Initiative Highlights Pasadena's Rich Background in Science, the Arts Ahead of Globally-Important Space Research Forum

City Joins Science, Tech and Arts Institutions in Initiative Leading Up to Summer’s COSPAR Forum, which Presents Top Results of Current Space Research

Published : Monday, March 5, 2018 | 6:42 AM

Initiative Highlights Pasadena’s Rich Background in Science, the Arts Ahead of Globally-Important Space Research Forum

The City of Pasadena and several science, technology and art institutions in the City are collaborating on a year-long initiative promoting the importance of science, technology, engineering, art and math as Pasadena prepares to host the 2018 COSPAR Assembly.

The year-long series of events, called STEAM 18, will highlight Pasadena’s rich background in science and the arts.

This 42nd COSPAR (Committee on Space Research, of the International Council for Science) Assembly, which has garnered recognition as the premier forum for presenting the most important results in space research, takes place at the Pasadena Convention Center on July 14 to 22.

A local organizing committee, composed mostly of Caltech and Jet Propulsion Laboratory personnel, is in charge of preparations.

Here are some of the STEAM-inspired events that will take place in the City this year:

Dreaming the Universe: The Intersection of Science Fiction & Southern California

March 3 – September 2; Pasadena Museum of History

The Pasadena Museum of History will explore the history of science fiction in Southern California from 1930 to 1980, and how it interacted with the advances of science, the changes in technology, and shifts in American society. The exhibition will feature historic artifacts, fine and graphic art, books and ephemera, and historic photographs.

Southern California ushered in the Rocket Age in 1936 with the first rocket tests in Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco. The growth of the aeronautics industry in the area was closely paralleled by the growth of the creative science fiction community. Dreaming the Universe will examine visionary creators such as Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, Frank Kelly Freas, Ray Harryhausen, and Emil Petaja, and the books, fanzines, art, and media they created; attention will also be given to the fans of science fiction, individuals such as Forrest Ackerman, as well as fan organizations.

ArtNight Pasadena
March 9; Citywide

During ArtNight, the city’s most prominent museums and cultural institutions open their doors for free and offer special programming. Explore Science in the Artwork of Frida Kahlo; Rocketry at Caltech; or Visual Futurist, a documentary on automotive, industrial and film design at the Pasadena Public Library.

No Boundaries
March 9-18; Pasadena Unified School District

PUSD’s annual all-district exhibition “No Boundaries” will include a STEAM Wall of artworks that reflect STEAM instruction in PUSD. Opening night is part of ArtNight Pasadena and includes lively student performances.

The Innovation Exposition is Pasadena Unified School District’s alternative to the typical science fair. This exciting event will showcase elementary through middle school student-generated work – connecting students with their community. For the Expo, students chose to compete in 1 of 6 categories: Scientific Inquiry, Environmental Innovation, Invention, Reverse Engineering, Science Fiction and Creativity with 3D printing. Student projects are judged by community STEM experts. For the 2017 Innovation Exposition, judges were recruited from local doctor’s offices Caltech and JPL.

Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair
March 23-24; Pasadena Convention Center

The 68th Annual Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair will showcase the talented work from 6th to 12th grade students from more than 150 area schools at the Pasadena Convention Center. The students show off their investigative skills and creativity to compete for medals, special awards and scholarships. The Los Angeles County Science Fair will present Interactive Exhibits designed to inspire and entertain students and the public.

Eyes on the Universe: Southern California’s Leadership in Astronomy Today
March 24; Pasadena Public Library, Linda Vista Branch

Join Dr. John Mulchaey, Director of the Carnegie Observatories, as he discusses the history and accomplishments of the Carnegie Observatories. All ages welcome.

Caltech Science for March
March 31; Caltech Beckman Mall

The first Science for March open house aims to bring the local community and scientists together at Caltech to enjoy, share, and celebrate science. The event will feature multiple interactive booths and learning stations from Caltech labs, affiliates, and organizations in the greater LA area, as well as an indoor speakers series including a keynote addresses by Caltech professor and Mars 2020 Project Scientist Ken Farley and Project Scientist Founder Sandy Marshall, and a series of TED-style talks delivered by Caltech students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty members.

LitFest Pasadena presents the Roswell Award Best Short Sci-Fi Readings and Awards
May 19; Pasadena Playhouse District

The Roswell Award is an international competition for short science fiction by adults. The finalists will be chosen and their stories read dramatically by celebrity guests on stage at LitFest Pasadena.

AstroFest and AstroWeek
July 14-22; Citywide

Pasadena AstroWeek features a week-long series of public events celebrating Pasadena’s rich history as the “City of Astronomy” and a world leader for telescopic celestial discovery and robotic space science. The week coincides with the 42nd COSPAR Assembly at the Pasadena Convention Center, which will welcome thousands of space science professionals from all the over the world. AstroWeek will begin with an Astronomy Festival (AstroFest) at the Convention Center on July 14, 2018, on COSPAR opening day.

AxS Festival
Nov. 2-11; Citywide

The Pasadena Arts Council (PAC) produces the AxS Festival, a two-week citywide celebration of art and science featuring exhibitions, performances, educational activities and a Conversation Series which honors and reflects on the allied importance of both the arts and the sciences to the dynamic tenor of our time. While often described as occupying opposite ends of a spectrum, art and science are instead united in the AxS Festival’s recognition that both domains are powerful engines of contemporary culture.

Great Minds in STEM’s, 30th HENAAC Conference
October 17-21; Pasadena Convention Center

Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) is pleased to host the 30th HENAAC Conference “Generation Xcellence.” The nation’s most prestigious stage for honoring STEM talent, as well as building and reinforcing networks, the HENAAC Conference is the place where top executives, innovative professionals, and the brightest STEM students convene.

Individuals looking for jobs, internships or to further their education in STEM, are welcome at the Career and Graduate School Fair on Saturday October 20, 2018 at the Pasadena Convention Center. Free and open to the public, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., the Career Fair will host a large number of companies, military and government agencies, looking for interns and full time hires, as well as Graduate Schools from across the country.

Rise of the Rocket Girls
Pasadena Public Libraries

The City of Pasadena designed the One City, One Story to broaden and deepen an appreciation of reading and literature by recommending a compelling book that sparks a community conversation on important issues. Rise of the Rocket Girls is the riveting true story of the women who launched America into space. In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn’t turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible.

Stargazing and Lecture Series, Caltech Astronomy
February 23 at 7 p.m. – Matt Orr
March 23 at 8 p.m. – Leo Stein
April 20, 8 p.m. – Marta Bryan
May 25, 8 p.m. – Heather Knutson
June 22, 8 p.m. – Gregg Hallinan

One Friday each month, Caltech Astronomy provides a free public lecture and guided stargazing through telescopes.

The Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau,  a non-profit marketing organization dedicated to promoting Pasadena as a leading meeting, convention and leisure travel destination, is in the lead coordinating the STEAM 18 events.

For more information, call (800) 307-7977 or visit

blog comments powered by Disqus