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Bucky Badger the scientist

Bucky Badger gets hands on with science during UW-Madison's 2016 Science Expeditions. 

Discovering the trick to growing food on a different planet or investigating Great Lakes shipwrecks might usually be left to the professionals at UW-Madison.

But not this weekend.

For the 16th year, UW-Madison will invite curious non-scientists to campus to learn about science and research through more than 40 “exploration stations,” tours, shows and hands-on activities.

From Friday through Sunday, the annual UW-Madison Science Expeditions event will give attendees the chance to learn about monarch butterfly migration or how South Pole ice is used to study neutrinos, among the array of activities.

Those interested in water will be able to learn about Wisconsin’s lakes, and the School of Pharmacy will teach attendees about stem cells and how exercise improves brain health.

“We hope these three days will echo and reverberate throughout the other 362 days of the year,” said Tom Zinnen, an event organizer and outreach specialist at UW–Madison’s Biotechnology Center and UW Extension.

This year, the event is partnering with UW-Madison’s Engineering Expo to show how science and engineering intersect. The expo will go from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Engineering Centers Building, 1550 Engineering Drive.

Attendees will be able to make their own bottle rocket and hear presentations from students. Engineering companies such as 3M, Alliant Energy and Caterpillar also will have exhibits.

“We’re excited … to give visitors the full range of science and innovation and ingenuity on the central part of campus on Saturday,” said Caroline Brumley, a junior studying biomedical engineering and publicity chair of the Engineering Expo.

Attendance is free for most events during the weekend. Individual events will take place at buildings across the UW-Madison campus and at the UW Arboretum.

For more information and a full list of events and locations, go to science.wisc.edu/science-expeditions.

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Chris Aadland is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.