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Be Prepared for the Rock Fest of the Year at the Singapore Science Festival

July 19, 2014 Destination ASEAN No Comments Email Email

The Singapore Science Festival (SSF) is back for the fourteenth year, bringing back crowd favourites such as X-periment!, the Singapore Mini Maker Faire and the STAR Lecture, alongside several celebrity science performers and exciting new events.

Opening tomorrow, the yearly celebration of everything science and technology, co-organised by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Singapore Science Centre, is set to continue rocking young minds and pushing further the buttons of curiosity.

This is in line with Singapore’s increasingly broad-based approach towards the learning of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) subjects. A deep interest in STEM motivates thinking, curiosity and innovation, principles that will help the adults of tomorrow navigate and adapt to a rapidly changing world. With an aim to cultivate and groom the next generation of STEM practitioners in Singapore, SSF 2014 aims to bring STEMLow_SSF1407171 subjects to life through interesting and fun play, observation and hands-on experiences. 

Introducing the Rock Star Scientists of Singapore Science Festival 2014

Differentiating itself from previous editions, this year’s SSF will take on a fresh theme, You Can be a Rock Star with Science. The festival will celebrate scientists who are rock stars in their own right, making a difference to the world we live in, and changing the way we learn science. 

These include Rhys Thomas, an entertainer from the UK who leverages Physics for his performances, as well as Dr. Alison Woollard from Britain’s Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. Thomas’ “Science Circus” show will feature interactive comedy and high level circus tricks, all based on the laws of Physics, while Dr. Woollard, a University Lecturer in Genetics from the Biochemistry Department at the University of Oxford, will be presenting the STAR Lecture on how cells grow, divide and die. 

Local researchers such as Dr. Jonathan Loh from A*STAR’s Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), and Dr. Alexander Van Herk from A*STAR’s Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES) will also be featured in the SSF events. Dr. Loh, who will be participating in this year’s STAR Lecture, was part of the team that recently developed a method to generate stem cells from a single drop of finger-pricked blood which could lead to extensive stem cell banking for research and medical studies, while Dr. Van Herk will be demonstrating through chemistry the magic behind the beautiful colours in fireworks, how rocket fuel works, how a glow stick gives out light and how to light a sugar cube, among other tricks in the Spectacular Chemistry science show, another event of the SSF. 

Professor Alfred Huan, Executive Director of the A*STAR Graduate Academy, said: “The SSF shows that science is not confined to the laboratory. The SSF events make science accessible to the public, and help both researchers and the population at large to better understand the role of science not only in everyday life, but in Singapore’s economy and development. We want the public to enjoy interacting with the researchers and to appreciate the significance of the work they do, so that more will see that science is the way to the future.” 

Reaching Out to Singapore’s Young

Daring to cross boundaries into the unconventional, this year’s SSF promises to answer the age-old question, “Where do babies come from?” Sex Cells, a tongue-in-cheek musical targeted at youth, will help its audience to understand how life comes about scientifically through song, dance and funny characters such as the Champion Sperm and the Egg. This musical is specially written for the SSF 2014 by Associate Professor (A/P) Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive, Science Centre Singapore, and will be presented by theatre group, theVoice,

Continuing the journey to educate young minds, the Singapore Science Festival will also present for the first time, Science Ahoy! This science voyage will take the young through a series of experiments across the various categories of science. Participants will get the chance to fill the shoes of a Chemist, a Food scientist, a geologist, a physicist and more as they solve problems on board the Science Ahoy! cruise. 

Returning Favourites 

Well-attended events from previous years such as the X-periment! Carnival, GeneFest and the Mini Makers Faire are set to return better than before. The X-periment! Carnival will once again provide an opportunity for both adults and kids to learn more about science through interactive, hands-on experiments set up by the universities, research institutes, polytechnics and companies. Carnival goers will get a chance to see how a heart works in the flesh through a 4D heart simulation at A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) booth, as well as leverage a trash can as a weapon spitting air vortex shells to knock over foam cups and empty plastic bottles at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences’ booth. This year, X-periment! will also feature performances by ‘The Dancing Scientist’, Jeffrey Vinokur from the USA. As the name implies, the Dancing Scientist boasts a juxtaposition of education and entertainment in his show, “So You Think You Can Do Science”. SSF is extremely proud to be the first host for “So You Think You Can Do Science” in Asia. 

GeneFest returns again this year, giving participants the chance to be trainee doctors for a day in a ‘medical academy’. As part of their training, participants will not only learn what real doctors do when diagnosing heart disease, diabetes and fractures, they will even get the chance to try out blood analysis and bacteria plating, among other activities. 

To encourage the growing trend and celebration of the Do-It-Yourself culture, SSF will present for the third year running, the Singapore Mini Maker Faire, a showcase of people and the work that they love doing at two different places – UTown at NUS and the Senja Cashew Community Centre. The Faire will feature cardboard sculptor Bartholomew Ting’s 3D cardboard dinosaur sculptures which have been exhibited at several locations across Singapore. Besides these sculptures, the Faire will also feature home-made robots and spark machines. 

Partners Help Bring Science to the Masses

Joining A*STAR and the Science Centre Singapore in their aim to bring science to everyone are over 50 partners which includes tourist attractions, education institutions and local community groups. This year, the SSF partners will be offering a number of partner initiatives that take participants behind the scenes. 

One exclusive initiative is Be a Panda Researcher by the River Safari, where participants will get to experience taking care of the River Safari’s treasured pandas. From identifying panda tracks, to examining panda poo and paw prints, the Be a Panda Researcher programme promises to help participants understand the bears and their habits. The South East Asia (S.E.A.) Aquarium has also specially organised six Feeding Frenzy Trails during the period of SSF, where participants will be able to get a private viewing of the aquarium before opening hours. Participants will follow the S.E.A. Aquarium’s Marine Guides to prepare food for the aquarium’s inhabitants and perhaps even get to feed the fishes in their different habitats. The Be a Panda Researcher programme and the Feeding Frenzy Trail are just two of several partner events, activities and exhibitions that help to extend the experience of the Singapore Science Festival. 

“An interest in science and education played a major role in changing my life. As such, igniting the spark of interest in science and technology is a topic close to my heart. At the same time, I’m a strong believer that the future of Singapore is very much dependent on its citizens embracing STEM at all levels. This year’s SSF revamps the way we look at scientists today – whether they are celebrities, citizen scientists, budding scientists or established ones – and reinforces the fact that science is fun and fulfilling,” said A/P Lim. 

The Singapore Science Festival 2014 opens tomorrow, and will run till 3 August.

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