Science Rendezvous 2023

UBC is proud to be a host of Science Rendezvous, a national festival that takes science out of the lab and on to the street. Join us on Saturday May 13, 2023 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for a day of hands-on, family friendly science activities!

Festival-goers of all ages will get a chance to meet world-class researchers and innovators, participate in hands-on experiments, and see amazing scientific demonstrations on UBC's Vancouver campus. See map with venues and parking below.

Events and Hands-On Science

Chemistry Demonstrations

See chemistry phenomena with explanations of what’s happening at a molecular level, with language appropriate for young audience members.

Following shows are in Chemistry Building 2036 Main Mall.

Time Show Room
11:00 AM Fun with Colours B150
11:30 AM Fun with Materials B250
Noon Fun with Fuels B150
12:30 PM Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Chem Breezeway
1:00 PM Fun with Colours B150
1:30 PM Fun with Materials B250
2:00 PM Fun with Fuels B150

“All Hands On Chemistry” Station

Safely experiment and create new materials and induce physical or chemical changes in a variety of substances typically used in chemistry labs.

Location: D211 or Main Mall (by the Chemistry Department), weather dependent

Time: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Action

Cook an egg without using heat and learn why proteins aggregate. Test which colour dye moves faster to see some of the techniques used to separate small molecules. Take in two experiments at 11:00 and 2:00 to learn how to isolate your own DNA using ingredients from your kitchen!

Location: Michael Smith Labs, 2185 East Mall

Time: 11:00am and 2:00pm

Pacific Museum of Earth

Free tours of the museum’s highlights will be offered at 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00. Throughout the day a table of touchable specimens lets you experience some of the best pieces in our collection.

Science Rendezvous at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum

Join us for guided museum tours at 11:30 and 3:00, and hands-on activities at 10:30 and 3:30. We’ll be showing the video Raising Big Blue, the story of how our blue whale skeleton came to UBC. Admission is by donation for the whole day! All ages are welcome.

Time: Drop in between 10:00 and 5:00

Fun with Computer Science

Learn about fundamental concepts in computer science, such as image compression and sorting, through hands-on real-life activities.  


Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Math Mania

Interactive demonstrations, puzzles, games art and mathematical paradoxes that make math and computer science concepts fun. Math Mania welcomes all age levels, but is particularly suited to students in Grades 2 to 5.

Location: Earth Sciences Building

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Smell Vancouver

Test your sense of smell or take a smell walk across campus with SmellVan’s app designed to track odours in Metro Vancouver.

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Fun with Robots

UBC Geering Up Engineering Outreach is on a mission to provide youth with the opportunity to investigate engineering, science and technology in a fun, educational and safe environment.

Location: Earth Sciences Building

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Computer Science

Activities to learn about programming

Location: Earth Sciences Building

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Global Physics Photowalk Exhibit

Join physicists from TRIUMF who will use interactive media to explain how particle accelerators work.

Location: Earth Sciences Building

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Pond Microscopy Lab!

The Michael Smith Laboratories will have its microscopes out for folks to take a closer look at pond samples. This will be a fully hands on experience for kids and grown ups alike, so come check it out and see all the amazing microbial biodiversity you can find in a tiny droplet of water!

Location: Michael Smith Labs, Multipurpose Room (Room 101)

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

How does your brain stay protected?

What happens to your brain when you hit your head? Using model brains, students will learn the many ways our bodies protect our brains during impact or whiplash, and what happens when those protections fail.

Location: Michael Smith Labs, Teaching Lab (Room 105)

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with an additional event at 12:30pm

Science Talks



Mary Berbee – mushroom expert extraordinaire will talk about her love of mushrooms and even examine any samples you have gathered

  • Location: Earth Sciences Building, Room 1012

Spooky Action at a Distance: Quantum Entanglement and the Quantenkoffer with Ella Meyer (Quantum Computing)

Quantum entanglement is one of the weirdest, most unintuitive phenomena in the natural world. Dubbed “spooky action at a distance” by Einstein himself, this quantum behavior puzzled scientists for years before we could demonstrate it experimentally. In this talk, you will hear about the fascinating science behind entanglement and see a live demonstration of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics using a groundbreaking new tool: the Quantenkoffer.

  • Location: Earth Sciences Building, Room 1013

How Fungal Pathogens Obtain Nutrients During Infection with Kabir Bhalla (PhD Candidate, Microbiology and Immunology)

Kabir is a PhD candidate in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UBC. Kabir studies how human fungal pathogens cause disease. In particular, his research looks at how these pathogens acquire nutrients in the host! He fell in love with fungi during Biology 11 in high school… and then again at UBC while taking an upper-level biology course called Structure and Reproduction of Fungi! These experiences eventually led Kabir to the Kronstad Lab where Kabir gets to work with different fungi all day.

  • Location: Michael Smith Labs Lecture Theatre


Learn About your Gut Microbiome

The Tropini lab investigates the connection between gut microbes and human health, common factors that impact bacteria in our gut, and how these changes may contribute to digestive disorders.

  • Location: Earth Sciences Building, Room 1012

Mechanisms of extreme events under climate change with Cuiyi Fei (PhD Candidate; Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)

  • Location: Earth Sciences Building, Room 1013

The size of single mRNA-lipid-nanoparticles with Sabrina Leslie (Associate Professor in Physics and Biology)

"In the past couple of years, new vaccines have been injected into billions of arms to aid the pandemic response and protect our health. This builds on decades of progress, but there remains much to be understood about these nanomedicines and thereby improved. "Seeing is believing" and this new knowledge will be obtained using new imaging tools, such as those being pioneered at the Michael Smith Labs at UBC.

In this talk, we will zoom in to the scale of single mRNA-lipid nanoparticles. We will share progress made by physicists building new imaging tools to look at single mRNA-lipid-nanoparticles, in collaboration with biochemists, to image their microscopic properties. "What you cannot measure, you cannot understand and optimize".

  • Location: Michael Smith Labs Lecture Theatre


Lightning, Rivers and Games with Fok-Shuen Leung (UBC Math)

Lots of natural phenomena, like lightning bolts and rivers, display "fractal-like" behaviour -- they look similar at small scale and large scale. In this interactive presentation, we'll discuss the mathematical definition of a fractal, and explore how it can help us explain why fractal-like behaviour shows up in so many places.

  • Location: Earth Sciences Building, Room 1012

The Seafloor with Alex Hughes (Postdoctoral Research Fellow; Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences)

Alex’s research involves using underwater vehicles to investigate seafloor geological processes. Part of his work uses structure-from-motion on video imagery to make 3D models of seafloor features (things like black smokers, volcanoes, faults etc).

  • Location: Earth Sciences Building, Room 1013

How Your Genes and Environment Shape Your Brain with Annie Ciernia (Assistant Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)

How your genes and environment shape your brain, the most complicated organ in the human body. It is made up of billions of nerve cells that communicate through trillions of connections – all shaped by your life experience. Come and learn some cool brain facts about how your genes and environment shape your brain – including how what you eat can impact your DNA, why identical twins are not identical, and how stress can reshape your brain!! Dr. Ciernia will also talk about her own career journey from a small town in rural USA to her current position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UBC.

  • Location: Michael Smith Labs Lecture Theatre


The locations are close together. Museums are open by donation. In accordance with UBC’s campus rules, masks or face coverings are required in public indoor spaces.

  1. Beaty Biodiversity Museum
    2212 Main Mall | Map and parking
  2. Chemistry D Block
    2036 Main Mall | Map and parking
  3. Earth Sciences Building
    2207 Main Mall | Map and parking
  4. Michael Smith Building
    2185 East Mall | Map and parking
  5. Pacific Museum of Earth
    2207 Main Mall | Map and parking