News Release

San Diego Science Festival Celebrates The Science Of You In March 2009

San Diego, CA, November 10, 2008 -- What would the world’s largest game of Operation look like?  Did you know that red wine not only goes well with steak, but also has anti-aging properties? Are you curious about the science behind Harry Potter’s magic? Do you have what it takes to live green? How does chocolate prevent heart disease? If you had the chance to meet Albert Einstein or Galileo, what would you ask them? How does a baseball pitcher throw a knuckleball, a pitch with no movement, to a helpless batter?  Want to see the machines researchers are using to help prepare for the next big earthquake?

San Diego Science Festival
These and other intriguing questions will be answered at the inaugural San Diego Science Festival (SDSF), planned as one of the largest multicultural, multigenerational, multidisciplinary celebrations of science ever seen on the West Coast. The festival will descend on San Diego with more than 500 activities across the county in the month of March. From the science of earthquakes to the physics of skateboarding, the San Diego Science Festival promises to make science accessible, interactive and fun, highlighting the impact of science and innovation on our lives.

The grand finale will be the SDSF Expo in Balboa Park on Saturday, April 4, 2009. This free expo features hands-on science for everyone, from the smallest child to even the most established scientist. Expo-goers can learn the latest ways to conserve precious water resources one drop at a time or discover how the cars of tomorrow will resemble blenders as they mulch vegetable oil into fuel, plus there will be a ton of interactive activities, comedians and stage shows to captivate and excite any aspiring scientist.

The San Diego Science Festival is partnering with more than 125 collaborators – leading businesses and organizations in the community that wish to offer their guidance, financial support and time to help teach the scientific leaders of tomorrow. Collaborators include: LegoLand California; the San Diego Public Library; the University of California, San Diego; San Diego State University (SDSU); the Girl Scouts; and Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, to name a few. Also involved are all area major colleges and universities, research institutes, major school districts, school science clubs, professional science societies, Balboa Park cultural institutions, informal science educators and centers, various military and community organizations, science outreach programs and cross-border science institutions. For a full list, visit

Inspired by international science festivals that currently draw crowds in the hundreds of thousands, the goal of the San Diego Science Festival is to increase community awareness of science and inspire our nation’s youth to consider entering science-related careers. At the same time, the Festival will unite our community, inspire educational dialogue within participating families, and showcase the amazing science and innovation taking place in San Diego. A fitting location, San Diego is on the forefront of scientific research and development and is home to many of top scientific corporations.

Designed as a multifaceted, multicultural event modeled on art, movie and music festivals, the 2009 San Diego Science Festival will feature:

  • Science Month, March 2009
    For the entire month of March, companies and organizations will be hosting evening and weekend science-related programs across San Diego. The San Diego Science Festival will also host fieldtrips including the San Diego Science Alliance’s High Tech Fair, a field trip where over 50 of San Diego’s leading technology companies will mesmerize middle and high school students with captivating science exhibitions.  SDSU will partner with SciFest Africa in an event that will feature science without borders – all attendees will be able to communicate in real-time with their peers in South Africa via the latest in modern technology. In addition, some of San Diego’s premier research and educational institutions such as General Atomics; NuVasive, Inc.; Genzyme; Johnson & Johnson; Lockheed Martin; QUALCOMM; Illumina; Biogen Idec; Sharp Memorial Hospital; High Tech High and UC San Diego will offer open houses and science days.
  • The Science of You Expo Day, April 4, 2009
    The San Diego Science Festival culminates on Saturday, April 4 in a celebration of science exploration and discovery. Expo-goers can participate in workshops, behind-the-scenes tours, talks, performances and film screenings. Many of the events are interactive and geared to kids and their families. There will also be stage shows where families can witness the scientific comic stylings of Brian Malow and listen to Alan Boss, author of “The Crowded Universe.” Adult-centered events such as “The Physics of Golf” will demonstrate how knowledge of velocity, momentum and force can make better golfers. There will also be the cars of tomorrow which will run on air, achieve an equivalent of 100 miles per gallon and seat six passengers.
    The “Nifty Fifty,” sponsored by the Invitrogen Foundation, started as 50 of San Diego’s top men and women scientists. Today, the program has grown to over 85 top scientists who will tour schools around the county to inspire students and build momentum for the Festival.
  • Lunch with a Laureate
    “Lunch with a Laureate” is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have an informal lunch with a Nobel Laureate. The San Diego Science Festival is bringing seven Nobel Prize winners to San Diego high schools and community colleges for lunchtime discussions. Participants can talk to local Nobel Prize winners and learn about the world from science professionals.

Teachers will have opportunities to obtain UCSD Extension credit hours during the Festival for volunteering at many of the events. The SDSF is committed to bettering educational opportunities across the science disciplines. Continuing Education Units (CEU) can be earned at events such as LegoLand Teacher Training Day and other opportunities for teachers.

  • SDSF Social Network

MySDscience, the official SDSF social network, is a virtual coffee shop for scientists and science enthusiasts. 

The site hosts discussions, blogs and user groups to spark ideas and nurture the interest and support of the local scientific community. Members can also inquire about science-related jobs or to meet new friends with similar scientific interests. On, web visitors have an opportunity to ask specific questions of a scientist or to enter the general dialogue of the local research community.

Serial entrepreneur Larry Bock joins Jeremy Babendure, director of BioBridge – a hands-on science education initiative at UC San Diego – to take the lead in organizing the Festival in collaboration with the San Diego Science Alliance, Connect, BIOCOM, N.D.I.A. and other key organizations. The BioBridge program was founded by Babendure and UC San Diego’s recent Nobel Prize winner and faculty member, Roger Tsien. Many of San Diego’s top school districts have also partnered with the Festival such as San Diego Unified School District, Poway Unified School District, Oceanside School District, San Dieguito Union High School District, Grossmont Union High School District, and Sweetwater Union High School District.

“UC San Diego is proud to be a major collaborator in the San Diego Science Festival,” said Marye Anne Fox, chancellor of UC San Diego and a world-renowned chemist. “This important event is a great way to show our local community that science and technology are essential for our county and nation to thrive in the new global economy.  The Festival will also demonstrate that a basic understanding of science is critical in making day-to-day decisions.”

“The San Diego Science Festival is just the type of public/private partnership that is necessary to supplement the education of our youth and get them interested in careers in the sciences,” said Randy Ward, San Diego County superintendent of schools.  “We are excited to be working with the Festival organizers.”

Part of a proven and time-tested international network of science festivals, the San Diego Science Festival has developed strategic partnerships with both the highly successful East Coast Cambridge Science Festival—a joint effort among a number of leading institutions including MIT and Harvard—and long-running science festivals in England and Australia.

The advisory board of the San Diego Science Festival includes nine Nobel Laureates as well as chief technology officers from many multinational firms and world-renowned translational scientists and educational leaders. 

The San Diego Science Festival is made possible by our generous corporate sponsors and individual donors:  Larry and Diane Bock; Agilent Technologies Foundation; Alexandria Real Estate Equities; Inc.; Legler Benbough Foundation; Biogen Idec Foundation; Farrell Family Foundation; Genentech; Gen-Probe Incorporated; Illumina, Inc.; Invitrogen Foundation; Lockheed Martin Corporation; QUALCOMM Incorporated; Applied Molecular Evolution, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company; Avalon Ventures; BioBridge; Celgene; Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation; Nanosys & Cenco Physics; Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc.; Oceans and Beyond Educational Foundation (Kimmich Family); Think Blue; WuXi PharmaTech; Accelrys, Inc.; Amgen Inc.; BIOCOM Institute; General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation; Merck Research Laboratories; Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Howard C. Birndorf, Nanogen, Inc.; Cooley Godward Kronish LLP; Lux Capital; NuVasive, Inc.; Prometheus Therapeutics & Diagnostics; ScholarNexus; SEQUENOM; UC San Diego Extension; K&L Gates; and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Sponsorships are still available.

For more information about the 2009 San Diego Science Festival, including schedule details, corporate sponsorship and individual giving opportunities, frequently asked questions and comments from science community leaders, please visit


Media Contacts

Daniel Kane
Jacobs School of Engineering