Explore over 170 virtual and in-person events at the 11th annual Wisconsin Science Festival

Explore over 170 virtual and in-person events at the 11th annual Wisconsin Science Festival

Display at Wisconsin Science Festival


From “magic” mushrooms to a celebration of the stars, the 2021 Wisconsin Science Festival is back in full swing October 21-24. This year’s festival will feature more than 170 events in over 30 counties throughout Wisconsin.

Activities include a variety of in-person and virtual activities including hands-on science experiments, Q&As with scientists, demonstrations, performances, readings and more—along with take-home activities such as Science in a Bag.

Laura Heisler, director of the festival and programming for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the Morgridge Institute for Research, says the festival is the perfect event to engage youth in science.

“I think it’s a way of having fun with science,” Heisler says. “Getting to talk with scientists who look like you do and who can share their experiences is a hallmark of the festival. There aren’t that many opportunities for kids, and adults for that matter, to get to talk to scientists and share their passion.”

The festival will kick off with Big Ideas for Busy People: How Do We Know What We Know – The Role of Evidence in Advancing Understanding, a fast-paced event featuring five-minute talks from some of UW-Madison’s biggest brains. Big Ideas has been one of the most popular events for the past several years, and this year our scientists will delve into the role evidence plays in our scientific discoveries. This year’s panel includes Morgridge Investigator in regenerative biology Phil Newmark, who tackles the question: How do we know how animals develop?

Sam Mulrooney, program manager for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, has worked tirelessly alongside the Madison Central Business Improvement District to bring back Science on the Square. This year, Science on the Square will be joined by the Madison Night Market for a night you won’t want to miss.

“Science is everywhere, and the Night Market in downtown Madison is the perfect place to showcase it,” Mulrooney says. “Meeting people where they are and highlighting the science and art that happens all around us is what makes this event so unique and accessible. Science on the Square has always been one of the most inspiring parts of the Festival for me.”

Event Highlights