UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — “It’s an art, not a science,” is a popular English idiom — but Penn State’s booth at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts will explore the art of science, the science of art, and where these two fields meet and overlap, through a series of free, thought-provoking demonstrations.
Join Penn State at “The Art of Discovery,” the University’s booth at the festival, to learn how art detectives use technology to solve art history mysteries; make your own handmade paints the way early humans did hundreds of thousands of years ago; learn about the bizarre science behind zombie ants; explore mankind’s relationship to plastics, and more!
“The Art of Discovery” will be located next to the Willard Building on the University Park campus, and will be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Thursday, July 12, through Saturday, July 14. Festival-goers of all ages, including families and children, are encouraged to stop by to enjoy hands-on activities and demonstrations from educators and students from across Penn State.
On Thursday, July 12, visitors to the booth will be able to enjoy:
— "FaceAge," a multimedia installation by Andrew Belser, Penn State professor of movement, voice and acting, that brings together the young and the old for a generation-spanning investigation into what it means to be human. FaceAge will bring generations together between 10 a.m. and noon.
— The “Art Detective,” Maggie Davis, a recent Penn State graduate who will discuss how she used electron microscopes and x-rays to solve the mystery behind one of the Palmer Museum of Art's paintings, with the help of Palmer Museum curator Patrick McGrady and Penn State materials scientist Vince Bojan. They’ll be on the case from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
— “In Real Life Throwback Thursday” with the Penn State Libraries, who will quiz festival-goers on trivia from the University’s illustrious history, complete with the chance to win cool prizes. Test your knowledge between 3 and 5 p.m.
— “The Sound of Data” with Mark Ballora, a Penn State computer music researcher and composer who has collaborated with scientists to turn datasets into sound and music. Learn what data sounds like between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Stop by on Friday, July 13, to learn about:
— “The Zombie Ant Experience,” a ground-breaking multimedia instillation that explores the strange science behind "zombie ants" — ants who have been infected by a parasitic fungus that takes over their bodies against their will. The "zombie apocalypse" will take place between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
— “AstroFest,” an event hosted by the Penn State Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics that will let visitors get a hands-on experience with meteorites, learn about space through an educational video game, and scan the sky using a high-powered telescope. Explore the final frontier between 2 and 4 p.m.
— “Seeing Without Sight,” a demonstration from Vijay Narayanan, distinguished professor of computer science and engineering, who has worked with everyone from neuroscientists to undergraduate students to develop a wearable smart glove, known as the Third Eye device, that helps the visually impaired accomplish tasks that others might take for granted. Open up the Third Eye between 5 and 7 p.m.
And don’t miss these demonstrations on Saturday, July 14:
— Mankind’s relationship with plastics will be explored through the lens of both art and science by Professor of Geography and Ecology Denice Wardrop, as a follow-up to the Palmer Museum of Art’s record breaking “Plastic Entanglements” exhibition. Learn about how mankind is entangled with plastics between 10 a.m. and noon.
— Create your own prehistoric paints with Claire Cleveland, doctoral candidate in paleobiology, who will explain how early humans made the paints that still adorn cave walls around the world and walk festival-goers through the process of making their own paints out of natural ingredients, including iron oxide and honey. Make your own prehistoric masterpiece between 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.
— “Life on the Reef,” a presentation from Penn State coral scientists on the food web and biodiversity of coral reefs, complete with real coral skeletons, educational games, and the chance to build your very own reef. Learn about life under the sea from 3 to 5 p.m.
— Immersive technologies and augmented reality, with Professor of Geography Alex Klippel and his team of graduate students, who have created a suite of high-tech tools that break down the University's famous Obelisk into its component pieces, explores geography through augmented reality, and more. Get immersed between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.