LAWRENCE — From sparking science curiosity in children through hands-on experiments to showcasing the excellence and variety of University of Kansas research at a local brewery, the KU Natural History Museum has a full slate of science-themed public events planned for fall.
Science On Tap, a long-running public science communication partnership with Free State Brewing Company, returns this fall, kicking off Sept. 28 with “Ancient Forests and the Origin of Flowering Plant-Dominated Ecosystems,” presented by Brian Atkinson, assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and curator of paleobotany at the KU Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum. The series features an engaging research presentation in Free State's beer hall, followed by a Q&A session. Other events in the series include physicist and University Distinguished Professor Alice Bean presenting “Adventures in the Subatomic Universe” on Oct. 26 and geographer and Dean’s Professor Jay Johnson, who will share “Iⁿ‘zhúje‘waxóbe: Rematriating the Sacred Red Rock” on Nov. 16. All Science On Tap events take place at Free State Brewing Company, 636 Massachusetts Street, and begin at 7:30 p.m.
The museum will also offer science events for youth, led by the museum’s outreach team and K-POP, the Kansas Postdoctoral Outreach Project, a group of KU postdoctoral researchers bringing science to life through fun, hands-on experiments. The series includes Germ Myth Busters on Oct. 8 and free K-POP Science Kits on Nov. 12. The kits will feature multiple experiments that children and families can easily do at home. All sessions are held outdoors, in front of the museum, noon-2 p.m.
A special Members’ Day for current and new museum members, will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Sept. 30, with tours of three research collections and a reception. Space is limited, and reservations are required. The public is invited to celebrate National Fossil Day at the museum from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 15. Visitors will be able to view paleontology specimens rarely seen by the public, learn about KU paleontology research and explore science activity stations for all ages.
The KU Natural History Museum is part of the KU Biodiversity Institute, a KU designated research center studying the biological diversity of the planet. The museum is open to the public 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday and is free, though donations are welcome. Learn more at biodiversity.ku.edu.
Image: Two young visitors peer into microscopes as a K-POP (Kansas Postdoctoral Outreach Project) team member provides instruction during a recent science event at the museum. Credit: Eleanor Gardner, KU Natural History Museum.