UW News

February 24, 2015

10th annual Polar Science Weekend kicks off Friday

UW News

Polar Science Weekend poster, with polar bear photo by UW's Kristin LaidrePolar Science Weekend, held in partnership with the UW Applied Physics Laboratory, blows into the Pacific Science Center this Friday through Sunday. For the 10th year, this event will give visitors a taste of exploration at the ends of the Earth. Discover why polar regions are crucial to climate change, examine real ice cores from Greenland, and learn about penguins and narwhals from some of the world’s experts.

The schedule includes presentations, exhibits and demonstrations for all ages. This year visitors can also decorate small vessels, built by The Center for Wooden Boats, to be released and set adrift during an Applied Physics Laboratory research project this summer in the Arctic Ocean.

Visitors can:

  • Watch a Silly Putty glacier ooze down a slope to understand glacier flow.
  • Explore modern polar field camps, and pull a sled like explorers used to do.
  • Learn how scientists retrieve scientific instruments anchored to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean.
  • Participate in a salinity taste test — can your tongue tell the difference between water from the Atlantic and Arctic oceans?
  • Try on a survival suit and discover what it feels like to live aboard an icebreaker.
  • Meet penguin researchers and learn how to census and measure penguins in the wild.
  • Hear from biologist Kristin Laidre, who will explain what a narwhal’s tusk is for and answer questions about Arctic mammals.

About 950 school children are scheduled to visit Friday. Roughly 100 UW undergraduate students, most from the College of the Environment, will be helping with the event. Other participants include the U.S. Antarctic Program, the U.S. Coast Guard, The Center for Wooden Boats and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

The weekend event is a partnership between Pacific Science Center and the UW Applied Physics Laboratory, with additional support from the UW College of the Environment’s Future of Ice Initiative and the UW Quaternary Research Center. The event is included with admission, free for museum members and supported by the Applied Physics Laboratory and PEMCO Insurance.