What do baseballs, robots; telescopes and chocolate have in common? They are part of a short roster of what Arizona’s first annual science and technology festival will bring people of all ages for family fun using science, technology and innovation. The nearly six-week-long ARIZONA SCITECH festival, taking place from late January through March 14, 2012, will showcase over 300 colorful events, demonstrations, tours, games, activities and workshops across the state featuring the career opportunities of the future and the latest technologies right here within our state’s borders.
Whether it’s the Mad Science of Baseball at Scottsdale’s Spring Training Festival, gazing at far-off stars through some of the world’s most powerful telescopes at Mesa Community College’ Astronomy Night, touring some of Arizona’s premiere technology companies at the Chandler Tech Crawl, meeting Galileo at the Arizona Renaissance Festival, seeing science come to life in Downtown Tucson or witnessing first-hand the illuminated works of art brought together by mixing art and science during Phoenix’ First-Friday Art and Science Fusions, there is something for everyone. Science is everywhere!
It has been said, that as Arizona’s science and technology fields continue to evolve, the state is positioned to receive greater recognition for its leadership, achievement and innovation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. According to a 2006 Morrison Institute study, 90 percent of Arizonans believe it is important for the state to seize national and international leadership in these fields, with nearly 2/3 of residents looking for ways to engage the scientific community.
The Arizona SciTech Festival will do just that. Science festivals, large celebrations of science and technology, establish science as part of local culture and connect science professionals with the public. The grassroots initiative is aimed at exciting and informing Arizonans of all ages about how science, technology and innovation will drive the state well into the next century through a series of hands-on activities and workshops, conversations and debates, stunning exhibitions, concerts, guided walks and tours. Spearheaded by the Arizona Technology Council Foundation in partnership with Arizona State University and Arizona Science Center, the Festival is a collaborative effort involving over 250 public and private organizations from industry, business, education, arts and culture, philanthropy and the community working together to highlight the scientific and technological innovations occurring throughout Arizona; build excitement among students for STEM opportunities; and attract industry and opportunity to Arizona.
Under the theme The Next 100 Years of Innovation, the first Arizona SciTech Festival launches in concert with the state’s 2012 Centennial celebration. Modeled on San Diego’s highly-successful Science Festival, more than 300 activities will take place in diverse neighborhoods throughout Arizona with events highlighting the innovative character of each region (e.g. aerospace, technology, and bioscience) through exhibitions and shows. Additionally, the Festival includes up to 20 neighborhood science hubs providing workshops and discussions in neighborhood locations as well as in-field experiences at science and technology facilities throughout the state. To complement community learning opportunities, the Festival also will include in-school projects, workshops and competitions.
The Arizona SciTech Festival will help the state position itself as an emerging world leader in science, technology and innovation as it showcases collaboration between scientific, education and business communities, builds excitement for STEM education and inspires a generation of Arizonans to become leaders and innovators in science and technology.