UW News

February 28, 2019

Polar science, climate change and, yes, dance mix this weekend at Pacific Science Center

UW News

Each year, University of Washington polar scientists share their work with the public during a three-day event at the Pacific Science Center. This year, the event is expanding to include broader discussions of climate change, alternative energy and cross-disciplinary efforts that combine science with other disciplines.

The event, “Curiosity Days: Climate Change,” takes place March 1-3.

Laidre in blue parka with polar bear cubs

Kristin Laidre, a researcher in the UW’s Polar Science Center and faculty member in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, will  give a Saturday evening talk titled “Climate change: Impacts on Arctic ecosystems and Indigenous communities.” Laidre’s studies of Arctic marine mammals recently included analysis of the perspective of polar bear subsistence hunters in East Greenland.

Dancers posing on steps

Ethan Campbell (center) and members of 3rd Shift Dance.Xaviera Vandermay

Earlier Saturday is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between a Capitol Hill dance company and a UW climate scientist. In “Conversations,” starting outside Seattle Center’s Cornish Playhouse at 11 a.m. and finishing 12:45 p.m. at Pacific Science Center, 3rd Shift Dance will move throughout Seattle Center, performing a piece inspired by discussions between the choreographers and Ethan Campbell, a UW graduate student in oceanography who studies climate change in the ocean surrounding Antarctica.

The weekend lineup also will include the components that made Polar Science Weekend a perennial favorite: hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations and presentations by the people who explore the Arctic and Antarctic environments. Individual exhibits focus on penguins and polar bears, a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker, environment-themed video games created by UW students, and a look at the robots that explore underneath ice shelves.

New this year are more exhibits that explain climate change and explore options for alternative energy, with even a chance to build your own windmill blade. The exhibits are geared toward all ages; children can get a passport and collect 10 stamps to win a prize.

The activities are included with regular admission to the science center, which is discounted by 10 percent this weekend to anyone who presents a Husky ID card. Saturday evening’s lecture requires a separate ticket for nonmembers. The event builds on the popularity of Polar Science Weekend, which has been held annually since 2006.