 7pm show. Recommended audience: high school and up 

Location: 51A Main Street, Bangor ME 

3:00pm and 8:00pm:Penobscot Theatre presents Safety Net

by Daryl Lisa Fazio 

Chris Dove is the first female fire captain in a small Alabama town. That town is at war with opioids and Chris is facing it head-on with her heart-out. Her spitfire-of-a-mother tries to conjure stability with bundt cakes and Bible verses, but when Chris’ childhood friend drifts back into their lives, each woman finds herself at a tipping point between what is safe and what saves. In partnership with the Maine Science Festival, this brand new play is provocative and timely. Starring Julie Arnold Lisnet and directed by Tricia Hobbs (Wait Until Dark, Fun Home), Penoscot Theatre Company is proud to present the 2nd production of this work! Recommended audience: middle school and up

Location: Penobscot Theatre Company - 131 Main Street, Bangor ME 

Tickets:  $28-40/adult, $15-20/student (up to age 25, with student ID). 

This event listing provided for the Bangor community events calendar. Community events are not associated with or sponsored by AARP, but may be of interest to you. If you have an event to share, let us know!

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