STEM Workshops and Presentations


4 PM

Evolution in Star Trek: Why are There so Many Humanoid Species? Guinan's Place (Brickyard) Most aliens we see in Trek are not only carbon- and water-based, but they are humanoid, and many can even breed with humans. This panel introduces real evolutionary concepts from Earth and applies them to testing 3 theories raised in various Trek episodes about why so many aliens may be humanoid.

Edible Entymology for Kids Holocenter (FS-C) Geared toward children, participants will explore the fascinating world of edible entomology, first learning about foods made of or with insects, then having the opportunity to taste several dishes containing insects.


Critical Thinking: Climate Change Guinan's Place (Brickyard)

Weather Center Learn the basics of predicting, monitoring and recording the weather! We will build devices for you to take home to set up your very own Weather Center and you'll be able to predict the weather just like the pros! Holocenter (FS-C)


Design Your Own Alien What do you see other life forms looking like? What would they have that we don't? How do they survive on their planet? Create your vision of what you think other beings will look like when we make it to their planet in this craft workshop. Holocenter (FS-C)

Banana DNA: a closer look Join us as we extract the building blocks of life from a banana. Participants will have the opportunity to extract DNA from a banana, watch it form, and view it under a microscope. Space is extremely limited. Guinan's Place (Brickyard)


Engineering Soft Scifi Spaceships The engineering process is not just for the nitty-gritty details of hard SF-it's also a great way to develop a setting in a way that meshes with your plot. From requirements development to trade studies and conceptual design, the engineering process can be toned to just the right hardness for a space opera romp while lending texture to setting and plot. Astrophysics (FS-D)


The Science of Sexuality Sexuality research is still in its infancy and is often contaminated by cultural beliefs about gender, stereotypical sex roles, and so on. This presentation will cover what we actually know to be true about sexual activities, arousal, and orientations, as well as how we know what we know. Be prepared to nerd out with lots of citations! Astrophysics (FS-D)


Movie: Smithsonian's Building Star Trek When "Star Trek" first aired in 1966, it expanded the viewers' imaginations about what was possible in their lifetimes. Today, many of the space-age technologies displayed on the show, like space shuttles, cell phones, and desktop computers, have already gone from science fiction to science fact. Other innovations, like warp drive, teleportation, and medical tricorders are actively in development. Join us as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of "Star Trek" - a show that continues to inform, enrich, and inspire. Main Bridge (GB1-5)



From Aesop to Asimov: Sci-Fi as the Modern Fable For millennia, whether spinning them before the communal fire or beaming them directly into a VR headset, storytellers have used myth to enlighten, to encourage and to educate. Today, the minds behind science fiction have taken up the mantle of the myth makers, finding creative and nuanced ways to tackle the questions of ethics, pushing the limits of imaginations to communicate ideas of immediate importance. Guinan's Place (Brickyard)


Personal Genetic Testing: Health & Ancestry Personal genetic testing is more available than ever, thanks to companies like 23andMe. But what are the limits of what that testing can tell you? Find out! Guinan's Place (Brickyard)

Cookie Mining Holocenter (FS-C) The mining of our country’s natural resources is not just a simple matter of finding the desired ore and digging it up. Important economic and environmental considerations are involved in any mining venture. These include property costs, mining equipment costs, operational costs, and land reclamation costs. Fines for violations of environmental regulations may also be incurred. If a mining corporation is to make a profit, the value of the recovered ore must be greater than the sum of all of its mining costs plus any environmental fines. In this lab you will create a mining corporation and attempt to run a cookie mining operation that is both profitable and environmentally sound.


Cassini and Saturn Guinan's Place (Brickyard) The latest discoveries from NASA's Cassini mission to Saturn.

Genius Kits Holocenter (FS-C) You are stranded on a remote planet and were only able to salvage what is in the Kit you have been given. Do you build a spaceship? Communications device? Signaling devices to find help? Or something to make life on your new home better?

Rocket Types & How They Work (Briefing Room) It’s rocket science! But what type? Chemical rockets are standard, but there are other types of space propulsion, too: nuclear thermal, ion, solar sails, and more!


So You Wanna Go Solar (Astrophysics) If you are interested in solar energy works, battery systems, and how many solar modules would take to run your home; come see Phil Teague, Co-Founder of Rectify Solar give a presentation on the ins and outs of solar energy!

Holodeck 2017 Guinan's Place (Brickyard) The state of the art in virtual reality (VR) systems today is unique. We live in a time where VR systems and content have recently proven profitable as a consumer electronic device. Many of the "hard problems" have been solved and VR systems are on track to annually improve. In the past 30+ years of VR work, progress has been much slower. The holodeck from Star Trek represents the ultimate VR system. Users in the holodeck are are portrayed to experience seamless virtual environments where the simulation was "real." Currently available VR systems allow users to experience virtual environments with several limitations including the inability feel/touch, eat, or even smell items in the virtual world. Some recent work has been completed at Indiana University to provided VR system developers with a tool to help extend VR computers for electronic control of physical devices. This tool is named cy.PIPES. What this new innovation allows for is the easy construction of environmental feedback within a VR system. Developers need only to connect common house fans arranged around a VR space to simulate wind conditions. Similarly this could be done with heat lamps for heat feedback. Supporting olfactory (smell) feedback is also possible with common pieces and parts found at a hardware store. This presentation will explain how close we are to having a real working holodeck here in the year 2017. A cy.PIPES VR system will be setup for demonstration.

Solution Squad: Putting the M in STEM Holocenter (FS-C) STEM education is on the rise, and on the cutting edge of STEM comics comes Solution Squad, a team featuring math-themed superheroes. Now there's a full-size graphic novel with lessons and activities for grades 4-8! Join creator and Indiana middle school teacher Jim McClain as he shows you (with a free download code) how Solution Squad helps students better understand an abstract subject through comics! Solution Squad comics are available in print, in special landscape digital format perfect for classroom projection, and there's even a YouTube channel with Solution Squad character puppets!

Narrative and Storytelling in Science and Public Policy United Federation for Science (GB-6) 


Symbiont Neuroscience Astrophysics (FS-D) Brain-tapping symbionts and parasites aren’t new to science fiction, but combined with the evolving understanding of neurology, we can guess at some surprising results of this bio-hacking.

Edible Entymology for Everyone Guinan's Place (Brickyard) Participants will explore the fascinating world of edible entomology, first learning about foods made of or with insects, then having the opportunity to taste several dishes containing insects.

Science and Society United Federation for Science (GB-6) March for Science Indianapolis will present a TED style talk on the intersection of science and society and the critical role that science literacy, via science communication, plays in our lives.


Sherlock Holmes and the Beginning of Modern Forensic Science Astrophysics (FS-D) Arthur Conan Doyle's character, Sherlock Holmes, was the first fictional detective to explicitly base his solutions of cases on observation, science, and deductive reasoning. Many of the stories include accounts of Holmes' detailed examinations of crime scenes and pieces of evidence. David Zauner, a member of the Indianapolis Sherlock Holmes society, The Illustrious Clients, and a retired forensic scientist, will explore how the Holmes stories reflect applications of scientific principles to criminal investigations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and how forensic science has developed since that time to its present state.

Space Movies and Space Math Guinan's Place (Brickyard) Several recent space movies are great examples of how mathematics and physics are integral to space travel. We'll look at short clips from movies like Interstellar, The Martian, and Hidden Figures, and talk informally about some of the math behind the scenes. If math normally isn't your cup of Tea, Earl Grey, Hot...don't worry! This won't be a boring math lecture!

The Future is Now United Federation for Science (GB-6) March for Science Indianapolis will present a TED style talk on the cutting edge of science and technology and their impact on society. The talk will be built around the quote “the future is already here it is just not evenly distributed” by William Gibson.


Non-Klingon Linguistics Guinan's Place (Brickyard) The linguist who created the Star Trek languages talks about his field of study beyond the world of Star Trek.

Create a Constellation Holocenter (FS-C) Learn about some of the easier to spot constellations as viewed from Earth and the legends that were inspired by them... And then, create your very own constellation and legend.

Genetics in Star Trek: Inheritance, Mutations, and Genetic Engineering Main Bridge (GB1-5) The Star Trek series spanned 5 decades in which scientists made major advances in our understanding of genetics. We'll look at genetics in Star Trek and real life and talk about how some recent advances may make some depictions in the series more realistic than seemed possible at the time.

Visionary Star Trek United Federation for Science (GB-6) March for Science Indianapolis will present a TED style talk on current technologies that were science fiction when Star Trek TOS and even TNG were created.


Science of Distilling Guinan's Place (Brickyard)


Brew Your Own Beer with Science!Guinan's Place (Brickyard)


LEGO Robots! Guinan's Place (Brickyard) This will be a hands-on workshop where students and kids-at-heart can work in teams to design, build, and program a LEGO robot. No previous experience with programming or robotics is necessary!


Virtual Reality: Try out the IU VR Rig Guinan's Place (Brickyard) Actually get a chance to come out and try the IU Advanced Visualization Lab's cy.PIPES VR system and get a glimpse into what the holodeck would be like. No ordinary VR rig, this system simulates the environmental surroundings of the participant, creating a more sensory experience.



Star Trek: The Future of Medicine Astrophysics (FS-D) What does Star Trek have to say about the future of medicine? Will we suffer from Darnay's disease or "xenopolycythemia?" What impact has Star Trek had on the way we practice medicine today? What does Star Trek say about

Student Sunday: LEGO Robots! Guinan's Place (Brickyard) Part of Student Sunday! This will be a hands-on workshop where kids and kids-at-heart can work in teams to design, build, and program a LEGO robot. No previous experience with programming or robotics is necessary!

Student Sunday: Adventures with Energy Guinan's Place (Brickyard) Learn about energy by playing with toys.

Student Sunday: Catapults! Catapults! Catapults! Guinan's Place (Brickyard) We will be learning about Siege weapons of the past.
Namely catapults. And together we'll make our own!

Student Sunday: ABO Blood Type! Guinan's Place (Brickyard) Kids will use models to figure out what type of blood is safe to give different blood types.

Battle of the Robots United Federation for Science (GB-6) On Sunday, all day, MFS Indy will facilitate FIRST robotics teams to demo their robots at the kid’s carnival. We are aiming to have 2 to 3 robotics teams present  We also have the possibility of having VEX robots (smaller robots people could control) available depending on space.

The event will be open to all attendees of all ages.

We will be holding a “high score” day long competition where people attempt a timed scoring challenge and their score is posted on a leaderboard. The winner will win a prize at the end of the day!


Working at NASA Astrophysics (FS-D) Imagine going to work where other people go for vacation… Imagine watching the result of your collaborative work on display for the whole world…Imagine what a two week orientation at NASA would be like. Imagine no longer, I’ll tell you.


Forensic Science, Present and Future Astrophysics (FS-D)This presentation is a companion to "Sherlock Holmes and the Beginning of Modern Forensic Science". David Zauner will talk about the current capabilities of forensic science, some of the challenges forensic scientists are facing, and how new technology and methods have the potential to make major changes in crime scene investigation and laboratory examination.

Science and Star Wars Main Bridge (GB1-5)Science Correspondent for the Nerdist, Kyle Hill, live on stage, sharing some of his Because Science! Magic.


Homesteading a New Planet Astrophysics (FS-D) Attendees will actively participate in the planning stages of homesteading a newly discovered planet that is able to sustain the flora and fauna of life as we know it. Space and weight are limited for our planetary pioneers, and every candidate and pound of cargo must be taken into consideration as the flagship homesteaders prepare for their journey. Participants will each have the opportunity to decide who and what to take, and will then find out if their team was able to successfully homestead our new planet.