Wizards work their magic at Super Science Saturday

December 4, 2017 | A number of new and returning volunteer NCAR Wizards helped make this year's Super Science Saturday a rousing success.

Volunteer wizards at Super Science Saturday
Britt Stephens (left), Matt Paulus, and Vanessa Vincente. (Photo by Carlye Calvin, UCAR.)


Highlights included first-time volunteers Britt Stephens and Matt Paulus (both with EOL) and Vanessa Vincente (COMET) performing part of the NCAR Wizards show on top of the Mesa Lab. Vincente, playing the role of a weather reporter, interviewed Stephens, who acted out a fisherman using a dropsonde to collect data, while Paulus acted as the cameraman.

"The goal was to interact with the audience and bring out the excitement of science using a diverse set of demos," Vincente said. "Our hope was to motivate people to want to learn more and inspire the next generation of scientists."

Another part of the Wizard show featured Carl Drews of ACOM as Zeus, the god of thunder and lightning. His costume, including a bushy wig resembling a cumulonimbus cloud and a bolt of lightning across the black cape, captured the "Wild Weather" theme of the event.

Wizards Tim Barnes and Carl Drews
Veteran wizard Tim Barnes (left) and volunteer Carl Drews. (Photo by Carlye Calvin, UCAR.)

"Being a Science Wizard was really fun," said Drews, also a first-time volunteer. "It is quite a challenge to formulate scientific demonstrations that are understandable to elementary school kids, brief enough to hold their interest, safe, on topic, and that require minimal equipment. But when you pack 100 kids and some parents into the NCAR Main Seminar room, dim the lights, and start doing science before their very eyes, it becomes a wonderfully satisfying experience."

An estimated 2,100 people attended the daylong family-oriented event on Nov. 4. In addition to the Wizards shows, highlights included weather balloon launches and a storm-chasing vehicle, as well as a host of special activities by local science organizations.

Becca Hatheway, manager of teaching and learning for the UCAR Center for Science Education, said she greatly appreciated all the Super Science Saturday volunteers, including more than a dozen staff who helped out as Wizards or during preparations for the Wizards shows. In addition to those mentioned earlier, these included Janine Aquino (EOL), Cecile Hannay (CGD), Sophie Hou (CISL), Christina Kalb (RAL), Jared Lee (RAL), Nick Potts (EOL), Geoff Tyndall (ACOM), Holger Voemel (EOL), and Jeff Weber (Unidata).

"Our new and returning volunteers are a joy to work with," Hatheway said. "They provide the energy and enthusiasm that makes Super Science Saturday such a popular event."

David Hosansky, Manager of Media Relations