Previewing the 2020 Atlanta Science Festival

Photo courtesy of Eli Hendler, Student Publications

On Friday, March 6, the 2020 edition of the annual Atlanta Science Festival opens with an 8 p.m. screening of “2100: Climate Odyssey” at Tech’s own Ferst Center for the Arts. The original film is a look at how life in Atlanta might be different in the year 2100 thanks to the effects of climate change, and the screening is one of the 2020 festival’s marquee events.

The festival runs through March 21 and brings a variety of science related events and activities for participants of all ages to the Atlanta area, including many events on Tech’s campus. The festival is a great opportunity for students to get involved in Atlanta’s popular science community, and with dozens of free and affordable events so close to campus, checking out some of them is a no-brainer. These are just a few of the exactly 100 events going on around the city.

Beltline scavenger hunt

In addition to the various one-time events, the festival features an ongoing digital and social guided scavenger hunt encouraging participants to explore the science of the city along the Atlanta BeltLine. The scavenger hunt is available through the festival’s website, and those who visit every stop will be entered into a raffle to win 2020 Atlanta Science Festival merchandise.

Science of Kombucha

On Saturday, March 7 the Sevananda Natural Foods Market in Little 5 Points will host a hands-on demonstration exploring the microbiology of Kombucha fermentation. The event is free and there will be free samples. The workshop will last from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Breaking Down the Bean

This event explores the science behind brewing the perfect cup of coffee, with demonstrations on how time, temperature, grind size and proportion impact the flavor of a cup of joe. 

The event takes place at Taproom Coffee between 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on March 7, 9 and 10. The last of these sessions will focus on decaffeinated coffee. Admission is $10.

Natural World through art

This two-part event — with the full name “Exploring the Natural World Through Art” — features as its first segment a performance from poet, performer and conservationist Robbie Q. Telfer. Telfer will explore the contradictory ways in which the Information Age has brought knowledge of far-flung ecosystems to the masses all over the globe while also increasing the separation between individuals and the natural world as people become absorbed by their devices and screens.

As its second part, the event features a “soundwalk” through a garden led by Lady Eve. Participants will learn how listening techniques can increase their subtle perception of the environment around them. Lady Eve will explore how sounds from particular locations can be as insightful as visions and as unique as a fingerprint. Both the soundwalk and Robbie Telfer’s performance will take place at the Cator Woolford Gardens at the Frazer Center between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on March 7.

WildFlower Walk

Participants on this event will join a Fernbank scientist in exploring the diversity of native plants and wildflowers that call the Fernbank Forest — a 65 acre hardwood forest around Fernbank Museum — home. Participants will learn to identify plants by their leaves and flowers and gain a greater appreciation for the flora around them. The event takes place March 7 at Fernbank Museum and is free with the price of admission to the museum.

Critters and Cabernet

An adults-only event, “Critters and Cabernet” offers participants the opportunity to interact direclty with live reptiles and amphibians while drinking wine. The event is hosted by the Amphibian Foundation and takes place Friday, March 13 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 

Admission is $10 and includes one free drink. Additional drinks will be available for purchase at the event. 

Fernbank After Dark

Another 21 plus event, “Fernbank After Dark” gives attendees the opporunity to explore the Fernbank Museum after hours and features a variety of hands-on actitivities inspired by the special exhibit “Our Senses: An immersive Experience.” The event also features live music.

Admission is $19.95 for non-members, and the event takes place March 13 from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Science of Sour beer

This 21 plus event — full name “Science in Little 5 Points: The Science Behind Sour Beer” — offers participants to eplore the microbes that contribute to the unque flavors of beer. As the name suggests, the focus is on how sour beers get their tart and refreshing flavor from wild yeast cultivation to modern lactic souring techniques. The event takes place at the Porter Beer Bar on Wednesday March 18 from 7:00 p.m to 9:00 p.m. and costs $5.

Science Improv

Presented by Tech at the Whole World Improv Theater, “Science Improv” is an improv comedy show featuring a mix of professional comedians and scientists designed to be both entertaining and educational. The March 18 event takes place between 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and costs $10.

Science and Spirituality

This event, hosted by First Christian Church of Decatur, seeks to bring scientists and spiritualists closer together through an evening of open questions and answers and lively debate. “Science and Spirituality” is free and takes place on Thursday March 19 at 7:00 p.m.

The Story Collider

“The Story Collider” is a live show featuring a series of scientists telling true stories about their work, their failures and their successes. Additionally, the show will feature comedians, actors and writers who have an informal but deeply personal connection to the world of science. The stories will range from heartwarming to heartbreaking to hilarious, and everything in between.

“The Story Collider” will take place at the Highland Inn and Ballroom from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Thursday March 19. Admission is $10.

The events listed here are just a few of those taking place next month as a part of the Atlanta Science Festival. For more information on these events, and on the other events taking place, visit atlantasciencefestival.org.