The Maine Science Festival will come back after two years away due to the pandemic, from March 16–20. It is a program of the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor and will include more than 70 events and activities, many of which will feature University of Maine scientists. All events, except for the headliner performance, are free to the public. 

The MSF is like an arts or music festival, but for science. The five-day celebration showcases the science and technology happening in Maine in the format of an arts or music festival, with events for all ages. Through forums, workshops, talks, art exhibits, film screenings and hands-on activities, attendees learn about science happening and being used in Maine. Since 2015, MSF has had over 50,000 attend its events. 

UMaine faculty and students will be involved in a number of MSF events throughout the course of the festival. In addition, the university is sponsoring the Maine Science Festival Field Trip Day, which features curated events for nearly 600 middle school-aged students around the state, at the Cross Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 17.

Field Trip Day presenters at the event include UMaine Artificial Intelligence faculty and students; Sheila Pendse, communications and outreach at the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute, who is coordinating the “Ask me anything about Engineering” event; and Melissa Maginnis, associate professor of microbiology, who will conduct hands-on activities centered on viruses.

Tech Night is an event for middle school-aged students planned and presented by Project>Login that will take place starting at 4:30 p.m. on March 18 at the Maine Discovery Museum. At the event, there will be a presentation to explore the MIT App Inventor with team members from the UMaine Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development program, including Greg Kranich, Sheila Norman, and Emily Mott. Online registration is required prior to the event.

Danielle Levesque, assistant professor of mammalogy and mammalian health, and Fayeza Ahmed, assistant professor of adult and geriatric neuropsychology, health psychology and aging, will present at 5 Minute Genius, which features short, sharp talks by some of Maine’s finest scientists with five minutes per talk, plus five minutes for questions, at the Bangor Arts Exchange at 7:30 p.m. on March 18. 

The hands-on Exploration Station at the Cross Insurance Center starting at 9 a.m. on March 19 is sponsored in part by the Versant Power Astronomy Center. UMaine scientists will also be presenting at MSF forums at the Cross Insurance Center that day. Susanne Lee, faculty fellow at the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, will present at the Missing Links in Climate Change forum at 9:30 a.m. Liam Riordan, professor of history, will moderate a forum on Preserving and Managing Maine Forests at 12:30 p.m. Sean Birkel, research assistant professor at the Climate Change Institute, will present Introduction to Climate Reanalyzer, a data visualization website that provides access to climate and weather forecast models, at 1:30 p.m.

The Hudson Museum at the Collins Center for the Arts will feature two MSF art exhibits starting March 19 at 6 p.m. — Lessons from the Past: Cultural Collapse and Decline and Insects Everywhere! 

Lindsay Decker, science reference librarian at the Fogler Library, will host a forum called Information Overload about identifying and verifying scientific information on the Internet at 11:30 a.m. on March 20 at 51 Main Street, Bangor. Scarlett Tudor, education and outreach coordinator at UMaine’s Aquaculture Research Institute, also will host a workshop on Setting Up a Betta Tank for Success at 1 p.m. on March 20 at the Maine Discovery Museum; online registration is required for the workshop.

The headliner event for the MSF is a performance of The Warming Sea, an exploration of climate change through the lens of science and symphonic music composed by Grammy award-winner Lucas Richman at 7 p.m. on March 19 at UMaine’s Collins Center of the Arts. Tickets are $25 per person, or $10 for students.

The opening panel on climate change research in Maine will include Katherine Allen and Seth Campbell, both assistant professors in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences; and Jacquelyn Gill, associate professor of paleoecology and plant ecology. The reaction panel will include Birkel, Tudor and Heather Hamlin, associate professor and associate director of the School of Marine Sciences.

UMaine volunteers at MSF include Faith Erhardt, advisor of Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education and student volunteers from various groups.

The full programming for the festival can be found on the MSF website