UW-Madison Science Alliance Updater, April 25, 2022

UW-Madison Science Alliance Updater

For 25 April 2022

Hi Everyone,

On those rare occasions when I have a $100 bill in hand, I am reminded of the promethean achievements of Benjamin Franklin.  Printer, author, pioneer of the autobiography, inventor, scientist, Fellow of the Royal Society, he also like to found organizations.  Among the things he helped to found were a public library, a private university, and a nation.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of checking out a book from College Library, and although I didn’t have a Franklin in my wallet, it was an occasion to consider what it means, this ease with which on a Sunday evening I could look up online, call ahead, and twenty minutes later stroll in to Helen C. White and pick up a the book “Why We’re Polarized” that Kelli had pulled from the shelves and Ash had at hand at the checkout desk.

The writer Ezra Klein starts the book in the way back, citing George Washington’s farewell address, but I’m not sure that he realizes that the metaphor of the title of the book is due in part to Franklin, who gave the designations of + and – to the two poles of a battery and which names we still use for our electromagnetic yin & yang.

Batteries, planets and politics can be polarized, but so too can be sunglasses and eyeglasses, even bifocal eyeglasses like the ones Franklin developed.  This second sense of ‘polarized’ gives another angle to consider to the title of Klein’s book:  how can science, and by extension, how can science outreach, be a way to help bring the world into focus and reduce the glare and glint?  Sometimes, the answer to “why are we polarized?” is, “To help us see more clearly.”

Thanks again!

Tom Zinnen

===Coming Up This Week and This Month1.  During the spring semester, Science Alliance meets at 10:00 am Mondays, including today, Monday April 25.Please Note:  We will be meeting by Zoom on April 25 and for the coming few weeks.

The Zoom link for the spring meetings of Science Alliance will continue to be: https://zoom.us/my/glbrc.weieducation.vmr?pwd=L2Q0L0g0S3lEd2gyazNscjA1d2JYZz09

  • The draft agenda for April 25 at 10am includes:
  • Welcome
  • Updates
  • Science Expeditions 2022 Review Redux
  • Setting the Dates for 2023 Science Expeditions:   UW Spring Break March 11-19, MMSD Spring Break March 25 – April 2, Easter April 9, Passover April 5, Other Considerations. Proposed: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, April 14, 15 & 16, 2023
  • Other Business
  • Next Meeting:  May 2 at 10:00 am.

As with the #Updater, the Science Alliance meeting notes are also archived on https://science.wisc.edu/science-alliance/.

2. Recurring Programming Events coming this week and soon.

•  Weekly Reminder: Please Post your science outreach events and Check for Other Science Events presented online and available to all at http://today.wisc.edu/events/tag/science

•  Badger Talks Live:  –    https://www.facebook.com/BadgerTalks/live_videos/  and  https://badgertalks.wisc.edu/events/  

•  Saturday Science Workshops at UW Space Place.  Every Saturday at 10am at UW Space Place, in the lower level of The Atrium at The Village on Park, 2300 S. Park Street, Madison, WI

 •  Wednesday Nite @ The Lab Public Science Series every Wednesday night, 50 times a year, at 7pm CT by zoom (go.wisc.edu/240r59) or in person in Room 1111 Genetics Biotech Center, 425 Henry Mall, Madison WI.

This week Reba Luiken of the Allen Centennial Garden speaks on “Making a Garden for YOU.”

Next week Dan Lauffer of Plant Pathology and Wisconsin Fast Plants will speak on “Science, Politics & Schoolchildren: Reflections on a Special UW-Ukraine Collaboration.”

•  “PLATO Frontiers in Life Sciences” every Wednesday through April 27 at 1pm at UW Space Place in the Lower Level of The Atrium of The Village on Park, 2300 S. Park Street.   In person, or Zoom at go.wisc.edu/27448v

April 27:  “Gaining Sleep, Losing Weight?  Getting More Sleep Reduces Caloric Intake” with Dale Schoeller, Nutritional Sciences & Biotech Center

PLATO Frontiers in Life Sciences will resume with its Fall run beginning in late September.

3.  UW Family Gardening Day Saturday May 7 at UW-Madison’s DC Smith Greenhouse, Allen Centennial Garden, Steenbock Library, and Wisconsin Energy Institute.

With the advent of spring comes warmer weather—and gardening season. Area gardeners and gardeners-to-be are invited to gather ideas for their plots at the UW Family Gardening Day on Saturday, May 7, on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The free, family-friendly event runs from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. that day. Activities will be hosted at Allen Centennial GardenD.C. Smith Instructional GreenhouseSteenbock Memorial Library and the Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI).

“Spring is here, and it’s time to get growing,” says event organizer Johanna Oosterwyk, manager of the D.C. Smith Instructional Greenhouse. “UW Family Gardening Day is a great way to kick off gardening season with activities and inspiration for the whole family.”

Each location will host a variety of displays and demonstrations, including hands-on activities with seeds, plants and soil. Attendees can ask about the specific insects and diseases affecting their plants, plus discover books for all ages about gardening, plants, soil, water and more. There will be plants and seeds available for people to take home for their own gardens (while supplies last). New this year, staff from Discovery Outreach will present their Saturday Science outreach activities, including Bacteria in Soil, and Plants and Robots.

This year marks 25 years of service for the D.C. Smith Greenhouse. To help celebrate this milestone, greenhouse staff will be giving away free houseplants (while supplies last) at the event.

For children 12 years and under, there will be a “passport book” they can complete – by getting stamps at all four UW Family Gardening Day locations – to earn a free ice cream at the Babcock Dairy Store at nearby Babcock Hall, which will be open during the event.

Allen Centennial Garden, Steenbock Memorial Library and the D.C. Smith Instructional Greenhouse are all located within two blocks of each other at 620 Babcock Drive, 550 Babcock Drive and 465 Babcock Drive, respectively. The Wisconsin Energy Institute is located at 1552 University Avenue. Babcock Hall is at 1605 Linden Drive.

Free parking is available in Lot 34 at 1480 Tripp Circle; in Lot 36 just west of Steenbock Library; and in Lot 41 at 1820 University Avenue near the WEI.

For more, contact Johanna Oosterwyk at jmooster@wisc.edu or (608) 262-3844.

4. Family Science Nights:  Sign Up Here to Volunteer — https://tinyurl.com/UW-FamilyScienceSignup

This spring we have a number of schools and community centers that are scheduling virtual and in-person Family Science Nights (FSN) this semester.

Many of the currently scheduled events are later in the semester.  We recognize that we will all have to be flexible in this uncertain time.  We will follow the rules of each school or community center, some of which require proof of volunteer vaccination.  See signup form for details.

As always, you can sign up for one or more event on our signup form. 


Several other events will be added shortly, so please check back on the form over time.

I’m happy to answer questions or guide people in choosing activities to present. 

hanks for your past participation.  Stay safe everyone,

Audrey Gasch

Dept of Genetics

5. For Folks Associated with the Wisconsin Energy Institute and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center:  Volunteer for Family Gardening Day May 7

Warmer days are around the corner and UW Family Gardening Days is returning to campus on Saturday, May 7th. WEI is one of four destinations for this outreach event. We will host hands-on science stations about plants, biofuels, pollinators, etc. on our front lawn (weather permitting) from 10-1. Volunteers are needed to help staff the event. All staff, students, and scientists are welcome to volunteer; no prior experience is necessary!

Family Gardening Day is a fun way to share your excitement about renewable energy, biofuels, pollinators, etc. and to get a little practice at communicating science with the public. You can share your own science with a new activity you create, or staff an existing WEI exploration station.

What: WEI Exploration Destination- UW Family Gardening Day

~10 hands-on “exploration stations” for youth and families on the WEI lawn (weather permitting)

When: Saturday, May 7th 10am-1pm

Where: Wisconsin Energy Institute

Why: To share your love of science, have conversations with the public about your research, incite excitement about nature, AND get a free t-shirt & lunch.

If interested, please read about the stations that need to be staffed here and fill out this google form to sign up by Monday, April 25th!

As always feel free to reach out with questions or comments! Thank you for helping make these outreach events happen!

Allison Bender 

Outreach Coordinator

Wisconsin Energy Institute | Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center



1552 University Ave, Madison WI, Room 2160

University of Wisconsin–Madison

Pronouns: she, her, hers

6. Share Your Science with Necedah’s “Cardinal After School” by Zoom on Tuesdays throughout the coming spring semester.  This spring choose a Tuesday to share your science by zoom from 4:00-4:30pm for grades for middle school and high school; 4:30 to 5:00 for grades 3-5.  It’s a good way to share existing activities, as well as to invite the students to help you prototype & hone new activities you’re developing.  Contact Liz Jesse (ejesse2@wisc.edu) for questions or suggestions.  Sign up at the spreadsheet here.

7.  UW Arboretum Spring EventsSaturday work parties, Sunday walks, and night walksSaturday restoration work parties, 9 a.m.–12 p.m.: https://arboretum.wisc.edu/get-involved/volunteer/work-parties/See the full list of Sunday walks (nature hikes, family walks, and garden strolls), plus monthly night walks, on the Arboretum events calendar:https://arboretum.wisc.edu/visit/events/

UW Arboretum Spring Events, from Susan Day 

See Arboretum events calendar for information and registration: https://arboretum.wisc.edu/visit/events/


– Saturday, April 30, 1–3 p.m. Garden Tour: Early Signs of Spring

– Saturday, April 30, 1–3 p.m. Class: Introduction to Wisconsin Geology


– Sunday, May 1, 1–2:30 p.m. Nature Hike

– Saturday, May 7, 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Ecological Restoration Work Party: Wingra Oak Savanna

– Saturday, May 7, 1–3 p.m. Garden Tour: Lilacs

– Saturday, May 7, 1–3 p.m. Class: Bluebirds and the Arboretum Trail

– Sunday, May 8, 1–3 p.m. Family Nature Program: What’s in the Woods?

– Tuesday, May 10, 9:45–11:15 a.m. Family Class: Learning Together—Flowers in the Garden

– Saturday, May 14, 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Ecological Restoration Work Party: Wingra Oak Savanna

– Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Friends of the Arboretum Native Plant Sale

– Saturday, May 14, 1–3 p.m. Garden Tour: Crabapples

– Sunday, May 15, 1–2:30 p.m. Nature Hike

– Sunday, May 15, 8–11 p.m. Full Moon Night Walk and Lunar Eclipse Watch Party

– Saturday, May 21, 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Ecological Restoration Work Party: Grady Tract

– Sunday, May 22, 1–2 p.m. Garden Stroll

– Saturday, May 28, 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Ecological Restoration Work Party: Core Area and Curtis Prairie

– Sunday, May 29, 1–2:30 p.m. Nature Hike

8. Events from Madison Friends of Urban Nature