Hoping to engage more than 300,000 people in a nationwide tour, a German-based biotech Saturday unveiled its Curiosity Cube science lab at Petco Park in one of the nation’s largest science expos.
Petco was the first stop on the 12-month tour of the cube, a hands-on lab housed in a 22-by-10-foot shipping container retrofitted by MilliporeSigma, the North American arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
The cube was among the more than 130 demonstrations and exhibits at the ninth annual festival featuring interactive, hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) exhibits.
Expo Day kicks off the 10-day festival presented by Illumina Foundation, with more than 70,000 expected to attend events throughout San Diego County from March 4 to 12.
The Curiosity Cube — with demonstrations in DNA, microorganisms and inner workings of the brain — will be taken to 24 cities by MilliporeSigma, which offers gene therapy, viral vaccine and immunotherapy products. It opened a Carlsbad facility last year.
“We want to inspire curiosity in the next generation of scientists,” said Daniel Sherling of MilliporeSigma. “Our goal is engaging as many people as possible.”
Indeed, finding the next generation of scientists — what Liisa Bozinovic, executive director of Biocom Institute, calls “workforce development” — is key.
And that’s what the festival is aimed at: getting kids excited about STEM.
“This is a way for them to see how fun, exciting and interesting it is,” Bozinovic said.
The Expo featured animals, (safe) explosions, volcanoes, genetics, biology and technology.
Among the highlights was a chance to meet actors from the new “Power Rangers” movie.
Naomi Scott (“Pink Ranger”), Ludi Lin (“Black Ranger”) and Dacre Montgomery (“Red Ranger”) were set to pose for photos ahead of Lionsgate studios’ reboot of “Saban’s Power Rangers,” which opens nationwide March 24.
The festival continues Sunday and runs through Saturday at venues including Reuben Fleet Science Center, Birch Aquarium, San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, Wavelength Brewing Co., libraries and schools.
MilliporeSigma showed young people what brain cells look like. Photo by Chris Stone
MilliporeSigma let visitors examine the brain and brain cells in a portion of its new mobile display. Photo by Chris Stone
MilliporeSigma showed a 3-D printer creating spheres in its new mobile display. Photo by Chris Stone
MilliporeSigma introduced its new mobile science display which will travel to schools and fairs. Photo by Chris Stone
This red tailed hawk was on display with other local birds of prey at the Raptor Institute booth. Photo by Chris Stone
Hologic Inc. shows children their DNA suspended in liquid after they gave a saliva sample. Photo by Chris Stone
General Atomic representatives showed the power of vacuum pressure with ping pong balls and soda cans. Photo by Chris Stone
Children perched on adult shoulders watch a demonstration with liquid nitrogen. Photo by Chris Stone
The Illumina Foundation had a series of booths showing their genomic research. Children spelled out their names with beads representing the genome sequence. Photo by Chris Stone
More than 26,000 people packed Petco Park to see 140 science, biological and technology demonstrations and exhibits. Photo by Chris Stone
Eco Vivarium featured creatures such as this green anaconda. Photo by Chris Stone
Children and adults take a close look at a Rosy Boa. Photo by Chris Stone
Alex Wild, a senior park ranger, lets brave Caleb Mullin, 3, hold a Rosy Boa. Photo by Chris Stone
Live Well San Diego shows animal pelts and antlers with curious young people. Photo by Chris Stone
Jenny Hayward of Zovargo shares with Dylan Pricket, 5, the tickle factor of a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. Photo by Chris Stone
General Atomics representatives Rigo Brambila (left) and Alex Negy show that when weight is distributed a certain way, a bed of nails doesn’t cause injury. Photo by Chris Stone
General Atomics representatives Rigo Brambila (left) and Alex Negy demonstrate that when weight is distributed a certain way, a bed of nails doesn’t cause injury. Photo by Chris Stone
Future scientists Matthew, 5, Charlie, 2, and Maggie, 7, visited the photo booth at Illumina while their mother takes a photo. Photo by Chris Stone