"It makes the job harder when your audience is everybody," said festival director Gerri Trooskin of the Franklin Institute. But the organizers were apparently up for a challenge. They sought to escape the notions that presenters had to be stuffy lecturers or that science fests are only for children and students.
"We can't expect kids to value science if adults don't," Trooskin said. She is convinced that adults, too, crave an outlet for curiosity.
The science festival promises to engage children and grown-ups. These events range from Friday's tech-and-Weizenbock opening-night party for adults at Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Ave., to Saturday's free, all-day Science Carnival on Logan Circle, where families can see zoo animals, meet authors such as Sean Connelly, who wrote The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math: 24 Death-Defying Challenges for Young Mathematicians, and learn how cheese is made, among other things.
The interactive events scheduled for the next 10 days will take place in well-known Philly theaters, museums, libraries, universities, cafes, and breweries. And "Science Night at the Ballpark" will bring more than a dozen activities to the concourses of Citizen's Bank Park at 7:05 p.m. April 28.
Many events are free but may require registration. Others range from $5 to $15 a ticket, while some events - like "Wine Chemistry: Best and Worst Pairings" ($35) - include food or refreshments with a higher price.
The festival will include screenings of 10 variously scientific films; an award-winning documentary and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure show the range of the movie offerings.
The Institute, a member of the Science Festival Alliance, oversees the wide partnership behind the festival. "We spend a lot of time geeking out . . . . There's so much enthusiasm around all of this," Trooskin said.
The alliance is funded by the National Science Foundation. Other science festivals have been held in Cambridge, Mass., San Diego, and San Francisco.
According to Trooskin, Philadelphia's festival is the only one that requires collaborations at every event.
It makes for some interesting team-ups.
Nerd Nite Philadelphia is joining with Drexel University, the West Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Penn Museum to produce "A Nerd's Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse," on Thursday night.
That presentation follows the "Meet and Geek" speed-dating session. "You can learn together how you can survive the apocalypse," Trooskin said. "That way you can run holding hands."
Romance, drinking, baseball, the family-friendly, and the 21-plus adventure: It's all here, and it's all in the name of science.
If you go: Second Annual Philadelphia Science Festival, Friday through April 29. Most events free. For a full event listing and event locations, go to www.philasciencefestival.org/calendar and www.fi.edu. Information: 215-448-1200.
Contact Matt Huston at 215-854-5289 or firstname.lastname@example.org.