Science Rendezvous in Mississauga

Science Rendezvous volunteer Olivia Adamczyk and budding scientist
Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 3:46pm
Carla DeMarco
Science Storytime: Patrons of Mississauga’s Central Library had the opportunity to check out more than just books last weekend.

With rocket launches, chemical reactions, and space-travelling minions among the activities available to try out or examine, it’s safe to say the participants had a blast – all under careful supervision, of course.

These science-related activities were all part of the annual Science Rendezvous held this year on Saturday, May 7 in various locations across Canada. At Mississauga library’s main branch the range of 15 stations included 24 activities in total, and were demoed by over 60 student and Let’s Talk Science (LTS) volunteers from UTM, as well as volunteers from the library.

For the 712 participants who came out for the celebration of science, they also had the opportunity for pH testing, fossil examinations, and lego-robotics assembling. There were also graduate and undergrad students deemed “wandering scientist,” who had conducted their own projects, and people were encouraged to ask them about their research. Each Science Rendezvous participant was given an info card, which served as a passport that they could get stamped at every station.

One of the highlights for this year’s lead organizer Arjan Banerjee from LTS, who coordinated the event with his co-organizer Firyal Ramzan and the LTS crew of six, was the high-altitude balloon experiment, which was a collaboration with UTM, McMaster University, and University of Guelph, and resulted in a seven-and-a-half minute video available for viewing on YouTube, The time-lapse video was played on a continuous loop on a large screen in the library.

“We launched “Bob,” our minion, to the upper atmosphere on April 28th, and it went 27-30 kilometers up in the air,” says Banerjee. “It’s all part of a global effort to better understand the atmosphere.”

Banerjee said the balloon took one hour and 54 minutes to travel as high as it could, the balloon burst, triggering a parachute to open, and with a GPS tracker, the research team was able to track Bob down in a field, about 50 kilometers from where they expected him to fall. They were able to measure things like atmospheric conditions, ozone, temperature, and the speed of the ascent and descent, etc.

Mr. MinkowskiThe other high point of Science Rendezvous for Banerjee was the delight of participants, whom he regarded as equal partners in the science exploration, and the infectious enthusiasm and dedication for the event on the part of the volunteers.

“We started planning for this in November, but we had this theory that come 11 am on Science Rendezvous day, we would stop stressing and start having fun – and it actually happened!” says Banerjee.

“The people who came out for the event were having fun, and the volunteers were having so much fun they didn’t want to take a break. I can honestly say, without a shadow of a doubt, if we had to do this next week, most, if not all of these volunteers would do it again.”