Laramie County Library Brings Internationally Celebrated Science Authors to Cheyenne

The Laramie County Library System is bringing international science stars and authors Dr. Jana Grcevich and Olivia Koski to Cheyenne on February 9 and 10 as part of its Discover Space: a Cosmic Journey exhibition. Since the 2011 launch of the Intergalactic Travel Bureau at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, this new approach to science learning has inspired a virtual reality app, stage productions and the book, “Vacation Guide to the Solar System: Science for the Savvy Space Traveler.”

The authors will visit South High School on the morning of Friday, February 9, to introduce area students to their special style of science demonstration: Guerilla Science. Koski leads USA operations for Guerilla Science, a London and New York based organization that produces events and installations for clients and venues from Kensington Palace and the Smithsonian to Burning Man and the Glastonbury Festival.

On Friday night, the Laramie County Library is hosting an after-hours reception, the Guerilla Science Mixer. This 21-and-over program happens from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and will feature cocktails, a Guerilla Science demonstration and a chance for adults to meet the authors and get some time with the interactive Discover Space exhibits without the little ones.

On Saturday, February 10, the library is making the most of the authors’ visit with an Out of This World Young Writers Workshop for children grades three through twelve from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Grcevich and Koski will join local writers, educators and authors for writing seminars, lunch, prizes and a book signing.

Movie rights for the book “Vacation Guide to the Solar System” were won last summer by a production team at Paramount Pictures whose past credits include “Horrible Bosses”, “Vacation” and the upcoming “Game Night” with Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams. According to Variety magazine, the producers expect the movie to be similar in tone to “Jurassic Park” while based entirely on real science like the “Martian.”

According to the county library’s Youth and Outreach Services Manager, Beth Cook, “This is an amazing opportunity for our community but I think it’s also a great change of pace for these science celebrities to spend some time in a smaller community.”

According to publisher Penguin Random House, Koski was previously a senior producer at Atavist Magazine, where she produced 30 interactive journalism stories, of which five were nominated for a National Magazine Award and one for an Emmy. She received bachelor’s degrees in engineering and Germanic studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a master’s degree in journalism from New York University.  Her writing has appeared in Wired, Popular Mechanics, and Scientific American.

Jana Grcevich, PhD, has worked as an astronomer and science educator at the American Museum of Natural History and Columbia University and hosted shows at the Hayden Planetarium. She received her undergraduate degrees in astronomy, physics, and mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her doctorate in astronomy from Columbia University. Her research interests include dwarf galaxies and interstellar gas. In addition to research, she is deeply engaged in communicating science to the public and children and in finding new ways to understand science through art.

Discover Space: A Cosmic Journey is a traveling science museum at the library until March 27. It includes interactive displays, meteorites, games, costumes and special events and programs for all ages. It was developed by the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) in partnership with the American Library Association’s Public Programs Office, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and the Afterschool Alliance. The project was made possible through support from the National Science Foundation.

Press release by Tim Thorson.