Cambridge Science Festival 2014



  • April 18 – 27 | Regular Exhibit Halls Hours
  • Offering Format: Public Event
  • Recommended for grades Pre-K – 12 and adults
  • Various locations in and near the Museum
  • Events are free or free with Exhibit Halls admission; see additional information


Did you know that the world's largest air-insulated Van de Graaff generator (star of our famous Lightning! show) was developed in Cambridge? Learn about this and more during this year's Cambridge Science Festival, a celebration showcasing science, technology, engineering, and math in one of the strongest hubs of STEM in the United States — Cambridge!

Though half of the Museum is located in Boston, the whole institution will be abuzz with activities during this week-long series of events. Learn more about the week's offerings in the city.

See below for activities taking place here at the Museum of Science all week.

Photo © Nicolaus Czarnecki

Additional Information

Cahners ComputerPlace Programming Maze

Saturday and Sunday, April 19 – 20 and 26 – 27: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Blue Wing, Level 1

You are the computer! Create a program to collect fruit. Explore how you can make your program more efficient while still completing the harvesting mission. Cost: Free with Exhibit Halls Admission

Design Challenges

Friday, April 18 – Sunday, April 27: 10:30 am – 12:30 pm and 1:30 – 3:30 pm Blue Wing, Level 1

Participate in a hands-on activity to learn all about the engineering design cycle. By designing, building, and testing a prototype solution to a given problem, you'll enjoy a fun, engaging experience with engineering and innovation processes. Cost: Free with Exhibit Halls Admission

Soaring Satellites Design Challenge

Friday, April 25: 1:30 – 3:30 pm Atrium

Working in small teams, try to build a satellite that can float for at least five seconds in the marked area of one of our vertical wind tubes. Think about and explore the concepts of lift and weight as you try to adapt your satellite to hover between the lines. Cost: Free

Defending the Cell: Engineering Antivirals

Friday, April 25: 1:30 – 3:30 pm The Learning Center Classroom, Concourse near Garage Entrance

Engineers design more than just computers, cell phones, and electronics. In fact, they are responsible for the design of almost everything around us, from paper cups to the pavement under our feet. There are many global challenges that engineers face, including engineering antivirals to stop illness in its tracks. Using a model cell in the form of a snow tube, and viruses made of cups and Velcro, use your creativity, teamwork, and problem-solving skills to alter a "virus" so it cannot attach to, and infect, a cell. Cost: Free

Lightning! Presentation

Friday, April 18 – Sunday, April 27: 1:00 – 1:20 pm and 3:00 – 3:20 pm Theater of Electricity, Blue Wing, Level 1

Indoor bolts spark explorations into lightning, electric charge, and storm safety using the Museum's giant Van de Graaff Generator, invented in Cambridge! Cost: Free with Exhibit Halls Admission

Hands-On Laboratory

Tuesday, April 22 and Thursday, April 24: 10:30 am – 12:30 pm and 2:00 – 4:00 pm; Wednesday, April 23 and Friday, April 25: 2:00 – 4:00 pm; Saturday, April 26: 1:30 – 4:00 pm Suit/Cabot Lab, Red Wing, Lower Level

Explore the sciences — from chemistry to genetics to nanotechnology to microbiology — using many of the same tools and techniques as real scientists. Stop by for ongoing activities and conduct real experiments. Cost: Free

The Amazing Nano Brothers Juggling Show

Saturday, April 19: 12:00 – 12:40 pm and 2:00 – 2:40 pm Cahners Theater, Blue Wing, Level 2

Fun for the whole family, this comedy show is all about the mysteries of matter — including atoms, molecules, and nanotechnology. Join brothers Dan and Joel as they juggle everything from potted plants to tennis rackets, sometimes from atop seven-foot unicycles! Cost: Free with Exhibit Halls Admission

Solar Lunch

Friday, April 18 – Sunday, April 27: 12:00 – 1:00 pm (weather permitting) Front Plaza

Observe the Sun and possibly sunspots and solar flares through the Museum's safe solar telescope. Cost: Free

For Preschoolers: Live Animal Story Time Presentation

Saturday, April 19 – Sunday, April 27: 10:30 am – 10:50 am Shapiro Family Science Live! Stage, Green Wing, Lower Level

Hear a story and meet its animal star in a presentation made especially for our younger visitors. Cost: Free with Exhibit Halls Admission

Living Laboratory

Saturday, April 19 and 26: 1:00 – 4:00 pm; Monday, April 21, Wednesday, April 23, and Friday, April 25: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm Hall of Human Life exhibit

Check out our Living Laboratory® program where you can be a part of science as it happens, talk to a researcher, or take part in hands-on activities based on completed experiments. Learn about science by seeing how researchers study human biology, health, cognition, and learning. Cost: Free with Exhibit Halls Admission

Boston Marathon® Activities

Saturday, April 19: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Throughout the Exhibit Halls

Do you like to run? Know someone who does? Or do you just like to learn about the science behind endurance running and training? Learn what it takes to train for a long distance race like the Boston Marathon®. Enjoy interpretations with Museum staff and volunteers, guest speakers on our Gordon Current Science & Technology Center stage, and all the human biology-related components within our new permanent exhibition, the Hall of Human Life. Cost: Free with Exhibit Halls Admission

Other events being hosted at the Museum:

Powers of Ten by the North Cambridge Family Opera Company

Sunday, April 27: 5:00 – 7:00 pm Cahners Theater, Blue Wing, Level 2

Powers of Ten is a collection of songs exploring sizes of things in the universe from sub-atomic to cosmic. Written by British composer David Haines, Powers of Ten was inspired by the Charles and Ray Eames movie of the same name. The songs are performed by a large multigenerational chorus, accompanied by Mr. Haines on piano, and enhanced by a slideshow of children's artwork. It's music with a scientific spin at a performance the whole family will enjoy. Cost: Free

Sound Science Fun!

Friday, April 18: 5:30 – 6:15 pm and 6:30 – 7:15 pm Shapiro Family Science Live! Stage, Green Wing, Lower Level

Audience members are invited to sing along to songs including "I’m a Body Symphony," "Wonderful Things About Strings," and "No Matter How You Twist It, It’s Still a Horn." Participate through demos, sing-alongs, and "move-alongs" that help demonstrate the science of sound. Cost: Free with Exhibit Halls Admission

Science Theater

Monday, April 21: 11:30 – 11:50 am; 2:30 – 2:50 pm Shapiro Family Science Live! Stage, Green Wing, Lower Level

The scientist-performers of Science from Scientists hit the stage in exciting, dramatic, educational, and engaging performances for all ages. See astounding chemical reactions, remarkable feats of physics, and amazing demonstrations of the properties and mechanics that make science, technology, and life itself possible. Read more about their award winning not-for-profit educational programming. Cost: Free with Exhibit Halls Admission