USF St. Petersburg students demonstrate how to create electricity from chlorophyll at last year's St. Petersburg Science Festival.

St. Petersburg Science Festival returning to USF St. Petersburg

The Third Annual St. Petersburg Science Festival, the largest community celebration of science in the Southeast, returns to USF St. Petersburg on Saturday, Oct. 19 with more than 100 hands-on exhibits along Bayboro Harbor.

Once again this year, USF St. Petersburg science students and faculty will present exhibits and research, including a hydrogen-fueled model car, chlorophyll solar cells and creating bio-diesel from waste oil.

The festival, held in conjunction with MarineQuest, drew more than 10,000 people last year. This year’s event includes an exclusive sneak peek for more than 1,000 school children on Friday, Oct. 18.

Saturday’s festival begins at 10 a.m. with an explosive science experiment on stage at Poynter Park at 10 a.m., led by USF St. Petersburg Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster and USF College of Marine Science Dean Jacqueline Dixon.

Along with a full day of science shows and music, the festival will feature activities ranging from crazy chemistry experiments to fighting robots. Visitors can board a research vessel, build a fire, run an underwater remotely operated vehicle, peer into a microscope at aquatic animals and archaeological artifacts, escape fishing nets, test an artificial limb, create art from science and launch a rocket.

USFSP’s exhibits will be coordinated by Madhu Pandey, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of chemistry, and will include student research on manatees, molecular modeling and crime scene analysis.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from USF St. Petersburg restaurants including The Reef, World of Wings, The Tavern at Bayboro and the Campus Grind. Food trucks will line 3rd Street South at Poynter Park. View campus maps.

The festival was created to encourage youth to develop a passion for science and engineering. It is a collaboration of more than 60 university departments, government agencies and private organizations, many of which are part of the St. Petersburg Ocean Team, a consortium of research groups employing more than 1,600 marine scientists in St. Petersburg.

Major sponsors include USF St. Petersburg, the City of St. Petersburg, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Center and Aquarium, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the USF College of Marine Science, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Helios Education Foundation, Duke Energy, Eckerd College, Draper Laboratory, Rays Baseball Foundation,, and Science Festival Alliance. Media partners include Bay News 9, CBS Radio, Tampa Bay Times, WEDU, and WMNF 88.5 FM.

For more information go to, email Science Festival Co-Chair Howard Rutherford or call him at (727) 803-9799, ext. 202.