Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

What if your club, institution, or company had access to a lot of the Science-interested public for a few days? What if they come to you, or meet you in a nice venue? What messages would you most want to get across? What could those contacts be best used for? What if you had 10 months to prepare?

Around San Francisco, the Bay Area Science Festival is planned for October 29 – November 6, 2011. But hardly anyone I talk to has heard about it yet!

One indication that the planning’s cast in Jell-O?? rather than concrete is that they say it’s going to be a 10-day event, but the days they list total 9. So it’s not too late to get involved. If you’re in the Bay Area, think through your optimum result from such a festival. Think through how to achieve it. Then contact the Festival folks to make sure you get included. I’d guess that the more self-contained your package, the easier it should be for them to include.

Here’s what I’ve gleaned so far:
The University of California San Francisco is said to have received a grant to organize this as a “first annual” science-for-the-public event. Dr. Bruce Alberts, Editor of Science Magazine, heads the project. The Director is Kishore Hari, Science and Health Education Partnership, UCSF,
Their target audience includes 25% youth and families with little access to Science, 50% youth and families with conventional access to Science, and 25% adults, especially college-educated, 18-49.
Festivities kick off with a Science Carnival at Cal State East Bay in Hayward, and end with another at AT&T Park in San Francisco. In between they’ll run 100+ other events “in public spaces (parks, theaters, cafes, even farmer’s markets!) with a majority being free.” Those include:
* a Science Carnival in South Bay.
* significant events in North Bay facilitated by the Buck Institute.
* “Open Labs at multiple professional and academic laboratories. Most labs will be paired with local high schoolers for special behind-the-scenes tours.
* A series of dialogues between a scientist and compelling local figure on provocative issues, with an emphasis on topics of local interest.
* ArtWalk: Science – Self-guided tours of local art galleries featuring Science-inspired art. Art galleries throughout the Bay Area will be participating.
* Einstein Pub Crawl – Coordinated science cafe night throughout San Francisco. Each science cafe will feature a local scientist discussing current science topics in various bars, coffeehouses, and restaurants.” (I have the hair, but not the stomach, for that pub crawl.)

Wonderfest, the Science Festival held at Berkeley and Stanford every November, will yield turf to BASF. Its events will still take place, but as parts of BASF. Wonderfest director Tucker Hiatt writes “Apparently, I will be responsible for producing the Wonderfest-like aspects of BASF: (1) the Dialogues, (2) the WonderCup Challenge high school team science competition, and (3) the Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.” These might get spread around the area and the calendar. “From the founding of Wonderfest in 1997, I hoped that Wonderfest would be a BIG success. For 13 years, it has been a small success, and I have been living happily with that. … I have told Kishore – and the Wonderfest audience – that there WILL be a Wonderfest 2012 if BASF ’11 doesn’t (at least) fill Wonderfest’s shoes.”

Figure out how to fit in your stuff, and help spread the word.

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