URI Graduate School of Oceanography to host ‘Saturday Afternoon Science’ festival, June 26

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Tours of labs and Inner Space Center, science talks, hands-on demos

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – June 10, 2010 – The University of Rhode Island will host an afternoon of science fun featuring tours of the Inner Space Center and other research facilities, presentations about oceanographic research, demonstrations of scientific equipment, and much more on Saturday, June 26 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the URI Bay Campus in Narragansett.

The event is free and open to the public.

“Saturday Afternoon Science at the Bay Campus will provide the public with a brief glimpse at the important and exciting research that we do here, and give Rhode Islanders an opportunity to chat with scientists and engineers about our activities,” said Helen Czerski, a URI postdoctoral fellow and organizer of the event.

“Science research can often appear mysterious and complicated, so this event is intended to bring it out into the open and make it more accessible,” added David Farmer, dean of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. “We will be opening the doors to some of our wonderfully exciting facilities that few non-scientists ever get a chance to see.”

Among the many facilities that will be open to visitors will be the Inner Space Center, which will show live pictures of explorer Robert Ballard’s research expedition in the Black Sea; the nuclear science center, a nuclear reactor used for scientific research; the Cap’n Bert, a research ship that will display the marine life it catches during its weekly trawl in Narragansett Bay; the rock and core facility, where marine geologists study seafloor sediments; and the research aquarium where fish are raised for a wide variety of studies.

Six short presentations by oceanographers will be offered throughout the afternoon about exciting research topics, including “Monster Waves of the Deep” by David Farmer; “Thirty Days Amongst the Ice in the Bering Sea” by Ted Durbin; “Mysteries of Volcanic Ash” by Steven Carey; and “Secrets of Narragansett Bay” by Tatiana Rynearson.

In addition, scientists and graduate students will fill the quadrangle with demonstrations of scientific equipment and illustrations of their research. Visitors will be able to look into microscopes to observe Narragansett Bay’s tiniest creatures, learn how scientists use liquid nitrogen to measure the age of microfossils; and observe the release of a weather balloon to collect data on atmospheric ozone.

The center of operations for the festival will be the Nautilus Café, located at the ground level of the Ocean Science and Exploration Center at the entrance to the Bay Campus, where visitors can find maps and timetables of events for the afternoon.

For additional information about the event, visit http://www.gso.uri.edu/saturday-science or call Helen Czerski at 401-874-6506.