Bay Area Science Festival Goes Virtual for 10th Year of the Community Event

By Brandon R. Reynolds

man holds a 3d-printed human spine model

The UCSF Maker’s Lab, which gives the University the ability to create tools and use technology such as 3D printing, will be one of the virtual tours offered during the 2020 Bay Area Science Festival. Photo by Susan Merrell

The 10th annual Bay Area Science Festival, Northern California’s largest free educational event, is going virtual in 2020 with more than 125 all-ages experiences you can access from your home.

Being held from Oct. 21-25, the festival will feature current-event forums, games and contests, and active explorations to bring together scientists, families, youth and adults to experience the wonder of science.
“We had an overwhelming response to transforming the festival from in-person to virtual, resulting in a huge collection of fun, fascinating and unexpected opportunities for people of all ages to discover science together,” said Katherine Nielsen, co-founder of UC San Francisco’s Science & Health Partnership, which organizes the event in collaboration with Bay Area museums, research labs, after-school groups, and more. 
The Bay Area Science Festival will also launch on-demand “maker” sessions on stop-motion animation and the science of bread as well as robot demos and a car-design challenge.

“UCSF and so many others are eager to come together and share our collective passion for science and showcase the STEM opportunities and connections that exist in the Bay Area,” said Nielsen. “BASF partners met this year’s challenge and adapted.”
Here are some of UCSF’s events:
Behind the Scenes Virtual Tour of the UCSF Makers Lab
Wednesday, Oct. 21, Noon-12:30 p.m.
Ever wondered how 3D printers work? What about how virtual reality can be used in patient care? UCSF’s Makers Lab gives the University the ability to create tools and technology. It’s where creativity gets applied to medicine. Join us for a live tour of the lab.
Seeing Cells Up Close: A Virtual Exploration of Cell Division
Wednesday, Oct. 21, 3 p.m.-4 p.m.
What’s it like to do research science? UCSF scientists talk about cell division and microscope imaging, with demonstrations, a Q&A, and a giveaway of three foldscopes!
Three-Minute Science
Wednesday, Oct. 21, 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
UCSF PhD candidates give an elevator pitch about their research – in three minutes or less. Tune in for accessible talks on video-game development, placebos, animal social bonds, and more. Afterward, stay for a Q&A and vote on your favorite to win a $500 “People’s Choice” award.
A Conversation with the Creators of The Nocturnists
Saturday, Oct. 24, 6 p.m.-7 p.m.
The Nocturnists are a San Francisco-based storytelling group comprised of medical professionals. Organizers Emily Silverman and Ashley McMullen, both UCSF physicians, have put together a dozen live shows in S.F. and New York City, plus three seasons of a podcast. These are empowering, heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious stories about the turbulent present of medicine and its possible futures.
Dancing Robot – UCSF Radiation Oncology
Sunday, Oct. 25, 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
A session intended to demystify radiation and show how it’s used to precisely treat cancer. Go on a tour of UCSF’s radiation oncology department and watch a demonstration of a robotic-based linear accelerator that treats cancer ... and dances. Plus, a discussion of what it takes to be a medical physicist, and glow-in-the-dark stuff!
For more than 30 years, SEP has worked to foster interest in science, build scientific literacy, and advance diversity and inclusivity in science by connecting the scientific community and the public. Along with organizing the Bay Area Science Festival, the program offerings include partnerships between UCSF volunteers and K-12 teachers, courses for teachers, and several programs that connect high school students with mentors to conduct scientific research in a university environment.

Learn more about the Bay Area Science Festival »