Holiday Lecture Series
Since December, 2002, SEAS has held holiday lectures targeted toward families. Modeled on a famous set of presentations first given to children a century ago as part of the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in London, the lectures highlight science in an engaging and fun forum geared for children aged 7 and up.
This event, which is free and open to the public, brings science to the community through experiments, audience participation, and highlights from current research.
Holiday Lecture 2020
The Holiday Lecture is going virtual this year! After many years of in-person fun at Harvard and Princeton, we are taking the lecture on-line for 2020. This Zoom webinar designed for family participation will be about an hour in length, and will include cool demonstrations, short in-home activities, and interactive questions.
A Materials Wonderland: A Celebration of How Materials Science Makes our Holidays Fun
Saturday, December 12, 2020
Click on the dates below to see our archive of past lectures.
THE SCIENCE OF ICE CREAM: IT'S LEGEN-DAIRY!
What gives ice cream its creamy texture? How does adding salt to ice help in the making of ice cream? What happens when ice cream melts then re-freezes?
Join us at the 2019 Harvard Holiday Science Lecture as we observe, taste, and explore the science of ice cream. Kids, families, students, teachers and the curious are welcome! You will discover the physics, chemistry and biology of how ice cream is made, and what makes it such a yummy treat. Using live experiments and interactive demonstrations with children from the audience, we will investigate the wonders of ice cream. Come and be a scientist with us!
Saturday, December 7th, 2019
THE SCIENCE OF PIZZA: IT'S A LITTLE CHEESY!
Why does pizza crust have holes? How does cheese form from milk? How do you break down food into the fuel your body needs? What makes pizza dough stretchy?
Join us at the 2018 Harvard Holiday Science Lecture as we observe, touch, taste, and explore some of your favorite foods. Kids, families, students, teachers and the curious are welcome! You will discover the physics, chemistry and biology of cheese and bread, look at them under a microscope, make a simple cheese (yum!), and learn about digestion (yuck!). Using live experiments and interactive demonstrations with children from the audience, we will investigate the wonders of pizza. Come and be a scientist with us!
HOLD YOUR TEMPER: CELEBRATING THE SCIENCE OF CHOCOLATE
Where does chocolate come from? Why does some chocolate melt in your mouth but not in your hand? What makes a chocolate bar smooth and creamy?
Join us at the 2017 Holiday Science Lecture as we explore the science behind the chocolate we all love. We will use experiments, taste tests, and interactive demonstrations to investigate what makes the perfect chocolate bar. Together we will understand basic chocolate science: how to get chocolate from cocoa beans; how chocolate melts and can be formed into a solid bar that stays together; and what makes chocolate taste gritty or smooth. Come and be a scientist with us as we observe, touch, and taste one of your favorite foods: chocolate!
THE SCIENCE IN A BUBBLE: ILLUMINATING INTERFACES
How can some bugs walk on water? What can we learn about a soap bubble? How can we make oil and water mix?
In this interactive presentation led by Professor Howard Stone of Princeton University, we will learn about the science of surfaces and interfaces. We will examine the boundary between liquid and air or between two liquids. This “surface” is so common that we take it for granted but we will see it introduces us to many fascinating ideas in science. Children will help demonstrate the interaction of different kinds of molecules at these boundaries.
A GRAIN OF SALT: ISN'T IT IONIC?
How does salt dissolve in water? What is a precipitate? Why is salt essential for health?
Table salt, or sodium chloride, is important to human history - and human health - in many ways. In this interactive presentation led by Professor Howard Stone of Princeton University, we will learn about the many properties of salt that make it so universally useful. Children will help demonstrate the chemistry of salt, from solubility to conductivity. Audience participation is a big part of this interactive show, and every child receives a free t-shirt.
DNA: A DETECTIVE STORY
What is the code of life? How does DNA work? How did scientists figure out the structure of DNA?
Your genetic code is what makes you unique! Explore the science, beauty and elegance of DNA. In this interactive presentation led by Professor Howard Stone of Princeton University, we will learn how scientists cracked the universal code and structure of DNA. Kids will help demonstrate the chemistry of DNA, and how DNA copies itself.