Science festival aims to educate, entertain

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | April 04, 2013

Image with caption: Dancing scientist Jeffrey Vinokur will appear at the Nebraska Science Festival.

Dancing scientist Jeffrey Vinokur will appear at the Nebraska Science Festival.

Maurice Godfrey, Ph.D., believes scientists need to get the word out.

"It's up to scientists to educate the public if they want to sustain support for science, for research," he said. "A scientist must be the provider of information."

That's one reason Dr. Godfrey is excited to be taking part in the first Nebraska Science Festival from April 12 to 14. Throughout the three-day event, students, teachers and families will explore the wonders of science through science- and technology-related activities held across the Omaha area, all with the goal of making science accessible, interactive, relevant and fun for kids and adults alike.

Dr. Godfrey's exhibit will be one of several featuring faculty, staff and members of the UNMC community.

Dr. Godfrey will be showcasing a method of extracting DNA from strawberries.

"It's almost always foolproof," he said with a laugh.

picture disc.
Maurice Godfrey, Ph.D.
More importantly, it's relatively quick, it's fun and it should be interesting to the general public, as well as teachers and students, Dr. Godfrey said.

"A working scientist ought to have a vested interest in making sure teachers are excited about science," he said. "If you make science interesting to the teachers, they'll make it interesting to their students."

Science celebrity Bill Nye is headlining the inaugural festival, of which UNMC is the presenting sponsor. Although his presentation at the Joslyn Museum's Witherspoon Hall is sold out, Nye is just one of many activities on tap for the event.

Festival programs and activities will take place throughout the weekend in the Omaha area with the majority of events being free to the public. Among the highlights:

  • A free public expo on April 13 at The Durham Museum will feature an array of family-friendly, interactive, hands-on science-related booths and presentations.

  • Dancing scientist Jeffrey Vinokur will combine science and dance into a high-energy performance on April 12 and 13 at The Durham Museum.

  • CAPOW, the University of Nebraska at Omaha's chemistry and physics show, will entertain children on April 12 and 13 at The Durham Museum.

  • Additional sites in and around Omaha will provide science-related activities during the Festival weekend.

For more information, including a complete list of participating sites and printable tickets to attend the weekend's free activities, visit: www.nescifest.com.