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Down to a science

The sixth annual Science Rendezvous Kingston promises to be bigger and better than ever

Square-wheeled tricycles, birds of prey, a quarantine tent and robots in action.

Those are just a few examples of the 60 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) stations that are part of this year’s Science Rendezvous Kingston at the Rogers K-Rock Centre on Saturday, May 7

The free event features 20 Queen’s University departments, 12 from the Royal Military College of Canada, two from St. Lawrence College and a large number of citizen science groups. The event runs from 10 am to 3 pm and the first 2,000 families will receive a take-home booklet filled with science experiments.

“The idea of Science Rendezvous is to increase and stimulate interest in the STEM subjects,” says lead organizer Lynda Colgan (Education). “The event has just gotten bigger and bigger over the years. We are expecting more than 4,000 people from the greater Kingston community to attend and it is possible only because of the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of more than 350 volunteers who year after year prepare engaging and educational activities for people of all ages.”

Each year, the diversity of the exhibits changes and grows and this year is no different. A highlight this year is a presentation by Nobel Laureate Arthur McDonald. His talk, entitled The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory: Observing Massive Neutrinos from the Sun, will start at noon.

Other unique events include:

  • A Chemistry Magic Show — 10:30 am and 1:30 pm by Dr. Philip Jessop (Chemistry) and his team of graduate students 
  • Birds of Prey — 11 am and 2 pm Canadian Raptor Conservancy
  • Lasers: From nanotech to epic movies — 11:30 am by Dr. James Fraser (Physics)
  • The Kingston Police Force Canine Unit — 1 pm
  • Will Sanderson, Arctic and Antarctic expedition member — 2:30 pm

“This year we are bringing in a quarantine tent as our public service type display,” says Dr. Colgan. “People can visit the tent where there are medical students in period costumes made up to look like they have different diseases such as smallpox, measles and polio. They can describe the disease including symptoms and cures. They also talk about why vaccines are important.” The Quarantine Tent is funded in part by the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s.

Dr. Colgan adds another highlight of Science Rendezvous Kingston will be the three square-wheeled tricycles that ride smoothly along on their inverted catenary roadway. The tricycles were designed and constructed by 18 first-year applied science students, the third consecutive year for such a collaboration between the Education Community Outreach Centre and the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering).

“After all, everyone believes bicycles and tricycles must have round wheels. The wow of operational square-wheeled vehicles will attract a lot of attention,” she says.