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CHARLESTON -- Eastern Illinois University’s Department of Biological Sciences will host a community Science Festival Showcase from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.

The event, which is free and open to the community, will be held in the University Ballroom of the Martin Luther King, Jr. University Union and will, among other things, offer participants opportunities to meet a NASA representative.

The representative, James “Joel” Knapper, NASA Solar System Ambassador, will touch on what the biological effects are on the human body at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. in Room 3080 of Life Sciences Building.

"This has grown significantly from last year when the department had only two tables and a snake feeding for our students in the open house program," said Marschelle McCoy, office manager of the biology department. 

This year, there are over 40 booths and tables where attendees can make a DNA strand from Twizzlers, act as a human battery to power a light, see a new invention, a bionic prosthetic hand "that is soon going to market," view real human organs, play brain games, touch a real cows tongue, learn about teeth, taste buds, fad diets, butterflies among other activities, McCoy said. 

Special 20-minute demonstrations and shows also will be scheduled during the event in the University Ballroom in the University Union. Free parking will be available, and there is no pre-event signup required.

"Fire and Ice" will feature presentations using dry ice, liquid nitrogen, and fire. In one experiment, Valentine’s Day roses dipped in liquid nitrogen will shatter like glass. This presentation will be at 10 a.m., 11:30 p.m. and 12:45 a.m.

Among the demonstrations in "Don’t Try This at Home," they will answer the question posed to the world from the movie “UP” by demonstrating just how many balloons it will take to lift a kid off of the ground, McCoy said. Demonstrations will be at 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. 

Lt. Matt MacDonald of the Charleston Fire Department will talking about his experiences as a firefighter in "Biology is a Life Saver" at 11:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. 

For questions about EIU’s Science Festival Showcase, contact Marschelle McCoy at mymccoy@eiu.edu or call 217-581-3126.

For more information about EIU, or to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at www.eiu.edu, or call EIU’s public information office at 217-581-7400.

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Jarad Jarmon is a reporter for the JG-TC. He covers the city of Charleston, Eastern Illinois University, Mattoon schools and the Regional Office of Education.

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