Arts and Sciences researchers are energetically creating and spearheading a wide variety of activities and events that excite, inform and engage the public — of all ages — about the relevance of science in our daily lives. On campus and off, they proactively address the growing need for scientists by designing learning opportunities for children of all ages that not only show them science is cool, but allow them to do it.

Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) Annual Open House

Once each year the general public is invited to discover ACCAD, one of the first computer graphics Centers in the world. Guests are encouraged to explore the Center at their own pace, observe, ask questions and physically interact with demos that include: 3D animated films, AR/VR experiences, mediated performances, video games, motion capture and more. ACCAD provides space for new knowledge generation through intense study, discussion and application. The Open House offers a unique opportunity to showcase an ever changing landscape of new projects in a lively and engaging event. 

Arne Slettebak Planetarium

Ohio State’s planetarium has offered educational programs to Ohio State students and the central Ohio community since 1967. A complete dome-to-floor renovation in 2013 literally made it a brand-new facility. The latest in planetarium technology — digital Spitz SciDome XD projector, NanoSeam Dome, amped-up sound projection — offers breathtaking star shows. Attractive, comfortable surroundings — new seating, lighting, flooring — adds to an optimal viewing experience. The renovation expanded the facility’s potential to serve the public and offer educational outreach for K-12 students in central Ohio. Since reopening in late 2013, the planetarium has hosted more than 25,000 visitors.

Breakfast of Science Champions

Each fall, Columbus middle school students come to Ohio State to explore the worlds of science, technology, engineering and math. Breakfast of Science Champions invites students to spend a morning on campus and enjoy breakfast with faculty and graduate students from sciences, mathematics and engineering to learn about career opportunities and college life. Students then tour labs and participate in a variety of activities.

COSI (Center of Science and Industry)

Ohio State and COSI have formed a deep partnership — classified by some international leaders as “an example of what a 21st century science center should look like.” Building on one of the most intense partnerships known between a research university and science center, COSI and Ohio State have created a “center of science” at COSI where research, science and university outreach are embedded into the fabric of everyday public, student and family experiences. Guided by formal institutional co-commitments at the highest level, university researchers, faculty and students engage daily with the 600,000+ on-site guests to COSI and the tens of thousands engaged through interactive video conferencing outreach.

Museum of Biological Diversity (MBD) Annual Open House

Every February since 2004, the Museum of Biological Diversity (1315 Kinnear Rd.) has thrown a huge, free party for the community. The MBD Annual Open House is built around a fun theme that helps visitors explore various areas of research in the MBD collections that contain plants, insects, fishes, birds, mammals, animal sounds and much more. The popular event is a great way to get away from the cold, learn cool things and have fun. The enthusiastic MBD hosts have as much fun as the visitors; every year they dream up something new, but always include: hands-on activities for kids and adults, getting up close and personal with live animals, hunting for treasure, special displays and tours of the collections. 

Orton Geological Museum

The Orton Geological Museum at 155 S. Oval in iconic Orton Hall, has played an important role in Ohio State’s community outreach since 1893. The first floor exhibit hall — including a dinosaur! — attracts 13,000-plus visitors annually, from near and far. Museum-goers get a close-up look at the extraordinary geological history displayed in carefully arranged exhibits selected from a treasure-trove of 500,000-plus rocks, minerals, fossils — from Ohio and around the world. The display of meteorites (rocks from outer space) and an exhibit of colorful fluorescent minerals (minerals that glow in the dark) appeal to kids of all ages. 

Science Sundays

A consortium of Arts and Sciences centers and institutes offers Ohio State’s only free, monthly public lecture series from September-April. Leading experts  — in all areas of science, mathematics, arts and technology — speak on a variety of timely topics engaging and informing audiences of all ages and backgrounds.  

Scientific Thinkers

Faculty and student volunteers from the Department of Physics; the Center for Emergent Materials (CEM), a National Science Foundation-funded MRSEC; and the College of Arts and Sciences, work with teachers and staff at Columbus Public School’s Innis Elementary School — presently under Academic Emergency — on a program designed to motivate the next generation of scientists. Scientific Thinkers, funded by CEM and NSF, is guided by the idea: “Meet a scientist. Be a scientist. Think like a scientist.” Volunteers focus on introducing students to simple science experiments, new words and math concepts to spark life-long interest in the sciences. 

The STEAM Factory

Founded by a group of early-career Ohio State faculty, postdocs and staff, the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Humanities, Mathematics) Factory is a diverse, inclusive grass-roots network that facilitates creative, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation across the university. It supports community outreach, increasing awareness of the relevance and diversity of Ohio State research and has become a dynamic presence both on campus and at its home at 400 W. Rich Street, where every two weeks, it engages the public with a showcase of the latest collaborative work.