Visit the UC Berkeley STEM Zone!

Science at Cal is proud to help organize and promote the UC Berkeley STEM community at the Bay Area Science Festival Discovery Day, which helps us share our amazing science and research with thousands of people around the region. Find us in booths P19 and P21 in the “UC Berkeley STEM Zone” on the Promenade with the following Departments and Student Groups April 24, 2022 at Oracle Park for Discovery Day San Francisco! Science at Cal will serve as a hub for all things UC Berkeley at Discovery Day, and we’ll be presenting an activity of our own.  

Featuring these UC Berkeley Groups:

Science at Cal

Brain Games

See how our complex human brains can be fooled with just a few sheets of paper and movement! In this activity, participants design, build, and test an optical illusion of their own. The optical illusion occurs when we are tricked into seeing two separate images as one image when the images switch rapidly. This is due to something called “persistence of vision” the same phenomenon that allows your brain to stitch the individual frames of a movie scene together into one seamless movement in your mind. Put your creativity and brain to the test at the Science at Cal exhibitor booth!

UC Berkeley RadWatch & DoseNet

Radiation in your environment

Use hand-held radiation sensors that will demonstrate that there is radiation in our environment all around and explore potential sources. With these devices, we will demonstrate how different sources of radiation can be identified and how levels of naturally occurring background radiation may vary from place to place. Make real-time measurements of radiation, CO2 and air quality levels and see how those compare to what is considered safe and learn about the health and environmental impacts in each case.

Society of Physics Students (SPS)

Explore Fun Physics!

Explore interesting physical concepts such as electricity, magnetism, optics, pressure, and others with UC Berkeley SPS. We will be using Van der Graaff generators, Atmospheric Mats, several illusions, vortex tubes, and perhaps other demos like polarizers to teach the public about physics. SPS has its own volunteers, and we also plan to have a UC Berkeley information stand so that we can give more info to people about what is going on in the world of physics at Berkeley.

UC Berkeley Sustainable Housing at California (SHAC)

Designing Seismically Sound and Solar Powered Buildings

Use easy tools like legos and snap circuits to explore sustainable building design in this two-part activity, which offer the chance for some friendly competition. The first part of the activity uses lego building blocks to explore structural engineering and architecture. You will be able to build a lego skyscraper. After the building is complete we will simulate the earthquake and you can see if your design held up! In the second part, use very low voltage (and safe) electrical equipment including small fans, LEDs, mini-motors, and batteries to design an electrical system. Miniature solar photovoltaic panels will be used to power the circuits. Use dimming flashlights to simulate the sun and pieces of paper to simulate clouds to explore how light intensity and shading affect solar production while learning about electrification and solar power.

UC Berkeley CLEAR Project — Department of Plant and Microbial Biology

Guess the Family: the Diversity of Plants

This event displays the diversity of plant life, especially in relation to the foods we eat. Make observations of a general ‘family tree’ of the plant kingdom, with some depictions of several wild species along the tree. Spin a wheel with eight different plants that we eat (potatoes, corn, oranges, etc.)! Once the spinner stops on a plant, try and figure out where that food belongs on the tree. This brings up all kinds of questions: Did you know that corn comes from a grass? What other grasses do you think we use for food? Also interact with displays on plant diversity, stickers or small prizes for playing our game, seed collections and bean collections showing all the different types of plants that we eat, and live plants to show what they look like when they’re growing and which parts we eat. (Note: this is a nut-free activity)

UC Berkeley PASAE – Pilipinx Association of Scientists, Architects and Engineers

Fireworks in a Jar

Watch fireworks go off in a jar of water! Create an oil and food coloring mixture in a bowl and pour it into a glass of water. See the color droplets sink and “burst” like fireworks! Why does this happen? Food coloring dissolves in water, but not in oil. So when you pour your mixture, the oil will float at the top of the water because it is less dense, and the food coloring will sink through the oil and dissolve into the water.

UC Berkeley Berkeley Engineers and Mentors (BEAM)

CD Hovercrafts

Build hovercrafts out of CDs and balloons! The ultimate goal is to use your materials to create the hovercraft that can travel the furthest without a push. Learn key physics concepts such as work, energy, and forces so you are equipped with the knowledge needed to make the hovercraft work. You’ll use the engineering design process, the iterative method by which scientists and engineers improve their designs through trial and error.

Department of Astronomy

The Power of the Sun

Use a parabolic mirror and use it to focus the sun to roast marshmallows! Volunteers will roast the marshmallows for children who visit the booth and give them out to eat afterward. There may also be a solar telescope to let visitors observe the sun directly.

UC Berkeley Berkeley Scientific Journal

Acid/Base reactions with Bath Bombs

Make a bath bomb to take home using some prepared dry material, food coloring, and molds! Observe a demonstration of placing the bath bomb in water and explaining the chemical mechanisms which cause the bath bomb to “fizz” and reaction upon contact in water.