Science in the City - The Final Lap!
Although my final day approached, the remaining Museum staff would continue Science in the City for another two days, this time at the Australian Museum. This event left me quite inspired and worked with the best of people. And the buzz from the first day continued!
The second day only had about 900 kids and was therefore, much quieter, to a degree. I was getting the hang of things, how it should work, where I needed to be and who needed to be where. On the way home, I walk right through Chinatown, I only wish I was more confident with my Chinese, but it was my little treat to buy a redbean bun. Ooooh so good.
Here they come! And a good bit of exercise too.
It was the third day, this was to be the big day. We had around 1,400-1,500 kids in the Museum. The theaters were full for most of the day and my partner had to leave that day to work in another area. But with much luck, I received Ayush, a wonderful help in his senior year of high school. I very much enjoyed working with him, quick to understand exactly what needed to be done. This did not prevent it from being exhausting, nor did it prevent me from running up and down the stairs outside the two theaters all day long- no worries, very good exercise and I thrive in stressful conditions. Despite the fullness of each theater nearly every show (there were about 6 each day), it went remarkably well. The lectures were staggered about 10 min. apart from each other, so once one was starting, the other was getting ready to end and the next set of classes started to arrive. BUT! There were open flames again.
Not again! Science is so cool!
This time it was with a separate lecture series with two incredibly enthusiastic graduate students (?) on “Extreme Energy.” Finally I was able to take a 15 minute break and enjoy this group’s second show. All of a sudden, out pops a gas lighter (those lighters with the long neck with the finger trigger to light). And from nowhere a booming voice from the PA calls out his objection. The problem with this particular show, was that open flames consisted much of their show- since heat is often the catalyst for extreme energy. There was much fuffuffle afterwards and apparently some agreement was reached. For the remaining 3 shows, there was a staff member outside with two fire extinguishers, just in case the place went into a blaze. But everyone was very nice with their determinations and negotiations and all turned out well in the end.
Pack it up!
As Wednesday was the last day at the Powerhouse, everyone had to pack and prepare everything to be sent either to the Australian Museum or other off site locations where the Science in the City would continue. Once the kids left at 2:40pm, out came the boxes for packing. This was absolutely magic - smooth, organized, seamless. I was highly impressed with the speed of packing and shipping everything.
What an impression!
My impression of this event is quite strong, and likely not everything has really sunken in on how extraordinary this event really is. Sophie and Vanessa are masters of endurance (not only were they in charge of this particular event, they also helped out with a very large Science award dinner, the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes; Tuesday evening as well as being part of the Biodiversity in the City event that took place on the weekend before and after Science in the City, all the while keeping a smile and sense of humor). My admiration for these two ladies knows no bounds.
I want one...
It is clear how important this program is, imagine if for the schools in Oakland and Marin City as well as around the Bay Area, there was a week long program that demonstrated on a personal level the variety of career choices that are possible. From my work in Museum and Communities, the science teacher at the only school in Marin City told me of two students. One was interested in cars, the other in animals. The only career choice they can imagine is a car mechanic and veterinarian. What if there was a program where a professional said and showed them “no! you could study animal behavior, their DNA, rehabilitate and release them, etc.” or “no! you could graphically design them, sculpt them, design more efficient engines, test them, reach out globally , etc.” It is clear and so often spoken of the condition of California education, they are cut beyond small repair, and the sciences are hurting. A program such as this can give inspiration and a grander perspective in life and the world, and possibly a hope that they can have access and achieve this.