From a jellyfish meet-and-greet to a casual chat about the origins of the universe, organizers say there’s going to be something for everyone at the South Side Science Festival.
The event brings out hundreds of University of Chicago scientists who will take over the campus offering panels, experiments and demonstrations to fascinate the whole family.
Now in its second year, Christian Mitchell, University of Chicago vice president for civic engagement, said the festival is a way for the institution to better integrate itself into the community while also allowing people who have historically felt shut out of STEM careers to see themselves in the sciences.
“We named it the South Side Science Festival for a reason — because we want to make sure that folks from the South Side come. The University of Chicago has been here for many, many years, but we’re really trying to open our arms to get more folks to see themselves in this field, to see themselves as being welcome on campus and be able to get involved with free programs that the university offers year round,” Mitchell said. “We want to make sure that folks from the South Side can get into these careers because they are the careers of the future — biotech, life sciences, quantum physics. So when folks come, they can learn about internships that they can have in STEM, they can get connected to folks who are doing and practicing the work right now.”
The event is planned to appeal to all age and interest levels with scientist-led panels, live experiments and demonstrations.
“We want to reach the entire family. There will be panels for adults where we talk about things like the future of clean water, things like quantum and AI,” said Mitchell. “But it will also be a lot of really great things for kids from the elementary level all the way up.”
But above all, Mitchell said the festival is designed to be a fun way to spend a Saturday.
“We want you to come for the demos, but we want you to stay and get engaged,” he said. “I think the South Side Science Festival is a place where you can come and find your place in science through the University of Chicago.”
The South Side Science Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the University of Chicago Hyde Park Campus, 929 E 57th St. Admission is free.