The World Science Festival: Highlights and ‘Hi, WTF?’


Yesterday, the third annual World Science Festival culminated a week’s worth of events and gatherings in Washington Square by converting the entire park into a giant science fair. There were people dressed up as dinosaurs and robot wars; the Philadelphia Zoo even paid a visit. While most of the booths were geared toward getting kids excited about math and science, some may have been, um, developmentally inappropriate for children.

On the tame side of things, there were lessons on energy. The faster you bike, the more lightbulbs that light.

And the circular fountain area demonstrated the solar system.

There was even a booth dedicated to the scientific wonders of liquid mass. (Spoiler: Water is heavier than oil.)

But speaking of things that don’t mix, here is a picture of a group of children looking at a dummy that has been bludgeoned “to death” in the forensic sciences section. Looks like we have some little Horatio Caines in the making!

“Daddy, what’s stabbing mean?”
“Uh, to stab someone means to stick something sharp into their bodies, like a knife, possibly injuring the person, or in this guy’s case, killing him.”
[Kid drops his sucker]

Also, in merchandise, here’s a stuffed animal sperm cell with googly eyes. Because reproductive microbes are just fuzzy little creatures, made of cotton and rayon, that you can cuddle up with at night when you’re scared and all alone.

Curious. Of course, the World Science Festival means well, but we’re not so sure that fluffy sperm and fatally assaulted dummies are the best way to enthuse children in the sciences. At least not in the right way.