UW News

March 4, 2014

Polar science this weekend at Pacific Science Center

UW News

As spring begins to show hints of emerging, plunge back into the cold with Polar Science Weekend at Pacific Science Center.

The 9th annual celebration of snow and ice, organized by museum and the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory, features UW glaciologists, biologists and climate experts. But it also brings in other community members, including local artists, photographers and zookeepers who focus on polar environments.

This year’s event is Friday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Kids and adults can explore interactive exhibits about everything from Arctic whales to sliding glaciers, and see an actual Greenland ice core. They can meet UW researchers who study life on ice, from penguins to microbes, meet an artist who paints polar expeditions, and check out scientific instruments that measure conditions at the poles.

New activities this year include a display on waves in the Arctic Ocean featuring UW oceanographer Jim Thomson, a mock North Pacific field camp with UW anthropologist Ben Fitzhugh, and a display on Greenland sharks created by UW fisheries undergraduate Garrett Knoll.

event posterVisitors can make an origami penguin, take a salinity taste test, pull a sled like an old-time polar explorer, and visit a mock Arctic ice camp to see the equipment and try on clothing that modern researchers wear to withstand the cold.

A passport encourages kids to collect stamps from the different stations.

The live science stage will host a presentation on polar bears by Heather Detwiler of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium that includes a chance to touch polar bear fur, see a model skull and learn how to help polar animals. Other performances include UW oceanographer Mike Steele, who will explain the physics of freezing, and Seattle photographer Alasdair Turner, who will describe the daily routine of working with the U.S. Antarctic Program.

An ongoing exhibit, “Investigating Arctic Ice Melt,” based on the work of Applied Physics Laboratory researchers Mike Steele, Axel Schweiger, Bonnie Light and Ignatius Rigor, will be on display throughout the weekend.

scientist and kids

A UW researcher uses a glacier made out of blue putty to explain glacier flow.APL

The IMAX Theater will, of course, be playing To the Arctic 3D and Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure. Even the museum’s planetarium will be focused on polar skies.

Polar Science Weekend is included with regular museum admission. The event is supported by the Applied Physics Laboratory and its Polar Science Center, the UW’s Quaternary Research Center, and the College of the Environment through the UW’s Future of Ice Initiative.