Scores of teenagers can be found waiting outside the Bankhead Theater in Livermore, Calif., early on Saturday mornings throughout the month of February, hoping for a seat to one of the city’s longest running feature presentations, Science on Saturday. The crowd gathers for stars, light and chemistry on stage – all part of science presentations given by leading researchers from NNSA’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and local high school teachers providing demonstrations to integrate the concepts into practice.
"The enthusiasm for the program is gratifying," said Dr. Joanna Albala, manager of LLNL's Science Education Program. “Many students attend all four presentations in the series, and the house is always packed.”
The lab offered its first feature lecture series in 1994 aiming to inspire interest and knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among middle and high school students and the community. Admission to the lectures is free, with two presentations given each Saturday in the series. The Lab has also extended the Science on Saturday series to a second location at The Grand Theatre Center for the Arts in Tracy, Calif.
The presentations give students and the public a first-hand look into cutting-edge research being conducted at the Lab. The lectures have featured LLNL’s work on making medical diagnostic tools more usable, study of the planet Mercury, early life on earth and protection of livestock.
The Science on Saturday series that began in February—themed “Women in STEM”—features female LLNL researchers discussing fusion, statistics, medical microchips, and LLNL’s recent discovery of new elements.
Many Science on Saturday lectures are available for streaming online from the University of California Television network. This service is available free of charge. For those attending in person, LLNL recommends attendees get in line early, as seating is first-come, first-serve. Directions, maps and a complete list of lectures are available on the Science on Saturday website.