April 10-26, 2015

Past Festivals

North Carolina Science Festival premiered in September 2010 as the first statewide science festival in the United States. (Although a few science festivals existed at that time, they were based in cities and did not serve a wider audiences.)

Todd Boyette and Denise Young, leaders in science education from Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, developed the initial plans for the Festival. Together with other Morehead staff members and business, education and government leaders, they raised funds, recruited event hosts across the state, built an infrastructure for the Festival, promoted hundreds of events and drew favorable reviews from more than 77,000 North Carolinians — all within about 10 months.

Fast-forward a few years, and the North Carolina Science Festival is an established annual celebration in our state — to date, nearly 500,000 people have participated in Festival programming. The Festival is also recognized as one of the nation’s leading science festivals. Here’s how we achieved that:

2014 Festival:

This year, the Festival expanded its support for event hosts and other affiliates though several new initiatives: an event sponsorship program to provide financial support, a series of webinars to share best practices and a marketing assistance program to foster expanded media coverage in targeted locations. The Festival also earned national recognition when it was selected as one of four science festivals to collaborate on a National Science Foundation sponsored project.

Learn more here:

2014 Final Report

2013 Festival

The Festival introduced its Statewide Star Party, with skywatching sessions held simultaneously at more than 40 different sites across the state. The Festival featured special appearances by kitchen scientist Alton Brown in Durham and in Charlotte.

Learn more here:

2013 Final Report

Results: 2013 Statewide Star Party

Results: 2013 Thorp Science Nights

Results: 2013 Invite-A-Scientist

Results: 2013 NCSF Events

2012 Festival

The Festival marked its return with more events, more locations and many, many more people! The Festival featured special appearances by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in Chapel Hill and by “MythBusters” Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman in Charlotte. Festival co-founder Todd Boyette was named as a leader of the National Science Foundation-funded “Science Festival Alliance” project, which will expand the science festival concept to other cities and states nationally.

Learn more here:

2012 Final Report

2010 Inaugural Festival

The first-ever North Carolina Science Festival introduced children and adults across the state to an exciting celebration of all things science! The Festival featured a special appearance by “MythBusters” Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman in Chapel Hill.

Learn more here:

2010 Final Report

Making A Difference

How do we know that North Carolina Science Festival is making a difference in the lives of North Carolinians? Thanks to generous sponsorship from North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, the Festival has been able to contract with Dr. Karen Peterman, a leading expert on science festival evaluation, to identify the impact of the Festival. Click on this sentence to see a summary of her findings for North Carolina Science Festivals in 2012 and in 2013.