Science Week: not just for "losers"

Students played with gravity defying gadgets and an old Atari computer this week, all in the name of science.

Sponsored by the University of Calgary’s science clubs, Science Week runs from Oct. 25-29 in the Science Theatres Foyer. Special scientific activities are planned for every day of the week and range from playing with toys to throwing pies at science professors.

According to Women in Science and Engineering President and Science Week Coodinator Tamara McCarron, Science Week is a way to get students involved.

"We want people to know more about the science club and what it has to offer," she said. "In first year, you’re not directly admitted into the science faculty, so this is also a way for them to talk to students who are already in the faculty, ask them some questions and sort of maybe help them with their deciding process."

Biology Students’ Association Events Coordinator Dave Flanders agreed.

"When you’re in courses that have 450 people, it’s easy to feel like a number," he said. "I didn’t dare raise my hand until just this year, so I think it’s a good feeling to know that there are people who can answer your questions and are quite happy after you get through the rough first few years."

Chemistry Students’ Association President Teresa Boulton hopes Science Week will unite the campus science clubs.

"The science clubs are small in and of themselves, but as a group we represent a large part of the student population on campus," she said. "By joining together we are fostering a spirit of unity and mutual support, and in joint action we are able to accomplish something larger, such as Science Week."

Many prizes will be awarded at the Thursday and Friday activities.

"Thursday is Scavenger Hunt Day and there’s 34 questions and they have to have them done by four o’clock," said McCarron. "The prize is $100’s worth of food or drinks at Max Cafe. Friday is basically Science Trivia Day. We’ll have people competing against each other. We have basically science questions and who ever wins gets some prizes."

Response from students regarding Science Week was mixed.

"Of course I think Science Week is cool," said third-year Computer Science student Hussein Patni. "I think it’s all about getting students to understand that science is in fact cool and it’s not just studying. Basically we just want people to understand that science isn’t just losers sitting around computing data and stuff like that."

Other students were less enthusiastic.

"Well, it just sounded big and loud… ultimately it sounded like a game and it didn’t sound like anything scientific so I didn’t even consider going to see it," said first-year Science student Lisa Poffenroth.

Computer Science graduate student Brendan Lane agreed.

"I’m assuming it’s meant to improve the perception of science, although I’m not certain this collection of gadgets will help," he said.

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