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UT News

Texas Science Festival Will Inspire Texans Through Scientific Discovery

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AUSTIN, Texas — Science and research will take center stage at the next Texas Science Festival from Feb. 21 to March 4, offering Texans the opportunity to engage with, understand, and become invigorated by scientific discovery.

Sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin, the hybrid festival will feature scientists, authors and innovators both virtually and in person at UT locations, including the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas. The festival will feature panels, podcasts, storytelling, activities and social events that explore everything from medical breakthroughs and energy innovation to understanding outer space — and even the science of barbecue and bluebonnets.

“Research and discovery are at the heart of everything we do at UT Austin,” said David Vanden Bout, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, which will host the event. “Our work leads to a new understanding of the world every day. Through the Texas Science Festival, we hope to share that sense of discovery — and a sense of awe — with Texans who are science enthusiasts or have a thirst for learning more.”

Highlights of the festival will include:

  • Discussions on pressing global topics such as developing RSV vaccines, creating ethical artificial intelligence, and achieving health equity.
  • Coordinated programming with Texas programs and channels, including TEDxUTAustin, STEM Girl Day, a Hot Science – Cool Talks public talk on climate change and a KUT Two Guys on Your Head podcast on the psychology, science and performance of play.
  • Conversations with writers, including Ed Yong, author of “An Immense World,” Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of “Braiding Sweetgrass,” and Gregory Zuckerman, author of “A Shot to Save the World.
  • Texas-themed sessions that explore topics as diverse as coastal shorebirds and eclipse watching in the Lone Star State and a Texas Independence Day panel on the science of iconic pieces of Texas, including food and flora.
  • Astronomy discussions where attendees will “glimpse the early universe,” hear about research from the James Webb Space Telescope, and take a tour of deep sky views with the McDonald Observatory livestreaming from its powerful West Texas telescope.

“We look forward to showcasing discoveries from a number of disciplines, hosting experts from around the world and providing opportunities for Texans to engage with the university in an exciting, educational way,” said Sharon L. Wood, executive vice president and provost. “The Texas Science Festival supports our academic mission and reflects our aspiration to be the world’s highest-impact public research university.”

The Texas Science Festival was launched as a virtual event in 2021 to create opportunities for Texans to connect with science and research during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is being relaunched and reimagined this year as a hybrid event open to science enthusiasts from around the state and the world.

The event is organized along tracks that align with UT Austin’s research priorities, as laid out in its 10-year strategic plan “Change Starts Here”: Energy & The Environment, Health & Wellbeing and Technology & Society. That plan redoubles UT’s commitment to discovery and engaging with the people of Texas.

All events are free and open to the public. The schedule and registration can be found at sciencefest.utexas.edu.