UW Today

March 1, 2017

Polar Science Weekend attractions range from old-fashioned ice sled to future NASA satellite

News and Information

University of Washington polar scientists are holding the 12th annual Polar Science Weekend, Friday through Sunday, March 3-5, at Pacific Science Center in Seattle.

Polar Science Weekend poster

This year’s lineup includes a simulation from NASA of its new ICESat-2 instrument. Visitors can get scanned by an instrument above their head that measures a person’s height using an infrared distance sensor. The real ICESat-2 satellite, scheduled for launch in 2018, will map the Earth’s ice surfaces to very high precision, from space.

During the weekend visitors can talk to UW experts about Arctic sea ice, which this winter set new record lows for winter extent. They can try on historic polar explorers’ gear and a modern survival suit, and touch real polar bear fur. Other stations will display projects studying Antarctic ice and oceans.

“At Polar Science Weekend, visitors can talk to real scientists who study some of the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth, to learn what they’re doing and why it’s important,” said organizer Harry Stern, a scientist at the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory.

UW undergraduate students in oceanography and fisheries classes will complete a science communication training run by the science center before helping with the event.

As in other years, the weekend will include a science stage with presentations by UW scientists, polar shows on the 6-foot-diameter Science on a Sphere and screenings of the IMAX film “To The Arctic 3D.”

Polar Science Weekend is included with museum admission. The exhibits will be open Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The event is a partnership between Pacific Science Center and the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory and Polar Science Center.

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For more information, contact Stern at 206-543-7253 or hstern@uw.edu.

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