Earlier today there was a science component to the 100th anniversary Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. It serves as the kickoff for a series of events in the 2nd USA Science and Engineering Festival. It will culminate April 28 and 29 in a large Expo at the Walter Washington Convention Center in D.C. Over 500,000 attended the 2010 Festival, according to organizers. I hope that mark can be matched later this month.
Among the attractions for the festival include science luminaries, entertainers, comedians and authors (there is a Book Fair). While some of the better-known folks – Bill Nye, Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Mayim Bialik, Science Bob, Carl Zimmer – I suspect there will be some new discoveries for everyone (I think Elon Musk, head of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, may fill that role for many). I would also recommend the Saturday night star-gazing party. If you can’t get Neil deGrasse Tyson, get Bill Nye.
And yes, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins will once again grace the Festival with his musical talents.
I would caution those who are over 18 and without kids that you may find little of interest here (the presence of two science magicians and multiple science comedians may tip the organizers’ hands). I think that’s a shame. Science festivals in the U.K., as well as the World Science Festival in New York City and the Cambridge Science Festival in Massachusetts seem to do a better job of appealing to adults interested in science and technology that aren’t themselves scientists or engineers. Well, maybe next time.