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Saturday, May 3, 2014
Registration opens at 10:00 a.m.
Activities from 10:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue at 66th Street
New York, NY 10065

Tickets are limited and must be
purchased in advance. Participants
must be age 6 or older. Children
ages 6-13 must be accompanied
by an adult.

For more information, e-mail:
Or contact:
Ms. Amy Harris
Director, Parents & Science Initiative

The Rockefeller University gratefully
acknowledges the following Science
Saturday supporters:

Lead Corporate Sponsor:

Additional support is also provided by
Sidney R. Knafel and Londa Weisman,
Martin and Sarah Leibowitz, the Lubin Family Foundation, the Steinman Family Foundation, and

Special thanks to FreshDirect and
Olympus Scientific Solutions Americas





The Science of Life

  • MicroscopeWorm Race! How Genes Affect Behavioral Traits
    Under a microscope, look at different types of tiny C. elegans worms, both normal and mutant, to explore how genes can affect behavior.
    OBJECTIVE: To examine the link between genetics (genotype) and behavior/abilities (phenotype).
  • Power Plants: Photosynthesis in Action
    Use algae to see photosynthesis in action!
    OBJECTIVE: To educate kids on the concept of photosynthesis.
  • AntsMosquito Mania
    Learn about the behavior of mosquitos with a mosquito scientist!
    OBJECTIVE: To highlight the social behaviors of insects and other animals.
  • The Secret Lives of Ants
    Learn how ants live by observing ant colonies collected right from our campus!
    OBJECTIVE: To highlight the social behaviors of insects and other animals.
  • Natural Selection in Action!
    How does the environment affect the success of a species?
    OBJECTIVE: To explain how species adapt to the environment – a process that is necessary for survival.
  • DNABananas Have It Just Like Us!
    DNA is the molecule of life, and you will be able to isolate it from a banana!
    OBJECTIVE: To give a visual sense of DNA and how you get it out of a cell.
  • The Skin You’re In!
    What is the function of skin? Take a look firsthand with Dr. Dan’s special microscope.
    OBJECTIVE: To explain the functions and attributes of our largest organ.
  • MiniPCR
    Tainted patties - burger lovers beware! Solve a food poisoning outbreak using molecular biology

    Join the team at MiniPCR as they try to solve a forensics mystery:
    "New York, NY. A maker of frozen patties has recalled more than 180,000 lbs. of products after some were linked to cases of enterohemorrhagic E. coli infection". "Ready-to-eat salad producer has recalled products in several states, USDA says."
    Headlines like these are commonplace in today's industrialized food system and scientists are routinely called into action to track the sources of infection. In this activity you will help the USDA identify the source of an E.coli outbreak in burgers. You will use the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect bacterial DNA in food samples followed by cutting the DNA with molecular scissors (a.k.a. restriction enzymes). Then you will run your samples on a gel that can separate DNA by size. This will allow you to distinguish between harmful and non-toxic bacteria collected from different meat-processing plants. After completing this activity you will receive an official miniPCR Scientist badge - you will have done exactly what an USDA scientist would do in a case like this! You will do all of this using miniPCR, a novel, personal, and affordable DNA analysis tool conceived by molecular biologists for science education.

The Brain

  • BrainThe Brainscape
    Explore the differences and similarities of brains from different animal species, and see a sheep brain dissection!
    OBJECTIVE: To explore the relationship of neuroanatomy and behaviors/environmental pressures.
  • Neurons are Shocking!
    Explore how we run on electricity using a Spiker box and a live cockroach!
    OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the concept of action potential.
  • Project Brainflight
    Help scientists map how nerve cells are connected in the brain by playing video games!
    OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate neurotransmission and how we need a continued stimulus to enhance the response.
  • Mission Control: Neurons as Messengers
    Find out how your brain communicates with your body by building models of brain cells!
    OBJECTIVE: To explain synaptic transmission.
  • The Nose Knows!
    Guess the flavor of jelly beans with your eyes covered or while holding your nose. Record your results and compare with others!
    OBJECTIVE: To show how the senses are linked – all sensory input leads to the brain! Also to demonstrate data collection and visualization.

Technology and Engineering

  • Imagination Station
    Enjoy our free play maker space, and let imaginations soar!
  • Electrical Engineering: Resistance is Futile
    Be an electrical engineer for a day and make your own gadgets!
  • NYC Makery Workshop
    Come make and launch your own rocket! Your mission is to make a rocket using paper and tape, and then use our computer controlled launch pad to send your rocket far into the sky. Using the MaKey MaKey controller and the Scratch programming language, you'll get to experiment with a custom designed human-computer-rocket interface to launch your spacecraft far into the sky. Get ready for launch. 3... 2...1... Blast Off!

    This experience brought to you by the NYC Makery, a community incubator for knowledge and creativity. We are a collective of technologists and educators who are passionate about spreading the joy and empowerment of creative expression with technology. Through our pop-up makerspaces we invite children, adults, families, companies, and other groups to tinker and explore with digital design, fabrication, and physical computing. For more information, please visit
  • Civil Engineering Maker Space
    Use spaghetti and marshmallows to build a structure—and then see what it can withstand!
  • Tours of Fabrication Facility
    (every half hour, beginning at 11:00 a.m.)
    Join RU’s expert engineer Kunal Shah to see how a design from a computer document can be made into a real object using a laser cutter and/or a 3D printer!
  • Tours of the Bio-Imaging Center
    (every half hour, beginning at 11:00 a.m.)
    Come and visit the Bio-Imaging Center, where we use million-dollar microscopes to look inside all types of specimens, from cells and organs to whole organisms. You will see cells stained with a rainbow of brightly fluorescent dyes tagging different proteins so that we can follow their movements during important biological processes such as development and disease. Sit at the microscope and make a movie of organisms dashing around the coverslip faster than an athlete or see all the nerves of an embryo lit up in a dazzling 3D network.

Chemistry and Physics

  • The Deep Freeze: Playing with Liquid Nitrogen (demonstrations every 15 minutes)
    Learn how super cold temperatures affect matter!
    OBJECTIVE: To show how cold temperatures can affect molecular arrangement.
  • The Chemistry of Tie Dye (CRC B-level)
    Learn about acids and bases while making your own tie-dyed RockU t-shirt!
    OBJECTIVE: To use tie dying to teach about acids and bases.
  • Ice creamThe Ice Cream Experiment (CRC A-level)
    Freezing point depression never tasted so good!
    OBJECTIVE: To illustrate freezing point depression, a colligative property of matter.
  • Fermi Questions: Guess Like a Scientist!
    Learn to reason through problems with order of magnitude estimations and to make valid assumptions, as first described in examples by physicist Enrico Fermi.
  • Make Safety Your Middle Name
    What is the difference between safe and dangerous chemicals? Our Laboratory Safety and Environmental Health Team is on the case!
    OBJECTIVE: To emphasize the importance of safety in research and introduce the science of environmental health and safety.
  • The Intergalactic Travel Bureau
    The Intergalactic Travel Bureau is a live, interactive experience that explores the incredible possibilities of space travel. It's a bit like Space X and Virgin Galactic meet the Jetsons and Mad Men. Join our astronomers and specialized travel agents to plan the vacation of a lifetime - to another planet. And, if you can't take the time off to go to Jupiter, we'll give you your very own, free space-art!

Research Opportunities

  • Poster Session by Science Outreach Participants
    See experiments that high school students in your own community have participated in—and how you could do the same!
  • Information about RU 
    Learn more about the Summer Science Research Program, the Summer Neuroscience Program, Rockefeller University, and the Parents & Science initiative.
  • Citizen Science and the Cockroach!
    Learn how to become better informed about how you can contribute to the advancement of science through everyday activities—even from your home.
  • Sushigate
    Hear the story of how a group of students made a shocking discovery about the fish we really get at sushi restaurants through the use of molecular biology.

Richard Lifton, M.D., Ph.D.
The Rockefeller University

Parents & Science
Faculty Advisor

Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D.
Alfred E. Mirsky Professor
Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch
Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology

Parents & Science Leadership


Daniella Lipper Coules
Talbott Simonds

Steering Committee

Rebecca Anikstein
John Bernstein
Charles W. Caulkins
Karen de Saint Phalle
Blair Pillsbury Enders
Wendy Ettinger
Kathy Heinzelman
Tania Neild, Ph.D.
Ilona Nemeth
Marean Pompidou
Courtney Smith Rae
Loli Echavarria Roosevelt
Kimberly Kravis Schulhof
Roxy Zajac

Scientific Advisory Council

Evelyn Attia, M.D.
BJ Casey, Ph.D.
Myron Hofer, M.D.
Ilene Sackler Lefcourt
Margaret McCarthy, Ph.D.
Richard Nisbett, Ph.D.
Michael Thompson, Ph.D.

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