On Nov. 1, join UCLA’s free hands-on science festival – online for 2020


Exploring Your Universe square logo

Each year, Exploring Your Universe, UCLA’s free science festival, has brought thousands of children, parents and other members of the Los Angeles community to campus to learn about science through hands-on demonstrations.

This year, the festival will be all virtual. On Sunday, Nov. 1, from noon to 5 p.m. Pacific time, visitors from all over the world can take part in guided, do-it-yourself science experiments while engaging with scientists on a wide range of subjects.

As always, admission is free, but a limited number of tickets are available. Visit the event website for registration information and a complete schedule. The website also lists easy-to-obtain supplies that families can gather in advance before participating in experiments during the festival.

More than 20 UCLA departments and organizations will offer more than 40 hands-on experiments and video demos. For the first time, this year’s Exploring Your Universe offers attendees the opportunity to converse with science experts in “Ask a Scientist” sessions. And the event will include a bilingual Q&A session, giving the audience a chance to speak in Spanish with UCLA chemistry professors Jose Rodriguez and Miguel García-Garibay.

“I am so excited that we can continue our annual tradition of hands-on learning and interactive demonstrations in this year’s virtual Exploring Your Universe,” said Abijah Simon, a UCLA doctoral student in earth science who leads the event organizing committee. “Curious minds of all ages will be able to join scientists in explorations of physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and much more through all the activities we have planned.”

After UCLA Chancellor Gene Block welcomes attendees at 12 p.m., García-Garibay will present the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences’ Science and Education Pioneer Award to Professor Andrea Ghez. Ghez, the 2020 Nobel laureate in physics and UCLA’s Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Professor of Astrophysics, will deliver the festival’s keynote address, focusing on her research about black holes.

“Throughout Andrea’s career, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to making science accessible to the public and, in particular, to girls and women. This type of connection has never been more important,” said García-Garibay, who also is dean of the division of physical sciences in the UCLA College. “We will be thrilled to celebrate Andrea’s work with guests from around the world. It will no doubt inspire countless children to watch her talk about her fascinating research and receive recognition for her teaching, mentorship and public engagement.”

The festival will also include 30-minute talks on topics including melting ice in Antarctica, the fun of polymers, where our water comes from and how it’s treated, science in our national parks, and the relationship between plants and climate change.

All talks will be accessible for audiences of all ages.

Since its inception in 2009, Exploring Your Universe has become one of UCLA’s biggest annual events. It is organized by UCLA graduate students and run by student and faculty volunteers.

Exploring Your Universe is made possible by the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences; the Mani L. Bhaumik Institute for Theoretical Physics; the Campus Programs Committee of the UCLA Program Activities Board; the UCLA Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences; the UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy; the UCLA Galactic Center Group; and the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

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