'Art of Discovery' booth combines science and art at this year's Arts Fest

June 07, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — While more than 300 artists display their creations at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts this July, a different kind of booth — staffed by Penn State researchers and artists alike — will also be joining the festivities.

Penn State’s Art of Discovery booth will explore topics at the intersection of art and science through a series of free, hands-on demonstrations hosted by Penn State researchers and students.

Festivalgoers of all ages are encouraged to stop by to learn mindfulness techniques, discover (and taste) the benefits of herbs and spices, build seltzer-powered rockets, and more.

The Art of Discovery booth will be located next to the Willard Building on the University Park campus and will be open from Thursday, July 11, through Saturday, July 13. Check out the full list of presenters and times below.

Be sure to follow Penn State on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Penn State Research on Twitter for the most up-to-date information about the booth.

Thursday, July 11

AstroFest and the Art of Astronomy, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m

Build your own virtual planet with the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics! Play a video game designed to teach thousands of Penn State students about astronomy, see meteorite samples up close and personal, and more.

Real-Life Throwback Thursday, 1–3 p.m.

Dive into Penn State’s past with the Eberly Family Special Collections Library. Learn exciting new facts about Penn State’s storied history from librarians Julie Porterfield, Katelyn Dion Town and Angel Diaz.

3D-Printed Habitats on Earth and Mars, 1–3 p.m.

After you explore Penn State’s past, head to the other side of the booth and take a trip out of this world. Members of the Penn State Den@Mars team will demonstrate their work to 3D print habitats on Earth and Mars. The team recently took home second place in phase three of NASA’s 3D-Printed Mars Habitat Challenge

Learn about Lanternflies, 3:30–5:30 p.m.

Join Heather Leach, an extension associate in the Department of Entomology, to learn about the spotted lanternfly — an invasive, destructive insect threatening Pennsylvania’s economy and environment. Discover what you can do to help stop this bad bug.

Making Rainbows from Water, 6–8 p.m

Create brilliant colors from ordinary water droplets without any dyes. Lauren Zarzar, assistant professor of chemistry, will walk you through the process in this colorful hands-on activity. 


Coral specimens will be on display at this year's Art of Discovery booth, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 12, in "Light Lovers: Animals That Capture Light."

IMAGE: Patrick Mansell

Friday, July 12

Prehistoric Paints, 10 a.m.–noon

Mix your own paint out of ochre — one of the pigments used by early humans that still adorns cave walls around the world. Discover the science and history behind these prehistoric paints and try them out for yourself.

The Art of Mindfulness, 12:30–2:30 p.m.

Learn mindfulness techniques you can practice in your daily life and discover the science behind flourishing. Join researchers from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center on this exploration.

Benefits of Herbs and Spices, 3–5 p.m.

How do herbs and spices, avocados and nuts affect our health? Taste test samples while finding out how these delicious foods can lower risks of heart disease and diabetes. Researchers from the departments of Nutritional Sciences and Biobehavioral Health will also provide recipe cards for you to take home.

Light Lovers: Animals That Capture Light, 5:30–7:30 p.m.

See coral specimens up close and discover how these living creatures contribute to the ocean’s very own laser light show. Penn State biology researchers will explain why coral loves light and its importance to our ecosystems.

mindfulness lab

Mindfulness techniques have become useful tools for treating depression, anxiety and substance abuse. The Art of Discovery booth will feature "The Art of Mindfulness," 12:30–2:30 p.m. on Friday, July 12.

IMAGE: Patrick Mansell

Saturday, July 13

See Science with Your Ears, 10 a.m.–noon

Hear the music of science with Mark Ballora, professor of music technology in the College of Arts and Architecture. Using a technique called “sonification,” Ballora turns large datasets into sound and music. A few of his past projects include creating music from body temperatures of arctic squirrels and underwater acoustics.

Immersive Technologies, 12:30–2:30 p.m.

Experience cutting-edge virtual-reality technology with a Penn State twist. The ChoroPhronesis research group in the Department of Geography will present a collection of hands-on immersive experiences, including a virtual tour of Pennsylvania using the famous Penn State Obelisk.

Make Your Own Seltzer-Powered Rocket, 3–5 p.m.

Build and decorate your own rocket using film canisters, card stock and markers. Ready to see it fly? Members of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association will help visitors launch rockets using antacid tablets and water.

The Science of Light, 5:30–7:30 p.m.

Test your aim and win prizes in a series of optics-inspired experiments. Engineers from the Applied Research Lab will help you build your own flashlight and bend laser beams toward a target in a maze.


Last Updated July 10, 2019