MIT Technical Instructor John Dolhun offers a chemistry demonstration at the 2009 Cambridge Science Festival Photo: Cambridge Science Festival
After attracting more than 30,000 people last year, the Cambridge Science Festival will kick off with a laser show and a carnival this weekend.
The 4th annual festival, hosted by MIT, Harvard, the City of Cambridge, WGBH and the Museum of Science, Boston, will run from Saturday, April 24 to Sunday, May 2.
While the carnival, which will be at the Cambridge Public Library, is usually the biggest attraction, festival founder and MIT Museum Director John Durant said this year’s event will offer some other activities that few places outside of Cambridge could muster.
Every day next week, the festival is coordinating lunches with local Nobel Prize winners at the MIT Museum at 265 Massachusetts Avenue. Delving into the pool of winners at Harvard and MIT, there will be a different laureate for each weekday, including Nobel Prize winners Robert Merton, H. Robert Horvitz, Jack Szostak, Eric Chivian and Richard Schrock.
“You have to bring your own brown bag for the laureate lunch,” Durant said. “We give a lunch to the Nobel Prize winner, but no one else.”
Most of the events at the 9-day festival are free, Durant said, and the events will be spread out at 30 different locations in the city.
New this year is a festival eve event Friday, April 23, called “Big Ideas for Busy People.” The event at Harvard in the Laboratory on Oxford Street will include five minute talks from a total of 10 Harvard and MIT professors presenting a smorgasbord of ideas from morals to mind reading, Durant said.
But Durant said the biggest attraction is always the Science Carnival, which this year will feature 89 booths of experiments and demonstrations at the Cambridge Public Library Saturday. At noon Saturday at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School field house, a laser show will be held to kick off the festival and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser.
Durant said he founded the festival after moving from the United Kingdom to the United States in 2005 and being surprised by a lack of science festivals here. He said the success of the festival is now drawing attention from other cities, such as San Francisco and Philadelphia, who will have representatives on hand to observe.
For more information about the festival and a complete listing of events, visit http://www.cambridgesciencefestival.org.