Children at the 2014 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering. Courtesy of the festival

The week-long San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering will get underway Saturday with events around San Diego aimed at getting kids involved in the fields.

The festival’s run begins appropriately on “Pi Day,” in which people around the world celebrate the mathematics symbol used to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, often shortened to 3.14.

This year’s festival will begin at 9 a.m. with a “Science and Engineering Sampler” at San Diego State University, and a “Science Fun Event for Kids 9 to 99” event at Miramar College.

At SDSU, the colleges of science and engineering will open their doors to kids and teens interested in the fields. The day’s events will include an inside look at forensic science; telescopic views of the sun; planetarium showings; laser demonstrations; and a tour of the Electron Microscope Facility, according to organizers. Participants will also have the chance to learn how researchers and firefighters work together to help improve services, health and safety, and make ice cream using liquid nitrogen.

Miramar College students and staffers will give tours of their labs, show visitors how to get DNA samples, make chemistry fun and blast off using Diet Coke. Organizers said other activities would allow participants to get up close and personal with marine animals and slime.

At 10 a.m., Cal State San Marcos and The Classical Academies will host “Super STEM Saturday” designed to spark interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Demonstrations planned for the six- hour event include rocket launches, robot building, a Rubik’s Cube contest, displays and talks with scientists.

Also on Saturday’s agenda are a 10 a.m. “Mad Science” show at the Malcolm X Library and labs at noon across the street at Elementary Institute of Science, 608 51st St.; a creative careers expo at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, 404 Euclid Ave.; a presentation on why river bugs are cool by the San Diego River Park Foundation at 5505 Friars Road; a workshop on sound waves and a girls’ science club at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park; and ocean exploration programs at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2300 Expedition Way in La Jolla.

The Festival of Science and Engineering will end March 21 with an expo day at Petco Park where around 130 local businesses, corporations and organizations will showcase science, technology, engineering and math from Southern California.

The San Diego region is a leader in STEM fields, biotech and medicine, but students going into the fields are at a shortage. Organizers said they expect to draw more than 55,000 people to the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering, some of whom may be enticed to study or pursue a career in related industries.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.