UWM Shines During Wisconsin Science Festival

Nearly 600 people watched as UWM faculty and industry partners joined in hands-on demonstrations during the Wisconsin Science Festival, co-sponsored by Kohler, in the Milwaukee area in October.

UWM’s 10 free shows offered something for everyone, from a blend of theater and stargazing to a re-creation of Iron Age mead-making. Two additional shows entertained 250 high school and middle school students who dove into where ideas come from and also learned about historic milestones in weather forecasting.

The Science Festival is held statewide in October, and this is the second year UWM has hosted shows in the Milwaukee area. The purpose: to expose the public to the wonders that spring from academic research and show them how it touches their lives.

For the first time this year UWM participated in a show in Racine, partnering with SC Johnson for a tour and lecture on the early inspirations of Wisconsin architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the office tower at the company’s headquarters in 1936.

Another first was a show that UWM professors gave off campus, partnering with Wisconsin Lutheran College for “Big Ideas for Busy People.” The show, hosted by L&S Dean Rodney Swain, featured seven UWM professors and one from Wisconsin Lutheran, all from different fields and each presenting in only five minutes a provocative idea that came from their research. Nearly all of those attending came from the surrounding suburbs.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of UWM’s first doctoral program, UWM doctoral students took this same “big idea” show to two Milwaukee coffeehouses with great success. Audiences enjoyed their java with the fast-paced, variety-show atmosphere. The UWM doctoral student presenters showed why UWM is top-tier research institution.

Festival-goers also had a chance to taste a kind of beer that Iron Age Europeans brewed. In “Power Drinking in Prehistoric Europe,” anthropology professor Bettina Arnold explained how she discovered the ingredients used to make this alcoholic beverage. She then partnered with the Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery to re-create the vintage recipe.