School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Science Rendezvous 2016: An Exciting Event for Learners of All Ages

by Deni Ogunrinde

May 2016

Kingston’s 6th annual Science Rendezvous was held this Saturday at the K-ROCK Centre, and it did not disappoint. Designed to expose children, their families, and inquiring minds of all ages to all branches of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), the event provides an opportunity to watch and perform small-scale experiments with local researchers from Queen’s University, St. Lawrence College, and the greater Kingston community.

Headlining events like the ‘Chemistry Magic Show’, held by Dr. Phillip Jessop and The Queens Chemistry Graduate Student Society, introduced the audience to basic principles of chemistry. Demonstrating the crystallization of salt out of a super saturated solution, and showcasing the affect of -195 ºC liquid nitrogen on everyday objects such as balloons and bananas, the magic show charmed participants in an entertaining way. The ‘Lasers: from nanotech to epic movies’ seminar, held by Dr. James Fraser (Queen’s Physics), was equally engaging. Dr. Fraser helped to bridge the gap between true science and science fiction by using the ever-popular Star Wars as a point of reference and by outlining the use of lasers in generating 3-D patterns on solid objects. The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory Lab (SNO Lab) had a booth that demonstrated how high pressure gas can trigger ignition (among other experiments) and recent Nobel Laureate in physics Dr. Arthur McDonald, Professor Emeritus of the SNO Lab, presented an out-of-this-world seminar titled “Observing Massive Neutrinos from the Sun”.

Along with event participants, the student-researcher volunteers, those of whom I had the pleasure of speaking with, were particularly enthusiastic about the event. Sreeman Myapati, a PhD Candidate with the Barz Research Group which focuses on microelectrochemical systems, described this event as a nice change from the every-day in lab;  “a lot of the kids are really excited to see how water is split into gas molecules” which, in itself, he described as exciting. Likewise, Hannah Dies, a PhD candidate working at Innovation Park in the Nano-Fabrication Lab, said “it is exciting to see kids learn about the principles that we use every day.”

The Center for Neuroscience Studies (CNS) also had a booth at the event where participants could learn how neuroscientists at the CNS study the brain. An ‘eye-tracking’ task followed eye movements on a screen, a ‘mind-control task’ allowed participants to pick a ball up on a screen using brain EEG waves, and locusts provided neuronal action potentials for monitoring. Shelby Thompson, a first year MSc Candidate at the CNS and also first time Science Rendezvous volunteer, termed the event as “amazing”, disclosing, “there are cool things here!”

In summary, Science Rendezvous provided an opportunity for over 350 STEM volunteers to share their passions with event participants in a way that was both fun and engaging for all. Hopefully this event has inspired some young participants to become scientists themselves in the future, but for now, I look forward to next year’s Rendezvous.

  • Hannah Dies, PhD Candidatewith the Nano-Fabriation Lab

    Hannah Dies, PhD Candidatewith the Nano-Fabriation Lab

  • Chemistry Magic Show

    Chemistry Magic Show

  • Chemistry Magic Show

    Chemistry Magic Show

  • The SNO Lab booth (Sudbury Neutrino Observatory)

    The SNO Lab booth (Sudbury Neutrino Observatory) 

  • Sreeman Myapati, PhD Candidate in the Barz Lab

    Sreeman Myapati, PhD Candidate in the Barz Lab

  • Dr.Arthur McDonald giving his seminar

    Dr.Arthur McDonald giving his seminar