UMaine and Maine Science Festival

Be immersed in a simulated tornado, illustrate nature, look through a solar telescope, hold an oyster, ask a genius a question.

Do it all and more at the Maine Science Festival, being held March 18–20, at the Cross Insurance Center and other downtown Bangor venues.

The University of Maine is participating in a number of demonstrations, hands-on activities and panels at the festival, which seeks to stimulate interest in science and heighten awareness of its impacts.

Following is a list of events in which UMaine is involved:

Friday, March 18

Cool Science, free events, sponsored by University of Maine, 8:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.Cross Center Ballroom

  • “Exploring Optical Illusions and the Neuroscience behind them” Find out why optical illusions work.
  • UMaine College of Engineering Discover what engineers do.
  • “Maine’s marine ecosystem” Explore issues affecting marine ecosystems, coastal communities and learn how to be involved in coastal citizen science projects.
  • “Science Around ME” This tablet and phone app facilitates interaction, discussion and writing about natural science settings in Maine. Festivalgoers can download, discover, play, join the conversation.
  • “Hovercrafts” Build, test hovercrafts and receive field trip survival packs.
  • “Talking Trash” What’s in the waste stream? Sort common waste. Interactive, informative trivia.
  • “Mainely Physics PSI” Hands-on physics demonstrations covering properties of light, electricity, magnetism, sound, waves, heat, temperature. Become a “PSI,” Physical Science Investigator.
  • “Marine Science at UMaine” Demonstration of fish-tracking devices and bioluminescence.
  • 4-H Follow a Researcher™ (For participating field trips) UMaine student Kit Hamley talks about her research on an extinct wolf, the warrah, in Falkland Islands, and her interactions with local students. Free, 9:45 a.m. and noon, Cross Center Meeting Room 3, 4. Panel discussion
  • Smart Brass (For participating field trips only) Panel discussion about physics and acoustics that explain why brass instruments sound the way they do. Free, 10:45 a.m. and noon, Cross Center Meeting Rooms 3, 4 and C, D
  • Mainely Physics 2016! (For participating field trips) Which wins: immovable object or unstoppable force? Can air freeze? Why aren’t clouds square? Why is the sky (and moon) blue? Free, noon

Teen Tech Night,  Friday Showcase Event
Learn, share, collaborate with techno-teens, explore cutting-edge software and web-based tools. Workshops and hands-on activities designed for maximum engagement. Pizza dinner. Free, sign-up required at 4–8 p.m., Maine Discovery Museum

Science on Tap, Friday Showcase Event
What does science have to do with popular culture? Combine libation, laughter, lessons. Explore some of Seven Deadly Sins: gluttony, wrath and pride. Free admission, 7–10 p.m., Sea Dog, Barrel Room

Saturday, March 19

Exploration Stations, Saturday Showcase Event, Free admission, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m., Cross Insurance Center Ballroom

  • “High-Altitude Ballooning” Learn about opportunities for sending experiments into near-space aboard a high-altitude balloon flight.
  • “Wireless Leak Detection for Space” See the Wireless Leak Detector (WiLD) system that will be on International Space Station. Festivalgoers try to determine where a leak is, based on data transmitted to computer screen.
  • “Astronomy” Check out a spectroscopy and gas tube activity, and a solar telescope outside, weather permitting.
  • “Sea Farming in Maine” Learn about sea farming, fascinating marine life. Touch tank teems with oysters, mussels, sea urchins, scallops, sea stars, crabs.
  • VEMI Lab Live Be immersed in a simulated tornado, control a water cannon to protect an ice castle, view an apocalypse from the safety of shelter. Multiple Q&A sessions about virtual environment simulations. 9 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Nature Illustration Workshop Illustrator Chuck Carter will lead workshop on bringing nature to vivid life and keeping it scientifically accurate. Free, limited to 12; sign-up required at 9–11 a.m., University of Maine Museum of Art

Your Brain on Improv Join Penobscot Theatre Company experts for lively demonstration of how improv works outside of theatre. Free, limited to 16; sign-up required, 207.947.6618, 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Penobscot Theatre Company

Maine’s River Fisheries: Sustenance, Science and Conservation The Penobscot, other Maine rivers have historically supported large numbers of sea-run fish essential for local people. Panel presents diverse views about past, present state of inland fisheries, seeks to engage audience members. Free, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Bangor Public Library Community Room

Science & Technology in Sports Hear from people using science to develop products for athletes. From computer science to mechanical engineering, to materials, science is part of kayaking, NFL, NHL. Free, 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m., Cross Insurance Center, Meeting Rooms 1, 2

Op Art Workshop Explore physical, psychological process of vision while making, viewing art. Participants will learn techniques to create optical illusions in their original artwork. Supplies included, instruction provided. Free, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.; drop-in. University of Maine Museum of Art

Science in Maine’s National Park Panelists share remarkable science happening year-round at Acadia. Free, 1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m. Bangor Public Library, Community Room

Sunday, March 20

So you think you know math? From cryptography to smart phones, many items we interact with daily rely on an understanding and use of math. Panelists talk about algebraic topology, mathematical biology, actuarial science. Free, 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m., 58 Main

Verse in the Universe Unique poetry readings address scientific themes, concerns. Free, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Rock & Art Shop

Aquaculture: Farming the Gulf Learn about the $130 million industry based around finfish, clams, mussels, sea vegetables. Free, noon–1:15 p.m., Maine Discovery Museum

Maine in Space Panelists will discuss current space exploration, research, development. Free, 1–2:15 p.m., 58 Main

The Story Collider Hear personal stories about science. Free, 1–3 p.m., Sea Dog Barrel Room

5-Minute Genius, Sunday showcase event “Rock-star” scientists explain their work in 5 minutes; audience has 5 minutes to ask questions. Reception follows this closing event. Free, 3:30 p.m., Bangor Public Library Lecture Hall

For more details about the Maine Science Festival, including the complete schedule, visit Follow on Instagram at