Boston Families enjoy Science for All ages The AAAS ANNUAL Science Meeting ShowEd its Family-Friendly Side last weekend

parents lined up to register for "Family Science Days"

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) holds the largest gathering of scientists in the world each year for five consecutive days. They devote two days to also host "Family Science Days," a free weekend event for Boston kids and their families.

Hundreds of parents and their kids crowded into the Hynes Convention Center on February 18th and 19th to participate in hands-on activities and watch scientists showcase their research.

The exhibition had interactive booths from many local institutions, including McLean Hospital, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, The Cambridge Science Festival, and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space. (pictures starting left then circling clockwise)
some Scientists took the stage to present their work.

Presenters included Professor Rowan Lockwood from the College of William & Mary, Dr. Penelope Boston from NASA's Astrobiology Institute, and Dr. Ben Brown-Steiner, a researcher at MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science, among other scientists at the fair.

Dr. Rowan Lockwood handed out fossils she had collected behind her house in the Chesapeake Bay area. Her research involves examining clam fossils to find how the species survived the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, the same event that killed off Earth's dinosaurs.

Penelope Boston, expert cave explorer, talked about the microbes she finds in the world's most extreme environments and how these microbes give us clues about potential extraterrestrial life. Ben Brown-Steiner fielded atmospheric questions like "Where do hurricanes come from? Do we need clouds to live? Why is the sky blue?"

Dr. Brown-Steiner loves presenting his work to children in an engaging way. "If you can do a demonstration where there's a puzzle and they're figuring it out, they get really excited," he said. He also thinks getting kids involved in science is a good way to recruit researchers for the future. "We need more scientists," he said, "Especially in atmospheric sciences. It's getting more complicated. We need really smart people to come in and figure it out for us."

MIT cheerleaders pursuing degrees in science, technology, and medicine performed cheerleading moves to teach basic physics.

Balioz Florstal and his son Berto think it's important to introduce science to kids so that they can be more innovative thinkers. "[Kids] might do something that no adult could ever think about. They could do something new." said Berto. #jo704

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