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Science Night is a FREE, fun, family-friendly, hands-on science event jointly hosted by the National MagLab and the Leon County Collins Main Library. We will start this season bringing the science and exploration right to you – ONLINE on your devices! Later in the season, we hope to transition to in-person Science Nights at the Leroy Collins Main Library again.


When: April, 3rd Thursday of the month (except March – 4th Thursday due to Spring Break), 6:30-7:15 p.m.

Where: Join us ONLINE via Zoom (through April 2022):

Admission: Free

Book List: Also, check out the MagLab Pinterest page on Science in Literature where we sorted our librarian’s book picks by Science Night Topic.

Note: There will NOT be a Science Night in December.

All ages are welcome (but Science Night is especially for those aged 6-12). Every month’s Science Night will explore a different, exciting scientific topic through experiments or demonstrations, an interactive Question & Answer session with an expert guest and a hands-on activity (with household items). Plan for the activity to last about 30-45 minutes. And as an added bonus, the Collins Library staff is picking the best reads and media to complement our Science Night topic for you to check out to continue exploring on your own!

This season, we’ll explore magnets, ancient climate change, electricity, genetics & DNA, food science and many more, with hands-on activities that encourages young learners to:

  • Make connections between science and their everyday world.
  • Ask and answer questions.
  • Think scientifically.
  • Gain a sense of curiosity.
  • Learn from simple, inventive science activities that can mostly be done at home with basic materials.

Topics for the 2021-2022 season

Upcoming Science Nights

January 20, 2022, via ZOOM

"Mighty MagLab Magnets" featuring MagLab Scientist Dr. Julia H. Smith

Come and explore the fascinating properties of magnets with us! This Science Night features insights into the fascinating world of magnetism and the National MagLab’s magnet systems. Join us as we share our enthusiasm for magnets and the science they enable us to do!

February 17, 2022, via ZOOM

"Atoms R Us" featuring MagLab Scientist Dr. Ryan Baumbach

We all depend on a slew of technologies that didn’t even exist just a century ago. From pocket-sized devices with unparalleled computing and communication power (cell phones) and rapid transit around the globe and into outer space (jet engines) to electrical power distribution across continents (electrical grid) and imaging for medical purposes (MRI) - these technologies are each based on different crystalline materials with unique functionalities and properties. So how do scientists discover new materials or new material properties that lead to cool new devices or products? Hear how scientists conceive of and synthesize new classes of crystalline materials with novel electronic and magnetic properties as you learn the core concepts of condensed matter physics (the physics of solid stuff) and imagine the materials and technologies of the future.

March 24, 2022 [4th Thursday instead of 3rd due to Leon County School Spring Break], via ZOOM

"Rocking Ancient Climate Change" featuring MagLab Scientist Dr. Jeremy Owens

Learn about ancient climates which are fingerprinted in the rock, tree ring, sediment core, and ice core records. Some of these ancient climate events are even linked to extinction events. We will learn how paleoclimate (ancient) researchers use these records to fingerprint natural variability much like a forensic scientist.

April 21, 2022, via ZOOM

"Fun Experiments with Vacuum" featuring MagLab Scientist Dr. Julia H. Smith

Join us in exploring the fascinating properties of vacuum – a place where there is … nothing. Learn about pressure and hands-on change objects and their properties in vacuum!

Summer Break

Past events

September 16, 2021, via ZOOM

"Let's get cracking with Electricity" featuring MagLab Engineer Sujana Sri Venkat Uppalapati

Get ready to explore the magical world (Yes, really!) of electricity. During this season’s premier science night, we will learn about static electricity and electric circuits. Get charged for some fun learning, video demonstrations and hands-on experiments.

Household supplies for hands-on activity:

  • Plastic rod,
  • Piece of cloth,
  • Light plastic bag.

Watch the video

October 21, 2021, via ZOOM:

"Genetics/DNA/Forensics – The Science Behind CSI" featuring MagLab Scientist Dr. Faith Scott

Ever wonder why detectives look for small traces of DNA at a crime scene? DNA isn’t just a unique identifier for individuals, it’s the key to how our physical traits show up as we grow up. Come learn what DNA actually is and why it is such a fascinating part of life!

Household supplies for hands-on activity:

  • 10-15 toothpicks
  • Gummy bears, gumdrops, or other soft candy in four colors, 10 of each color
  • Two Twizzlers or similar rope-like candy
  • Paper
  • Pen

Watch the video

November 18, 2021, via ZOOM:

"Molecular Gastronomy" featuring MagLab Scientist Dr. Martha Chacon Patino

Molecular gastronomy is where food meets science! When we cook, we transform the food at the molecular level. If you’ve ever baked a cake, you are already a food scientist! In this session, we will explore several techniques that food scientists use in molecular gastronomy to produce amazing preparations such as carrot air, chocolate spaghetti, fruit caviar, meltaway-chocolate cookies, and vegan mayonnaise.

Household supplies for hands-on activity:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Containers
  • Egg
  • Blender
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt/spices

Watch the video

Last modified on 14 January 2022