NAU key partner in bringing 2020 Festival of Science to Flagstaff community Sept. 18-27 with more than 60 free virtual events

Now in its 31st year, the award-winning annual Festival of Science—the longest-running event of its kind in the Western Hemisphere—continues to be a cornerstone event for the Flagstaff community, with Northern Arizona University playing a key role in the festival’s success. Through active participation by NAU scientists, artists and educators, as well as through a robust sponsorship commitment, the university contributes to the Flagstaff community through the festival in a variety of ways.

This year’s festival, focused on the theme “Superpowers of Science,” will look a little different, with most events available online, but it continues to emphasize hands-on learning with free science kits; interaction with scientists through online platforms; and opportunities to explore through self-guided tours, socially distanced walks and outdoor activities.

“Flagstaff is a diverse and powerful hub for science exploration and discovery, and the Festival facilitates extraordinary connections between today’s scientists and the next generation, encourages students to pursue science education and careers and contributes to the recruitment of high-tech businesses, jobs and professionals to Flagstaff,” said Kathy Faretta, president of the Festival of Science board of directors.

Celebrate the “Superpowers of Science” Sept. 18-27 through these events featuring NAU scientists, artists and educators, as well through a wide variety of other opportunities offered by community partners. For more information, visit the Flagstaff Festival of Science website at

The Caped Crusaders of Science Ballet: Sept. 18 at 6:45 p.m.

What would a science festival be without its ballet? Continuing the time-honored Flagstaff tradition, the Superpowers of Science will be joined by dancing superheroes in tights, capes and masks in this year’s annual Festival of Science Ballet featuring the NAU Community Music and Dance Academy. Choreographed by ballet master Andrew Needhammer.

Parched: The Art of Water in the Southwest: Sept. 18-27 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Coconino Center for the Arts (CCA)

Parched: The Art of Water in the Southwest explores the complexity of water in the face of climate change and increasing populations. Artists include NAU photographer Josh Biggs, assistant professor Debra Edgerton and lecturer Neal Galloway. Reservations required. Register at

Vaccination: A New Approach to the Opioid Epidemic: Sept. 21 at 8:30 a.m.   

In this NAU VPR Innovation Lecture Series presentation, NAU assistant professor Naomi Lee will highlight the fascinating aspects of opioid vaccine design and current results from animal studies.

Flagstaff: The Lake Mary Fault and Earthquakes: Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m.           

David S. Brumbaugh, NAU professor emeritus, will give a talk on the Lake Mary fault and earthquakes in Flagstaff.

The Simple Fool’s Guide to the Pandemic: Sept. 23 at 8:30 a.m.      

In this NAU VPR Innovation Lecture Series presentation, NAU assistant professor Jason Ladner will provide a primer on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the causative agent of this disease. Topics include the origin of the pandemic, methods for tracking the spread of the virus and the human immune response to infection.

“Picture a Scientist:” Movie: Sept. 18 at 8:30 p.m. and Sept. 19-20 throughout the day

NAU’s Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science presents a movie that chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. Request access via

Valley Fever in Arizona: Searching for the Dust Devil: Sept. 24 at 5 p.m.

NAU research assistant Daniel Kollath talks about the fascinating ecology of the fungal disease Valley Fever, as well as other fungal diseases in Arizona. Kollath discusses how these pathogens impact wildlife populations and conservation as well as humans in Arizona.

Cave and Bat Conservation in the New Maya Forest Corridor, Belize: Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m.

NAU assistant research professor Jut Wynne examines the complex issue of conflicting government programs through the lens of bat and cave conservation. Wynne will unveil discoveries of the newly explored caves of Runaway Creek with jaguars, crocodiles, bats and a bizarre bevy of cave-adapted invertebrates taking center stage.

Does Cheatgrass Use Bacteria to Invade the Sagebrush Ecosystem?: Sept. 25 at 8:30 a.m.

Cheatgrass is a widespread noxious weed in the Great Basin that causes frequent wildfires to which sagebrush is not adapted. In this recorded presentation that is part of the NAU VPR Innovation Lecture Series, professor Egbert Schwartz explores how NAU scientists have been hunting for the elusive bacteria that might help cheatgrass invade the Great Basin.

Rabbits for Dinner! Deer for Tools! The Zooarchaeology of Wupatki: Sept. 25 at 5 p.m.

Zooarchaeology students from NAU’s Department of Anthropology will highlight the relationships between Pueblo peoples at Wupatki and animals: diet and subsistence strategies, use of animal bones to make tools and an examination of how animals were an important part of every day.

SCI Talk—Empathy: It’s Not About Me: Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Empathy is the ability to take another’s perspective without confusing their perspective with your own. Known as self-other discrimination, it is key to the ability to empathize. This talk by NAU social neuroscientist Chad Woodruff will address the science and promotion of empathy in society.

Introduction to 3D Printing Workshop: Sept. 26 at 4 p.m.

This online workshop introduces the basics of 3D printing and how this growing movement is continuing to shape the fields of manufacturing, construction, healthcare, art and design. Presented by NAU’s Cline Library MakerLab.

The Impact of Pandemics on Human History: Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.

NAU professor Frank von Hippel will discuss how societies coped with malaria, yellow fever, bubonic plague and typhus, as described in his new book, “The Chemical Age.”


NAU Communications