News Release

Celebrating Science: UC San Diego Organizes the 2010 Science Festival

San Diego, CA, March 15, 2009 -- The University of California, San Diego is lead organizer for the second annual San Diego Science Festival (, a week of community events designed to focus awareness on the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.   This year’s Festival will take place March 20-27, culminating in a Science EXPO Day at PETCO Park on Saturday, March 27. 

The Festival’s EXPO Day is planned to inspire San Diego’s youth to pursue science-oriented education and careers.  Parents and families are encouraged to attend, as are all members of the San Diego community.  With the theme of “Excite Your Mind,” EXPO events will include over 150 hands-on science exhibits for attendees of all ages, a Rubik’s Cube Speed Tournament involving 45 local school teams, a science-inspired art show and even the dissection of real brain specimens. Last year, over 50,000 people took part in the San Diego Science Festival EXPO Day activities alone. 

Science Festival
Those involved in the 2010 San Diego Science Festival include Honorable Jerry Sanders, Mayor of San Diego; Loren Thompson, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Education Advancement at UC San Diego; Merrilyn Datta, Global Leader, Innovation Management and Scientist at Life Technologies (lead sponsor); Marye Anne Fox, UC San Diego Chancellor; and Tom Garfinkel, San Diego Padres President and Chief Operating Officer.
In 2009, UC San Diego and its national partners were awarded a $3 million National Science Foundation grant to help fund year-round San Diego Science Festival informal education efforts for three years, as well as to start up similar initiatives around the nation.  As part of the university’s Festival involvement, a number of students, faculty and staff will be sharing their passion for science during EXPO Day.  UC San Diego will have more than 25 booths with demonstrations and activities to inform the public how science affects our everyday lives and welfare. 

“Such a diverse range of interactive exhibits offers something to motivate everyone who comes,” said Loren Thompson, assistant vice chancellor for Student Educational Advancement at UC San Diego and director of community outreach for the San Diego Science Festival.  “This is a unique, incredible opportunity for today’s students to get really excited about becoming tomorrow’s scientists, as well as for our San Diego  community to learn more about their region’s leading research university and all it contributes to scientific research.”    
Among the booths that UC San Diego will be hosting are:

  • Exploring the Science and Chemistry of What we Eat

Hosted by the university’s Socrates Fellows program, this is an opportunity for attendees to learn about the organic molecules that make up the aromas, flavors and colors of food and beverages.  An interactive booth, visitors can sample San Francisco sourdough bread as they learn about the microorganisms and chemistry that give this food its distinct flavor, or use a technique called column chromatography to predict what colors are in a particular flavor of Kool-Aid. 

  • Get Inside Your Head!  From Cells to Brains

Volunteers from the UC San Diego neurosciences department will be dissecting brain specimens to demonstrate the intricate structure of this complex organ.  Visitors will get a close look at brains from several species, including penguins, manta rays and humans.

  • What is Clinical Research?

Hosted by the Clinical and Translational Research Institute on campus, attendees will learn how scientific discoveries are made by participating in a mock clinical research study.  They will be divided into groups of “scientists” and “study subjects” as they simulate the research process.

  • UC San Diego’s San Diego Supercomputer Center’s 3D Fun Fest!

At the SDSC booth, visitors will experience 3D scientific visualizations with 3D stereo sound, just like in the movie Avatar.  Visitors can interact with complex 3D molecules, real-time earthquake data and human anatomy, as well as live 3D videos broadcasts from Cabrillo National Monument, local tide pools and other San Diego sites.  

  • Kelp Forests and You!

Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography will host an exhibit about the wonders of the kelp forest and the creatures that inhabit it.  Visitors will learn how we use kelp and algae in our daily lives, and why it is important to protect this special habitat.   

UC San Diego is collaborating with the leading businesses and organizations in the community to make this week of scientific celebration and education possible.  Together, UC San Diego and the community are helping to teach and inspire the next generation of scientific leaders.  For a full list of collaborators, visit

 Media Contact: Kristin Luciani, 858-822-3353,


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Judy Piercey
University Communications