Science meeting 2023 | Queen’s University Gazette

Families from southeastern Ontario and special guests joined Science Rendezvous Kingston on May 13th.

From left to right: Nancy Ross (Vice-Principal Research, Queen’s University), Arthur McDonald (Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University), Bryan Paterson (Mayor, City of Kingston), Lynda Colgan (Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University), Alejandro Adem ( Chair, NSERC), Dwayne Miller (Chair, Science Rendezvous), Julie Ann May (Board Member, Science Rendezvous), Katie Miller (Executive Director, Science Rendezvous) and Lissa Matyas (Board Member, Science Rendezvous).

Science Rendezvous Kingston took place at Leon’s Center in downtown Kingston.

Charlie Hindmarch (Medicine) performed a strawberry DNA extraction demonstration on stage.

Kingston Fire and Rescue has prepared a demonstration on the dynamics of a house fire and how to put it out.

The Chemistry Magic Show was one of the highlights of the day.

The young visitors learned about animals, plants and other scientific subjects.

Participating researchers prepared hands-on activities to engage children in STEM.

What happens when you bring together a vintage fire truck, state-of-the-art robots, and medical students doing live ultrasounds of their own hearts? Guests were able to experience all of this and more at Science Rendezvous Kingston, Canada’s largest pop-up science outreach event.

On Saturday, May 13, more than 5,300 youth and families visited Leon’s Center and The Tragically Hip Way to participate in 50 booths and demonstrations that covered topics ranging from heart health, robotics and plant science to geology, l engineering and art conservation. A team of more than 430 volunteers, including Queen’s faculty, researchers and students, as well as representatives from local museums, schools and community partners, prepared the activities.

“Science Rendezvous Kingston is an important opportunity for families in Kingston and southeastern Ontario to informally interact with our research practitioners, create and have fun together,” says Vice-Principal (research) from Queen’s, Nancy Ross. “We strongly believe that events like this help to bridge the gaps between science and society, build trust in science and scientific institutions, and inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators.”

A record of success

Science Rendezvous Kingston is part of the national Science Rendezvous initiative, created in 2008 to engage Canadian citizens in science and engineering. Currently, Science Rendezvous is the largest one-day science festival in the country, spreading to 30 cities in 10 provinces and 2 territories.

Queen’s has been the proud host of Science Rendezvous Kingston since 2011. Kingston’s event, one of the most successful in Canada, has been recognized with national awards in 2020 and 2022. This year, the Science Rendezvous Board of Directors chose Kingston as its flagship event. promote the importance and impact of science fairs.

Special guests for the showcase event included Alejandro Adem (President of the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada – NSERC), Bryan Paterson (Mayor of Kingston), Ted Hsu (MP for Kingston and the Islands ), Dr. Ross, Dwayne Miller (founder and president of Science Rendezvous), Arthur McDonald (Nobel Prize winner and professor emeritus at Queen’s), members of the Science Rendezvous board of trustees, and senior executives from local school boards and community organizations.

Choose your own adventure

Throughout the day, visitors were treated to live demonstrations from Queen’s Chemistry Department, Queen’s Cardio-Pulmonary Unit and Kingston Fire and Rescue. Four renowned Canadian authors – Helaine Becker, LE Carmichael, Ishta Mercurio and Rochelle Strauss – also read their scientific articles to the public.

For the first time, Science Rendezvous Kingston featured a Sensory Science Zone, designed to support children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, social and emotional mental health needs or other sensory or physical disabilities. This pilot project was sponsored by an NSERC PromoScience supplement and offered exclusive kiosks and activities where children could explore exhibits and interact with researchers in a quieter environment.

“With my experience in educational assessment, I know it’s wrong to say something is perfect, but I honestly think the highest possible score for a public education event was exceeded on Saturday, May 13,” says Queen’s Emeritus Professor Lynda Colgan, founder and co-coordinator of Science Rendezvous Kingston. “From Dr Adem to the four-year-old ringing the vintage fire truck bell, there were smiles all around as informal learning infused Leon’s Center and Tragically Hip Way. It was a celebratory community event that will set a new standard for STEM festivals across the country.”

While the in-person event is over, Science Rendezvous Kingston continues online. The librarians of the Faculty of Education at Queen’s have prepared lists of books with suggested readings to complement the activities of the Scientific Meeting, in English and in French. In addition, booth presenters developed activities for families and children to do at home or at school, including a dancing raisins experience, an artificial heart, instructions for creating a child-friendly backyard birds and a balloon rocket.

For those interested in attending next year, Science Rendezvous Kingston – INNOVATE will take place on May 11, 2024. Please visit the website for more details.

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