UMaine faculty, staff and students participating in 2024 Maine Science Festival – K. Allen, D. Levesque

University of Maine faculty, staff and students will present at several events during the Maine Science Festival, a program of the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor that will include more than 70 events and activities from March 20-24. 

The full programing for the event can be found on its website.

The festival is a five-day celebration that showcases the science and technology happening in Maine in the format of an arts or music festival, with events for all ages. Programming includes forums, workshops, talks, art exhibits, film screenings and hands-on activities. 

John Thompson, professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, will moderate Maine Science Festival Trivia: News and Brews Takeover, at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20 at Seasons in Brewer. 

Nimesha Ranasinghe, assistant professor of spatial computing, and Justin Brown, laboratory research manager of VEMI Lab will participate in Science On Tap at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, Mason’s Brewing Company in Brewer. Ranasinghe will host a live demonstration, presentation and a discussion about computing and flavor, and Dimmel will showcase some projects that utilize haptics to augment visual information and provide accessible solutions.

The Maine Science Festival Field Trip Day on Friday, March 22 will feature curated events for nearly 400 middle school-aged students around the state at the Cross Insurance Center from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. UMaine faculty and staff hosting activities for it include Katherine Allen, associate professor at the School of Earth and Climate Sciences; Beth Campbell, Maine EPSCoR outreach and program manager; various faculty from the UMaine Space and UMaine AI initiatives; Drew Hooke, operations manager at the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center; Chapman Hall, undergraduate history student; Keith Sharp, Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) program manager; Christina Murphy, assistant professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology; and Amanda Collamore, education and outreach manager for the ASCC’s Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center.

UMaine students and faculty will also offer various hands-on learning activities during the Exploration Stations program on Saturday, March 23 at the Cross Insurance Center. VEMI Lab will host a wild Duck Chase. Aaron Weiskittel, director of the University of Maine Center for Research on Sustainable Forests, and Mehdi Tajvidi, associate professor of renewable Nanomaterials, will host a panel on emerging tools, technology and products for the forest sector with Ian Prior from Seven Islands Land Company. Shawn Laatsch, director of the Versant Power Astronomy Center, and Ph.D. student Nikita Saini will co-host an eclipse workshop with John Meader from Northern Stars Planetarium and Larry Berz from Lee Academy. Librarians Christopher Clark and Heather Perrone from Fogler Library will present on the basics of artificial intelligence literacy, and Mona Therrien-Genest, principal lecturer and Dietetic Internship Program director, will participate in a nutrition panel. Undergraduate student Chapman Hall, history professor Liam Riordan, University of Maine History department, and assistant professor of philosophy Robby Finley will deliver a presentation on how video games can teach history. Allen from the School of Earth and Climate Sciences will host a presentation on a Gulf of Maine ocean science mini-docuseries. Kim Stewart, a higher education Ph.D. student, will moderate the panel “Future Driven: A Youth Climate Story.” 

Danielle Levesque, associate professor of mammalogy and mammalian health, will participate in the headline event 5 Minute Genus at 7 p.m. March 23 at the Penobscot Theater Company in Bangor. 

On Sunday, March 24, there will be a Celebration of Arts and Sciences starting at 9 a.m. at the Versant Power Astronomy Center that will feature a viewing of “Eclipse: The Moments of Wonder” and presentations from Honors College students and Justin Dimmel, associate professor of mathematics education and instruction technology. Rachel Schattman, associate professor of sustainable agriculture; and master’s student Alexandra Scearce are presenting on PFAS and agriculture with Susan Hunter, who owns a farm in Unity, at 1 p.m. March 24 at BookSpace in Bangor.