Montana State University

MSU Science Saturdays for kids begin Nov. 22

November 14, 2008


Real-live scientists Mark Young, Brian Bothner and Trevor Douglas (L to R) show off models of viruses that they use in their research and teaching. MSU photo by Stephen Hunts.   High-Res Available

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The lab coats are gone and so are the pocket protectors as Montana State University scientists and students prepare to host the first of five MSU Science Saturdays for youth.

The first event takes place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 22, in Studio 1080, the Burns Technology Center's interactive multimedia center in the atrium of the EPS Building. The topic is viruses, which MSU scientists are studying in Yellowstone National Park and other extreme environments.

MSU Science Saturdays will be held monthly from November through March in Studio 1080, featuring topics like computers and hydrogen fuels. The Dec. 13 topic is magnetism.

"There is so much more to viruses than just making people sick," said Brian Bothner, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry who will help host the first event. "Only a very small fraction causes disease in humans. We study viruses so that someday we can use them to kill cancer cells or build a computer so small that you need a microscope to see it, which I think would be pretty cool."

Science Saturdays are designed for kids aged 10 to 15, but younger kids may attend if accompanied by a parent. Everyone will participate in hands-on activities and learn about new research and technology. Attendees will also get their own MSU "SciPass" passport, which is stamped after completing activities and can be used at future SciSat events.

"Our goal is to show that science is fun, scientists are normal people and that MSU is doing some really cool stuff that kids would love to know about," said Trevor Douglas, director of MSU's Center for Bio-Inspired NanoMaterials, which sponsors Science Saturdays along with MSU Extended University and the Undergraduate Chemistry Club.

No registration is required; however, kids who do pre-register will receive a free MSU Science Saturdays prize.

For more information, a map and to register, go to: http://eu.montana.edu/SciSat or call 994-6550.

Martha Peters, Center for Bio-Inspired Nano-materials, 994-7658, mpeters@montana.edu.