Kelly Salmon, a Dartmouth College graduate student in biochemistry, knew she was destined for a career in the sciences from an early age.
As a kid, science was “pretty much always my favorite class,” she said in a phone interview last week.
Salmon now has the chance to share her love of science with other youngsters through her work as one of the organizers of Science Day at Dartmouth.
“The goal is to try to educate both kids and parents about the kind of research that scientists do in their neighborhood,” Salmon said.
In the process, Salmon said she hopes the free, drop-in style event, which this year will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., makes their work more approachable and exciting.
“It’s not something that’s kind of high-falutin and kind of removed from everyone,” she said.
The welcome table for the annual event will be located in the lobby of the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center, but activities will take place at 12 stations in nine departments: biology/biochemistry, chemistry, earth science, ecology and evolutionary biology, engineering, microbiology/immunology, physics and astronomy, quantitative biomedical sciences and neuroscience.
Salmon said new exhibits this year will include: a levitating train (a magnet hovering over a track) in the physics and astronomy department, a station for exploring the brain, another showing how antibodies target bacteria and a climate change station focused on weather patterns and flooding.
This year’s “Under the Microscope” exhibit will show participants how to tag different parts of a roundworm known as C. elegans. Graduate students will also demonstrate how to purify proteins and grow crystals showing the proteins’ structure. Members of the department of microbiology and immunology will demonstrate how bacteria freeze water and explain how this helps the bacteria eat plants.
Activities are geared for students in 5th through 10th grades, but in years past the event has attracted children as young as 6 and as old as 18, Salmon said. The event typically draws about 120 children. Salmon said organizers don’t keep track of the number of adults who attend. As of last Tuesday, 100 kids and 81 adults had already RSVP’d online, she said.
Participants are asked to park in the Dewey Field Lot, which is located at the intersection of North Park Street and Lyme Road/College Street.
Organizers suggest that participants bring a notebook in order to record data and observations as scientific researchers would.
For more information and directions or to RSVP, visit sites.dartmouth.edu/scienceday.
Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3213.