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Los Alamos ScienceFest has expanded to more than a full week of mind-blowing demonstrations, interactive activities, art and discussions for inquisitive minds of all ages. The festival is from Sept. 5–13. The majority of the festival activities are free and open to the public. The festival was formerly known as the Next Big Idea.
Festival highlights include an appearance by former shuttle astronaut and Los Alamos National Laboratory employee John Phillips, drone demonstrations and giveaways, photography exhibition of early work by Berlyn Brixner, Detonography art, 3-D chalk artist, Rocket Day and Expo Day, among many others.
In addition, live music concerts will take place on both Fridays of the festival from 7–10 p.m. courtesy of the Los Alamos Summer Concert Series.
“Los Alamos is a place of world changing ideas. Los Alamos ScienceFest celebrates this and explores how science lies at the heart of everything through an entertaining and engaging series of events, exhibitions and happenings,” said Suzette Fox, executive director of Los Alamos MainStreet.
ScienceFest features nine days of interactive demonstrations, workshops, hands-on activities and dynamic speakers to engage in thought provoking discussion and even includes a few big nights out.”
The Rocket Day will take off from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 6 in White Rock, with the launch of 220 model rockets over a period of a few hours. The event, sponsored by LANL, National Association of Rocketry, the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos and Boeing, will include the appearance by Phillips. During Rocket Day, festival-goers can learn more about quadcopters with drone demonstrations and even a chance to win a drone. Girl Scout Troop 116 is made up of 12 seventh graders from Los Alamos and White Rock who are working toward earning their Girl Scout Silver Award. The girls have learned to build model rockets from Robb Hermes of the Zia Spacemodelers Club.
From noon-4 p.m. Sept. 9, the Jemez Mountain Herbarium curator Chick Keller will be on hand at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center to host an herbarium open house. At 7 p.m. Sept. 11, Toner Mitchell will share his knowledge of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout, the New Mexico state fish.
Both programs are free and no advance registration is required.
The festival will culminate with the only major science festival in the state — Expo Day — from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 13 at Ashley Pond. Expo Day will feature interactive exhibitors who will provide hands on activities showcasing science, technology, engineering and math. Expo Day is designed to encourage young people to seek careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
Visitors to Los Alamos during the festival are encouraged to check out the fire hydrants along Central Avenue, where artists have marked fire hydrants with artistic renderings of various characters. The artists with the best hydrant as determined by judges for the “Parade of Painted Fire Hydrants” event will be announced on Sept. 13.
On Sept. 13, the Los Alamos Arts Council will host its second annual Sec Sandoval Chalk Walk, celebrating chalk drawing. This is an all ages event where squares can be “rented” by anyone for $5 to do chalk art. Prizes will be awarded to the best drawings in various categories. Registration is required and can be done online at losalamosartscouncil.org. Drawings should be completed by 12:30 p.m. Sept. 13.
Also Sept. 13, Ashley Pond will be transformed into a music venue during ScienceFest Lyrics and Libations. Ryan Finn Big Band will take to the stage beginning at 12:30 p.m. with his calypso/jazz style sound, followed by roots rock n’ roll music by DK and the Affordables at 2:30 p.m. and finishing off the festival with bluegrass band Squash Blossom Boys at 4:30 p.m. Beer and wine will be sold to those 21 and older, with an ID.
A special photography exhibition of Berlyn Brixner will be on exhibit from 4–6 p.m. on Sept. 12 at the Los Alamos Historical Museum. Brixner is better known as the man who headed the photography team for Trinity and helped develop the science of high speed photography.
The “Early Photographs of Berlyn Brixner” exhibition documents the town of Cordova in Northern New Mexico and its wood carvers.
Visit losalamoshistoricalmuseum.com for hours and details.
Also ongoing during the festival, artist Evelyn Rosenberg exhibits her Detonography art — metal sculptures formed by using plastic explosives — at Mesa Public Library. After months of experiments with an Israeli explosives engineer in the 1980’s, Rosenberg discovered how to create intricately designed works of art through explosive means. Rosenberg will also be on hand to talk about her book detailing Detonography at the library on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.
For a complete list of all events during Los Alamos ScienceFest, losalamossciencefest.com.