Perimeter Institute (PI) has taken part in a special celebration of youth, science, and ideas – all inside a unique venue at Major’s Hill Park in the nation’s capital. This outreach activity, designed to reach hundreds of talented youth visiting from across the country, was a unique collaboration among Perimeter Institute, Youth Science Foundation Canada (YSF), Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF), and the Ottawa Tulip Festival’s Celebridée.
Celebridée provides a spring-time festival of ideas in the nation’s capital. The largest venue, a European-style "Mirror Tent" pavilion, was filled to capacity for PI’s presentation on 'The Mystery of Dark Matter'. The audience was composed of elementary and high school science fair winners from across Canada who advanced to the final Canada-Wide Science Fair competition hosted by Youth Science Foundation Canada. Reni Barlow, Executive Director of YSF stated that, "Connecting the country's top grade 7-12 students with Perimeter Institute's 'Mystery of Dark Matter' presentation made a powerful impression and clearly raised the bar on the scientific content of this year's Canada-Wide Science Fair. It was an excellent opportunity for YSF Canada to enable programming through partnerships and I look forward to future collaborations with PI."
Engaging Young Minds
PI Outreach Team Member Dr. Richard Epp presented the multi-media event to show how dark matter was discovered and why it remains a mystery. He also shared the passion that scientists and experimentalists feel as they go about their research and try to discover exactly what dark matter is made of. This is currently one of the hottest unsolved puzzles in physics.
In addition to over 400 students in attendance, there were many educators from across the nation. Teacher Dennise Dombroski from York House School in Vancouver, BC, commented, "The lecture that the students attended as part of the Science Fair was exceptional and a highlight for many! Thank you so much." And Jo-Anne Peckham, a teacher with College Street Public School in Trenton, Ontario, found the PI presentation to be “… a superb method to engage young minds and get them thinking outside the bow, circle and triangle. I was impressed!!!”
All students and teachers left the tent with a new understanding and excitement about the topic of dark matter, and for good reason. 'The Mystery of Dark Matter' presentation was based on the newly released Perimeter Explorations' video and teacher guide. This in-class resource was developed by PI’s Outreach Team in collaboration with over 100 high school science teachers and researchers across Canada, including many of the international scientists at PI in Waterloo, Ontario.
The complete module is custom designed for teachers and features an indexed DVD to stop and start on specific topics, electronic worksheets that can be edited to suit individual classes, and a hands-on scientific experiment. The full video and guide can be viewed online. Teachers can order a full hardcopy kit through the website.
A Blooming Partnership
“The festival theme couldn’t have been more appropriate”, said John Matlock, PI Director of External Relations and Outreach, “because PI’s outreach programs and products share the power of ideas in modern physics with all audiences. Partnering with Reni Barlow and Julian Armour on this special presentation - and reaching so many of the country’s top young minds - really amplified the impact. We certainly hope to coordinate again with Youth Science Foundation Canada, Canada-Wide Science Fair and Celebridée on similar presentations.”
The Executive Director for Celebridée, Julian Armour, summarized, “…we were delighted to have the world-renowned Perimeter Institute involved in Celebridée this year. Their superb presentation, ‘The Mystery of Dark Matter’ kept a capacity audience riveted for the entire evening. I have only had the most positive feedback - and from people of all ages! I consider it a great triumph to have a presentation on science included in our festival of ideas.”