Taste of Science returns to in-person outreach

On May 10, 2022, the newly re-established St. Louis chapter of Taste of Science held their first in-person outreach event since 2018. The event, "The Secrets of the Universe," featured guest speakers Nan Liu and Mike Nowak from the Department of Phyics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and focused on planetary science and astronomy. Organizers Kart Paiste and Chhavi Jain, postdoctoral fellows in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and Ilaria Patania and Gisela Sobral, postdoctoral fellows in the Department of Anthropology, hosted this first outing at the International Tap House on Delmar.

Despite a very hot day and quieter period of the year corresponding with the end of the spring semester, twenty brave and curious people booked their seats to learn more about black holes, Einstein’s theory, and what astrophysics researchers have discovered in the last six decades. Attendees also learned about stardust grains and solar system formation and evolution. The speakers and event organizers gave two short quizzes, offering the public a chance to win two special prizes: a pint glass of American astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921) and a core sample pencil bag.

By all accounts, the event was a great success. "It was quite fun, and the audience was very engaged," said Liu.

"It was great to be out 'live' again, and not behind a Zoom screen!" added Nowak. "I've done other public lectures through WUSTL, and I have always found both the St. Louis and WUSTL communities to be lively and engaging. There were great questions from the audience, from the bartender to the folks with technical degrees. I hope Taste of Science continues and expands here in St. Louis and takes advantage of the diverse set of research we have going on around campus."

Nan Liu, Kart Paiste, Mike Nowak, and Gisela Sobral at Taste of Science STL's event, "The Secrets of the Universe"

About Taste of Science STL

Taste of Science is a national nonprofit organization on a mission to make science accessible to everyone. Through chapters based in cities across the United States, Taste of Science coordinates themed events where scientists can engage with local audiences on a variety of STEM topics. In addition to organizing STEM-themed events with scientists, Taste of Science STL looks forward to sharing stories about science in local communities and developing partnerships with like-minded organizations to enhance science outreach across the region. For more information, contact Walid Ben Mansour at stlouis@tasteofscience.org.