5.18.2010

celebrating nerdiness

Several weeks ago, Ian had to work on a Saturday. Not wanting to waste a beautiful April weekend, I decided to venture out on my own and explore the opening day carnival of the Cambridge Science Festival. Reading about free ice cream made with liquid nitrogen might have been a little extra motivation.

I took the bus down to Harvard Square and whipped out the piece of paper with my handwritten directions to the Cambridge Public Library. My excellent navigating skills had me lost in a few minutes. Since I'm old school and don't have a smartphone, I used the next best thing: Ian on speed dial. After a few minutes he was able to locate my position on Google maps and guide me to the carnival. I love my husband.

cambridge public library

Upon arrival, I discovered I would have been better prepared if I borrowed a few kids to bring along. Most of the adults were volunteers or parents. I spent about an hour wandering around — enough time to enjoy a cup of freshly-nitrogen-frozen banana chocolate chip ice cream and blind taste test bottled and tap water.

adding liquid nitrogen
water: bottled v. tap

Next on my itinerary was the MIT Museum, offering free admission in conjunction with the festival's opening day. I took the scenic route through Harvard Yard to the red line and spotted the Common Spaces chairs making a spring appearance next to a student-built wigwam.

chairs at harvard

The museum was relatively easy to find, just down Mass Ave. from the Central Square station. I started by wandering around on the first floor, which was an interesting amalgamation of research, from space suits to malaria to water droplet properties.

With thirty minutes to closing, I realized there was a significant second floor. I rushed upstairs and tried to fit in as much as possible. I saw "the ideal voting booth," the robot exhibit, and the kinetic art gallery before all visitors were kindly asked to leave.

the ideal voting booth
a tumbling yellow chair
the mit museum

In retrospect, I'll probably save a second visit to the science carnival for when we have kids who will appreciate things like free lab coats and bags of blue goo. The MIT Museum, on the other hand, is more adult friendly and definitely worth the trip to see it for free.

By the time I got home, Ian was waiting for me. I told him all about my day, including the ice cream. This prompted a grocery run for more ice cream in the form of Ben & Jerry's Fair Trade Chocolate Macadamia. We devoured the pint during the first five minutes of Bones. Only after we finished did Ian tell me he'd already eaten six brownies that day. We won't think about the nutrition science in all of that...
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