Exploring Your Universe

A free day of science fun at UCLA for the whole family

In 2009, graduate students in UCLA’s Department of Physics and Astronomy had a vision: why not offer a free day of science fun to folks of all ages from all over the Los Angeles community? They joined up with what was then known as the Earth and Space Sciences Department, and Exploring Your Universe (EYU) was born.

EYU began as a celebration of the International Year of Astronomy here at UCLA. But it quickly expanded to offer talks and hands-on activities covering a wide variety of scientific subjects, from chemistry to nanotechnology to Newton’s laws to dinosaurs. It has now become one of the largest free public events, bringing thousands of people to campus each November, and celebrated its 10th year in 2018.

To accomplish this, many students, faculty, and staff from across UCLA join those from Physics and Astronomy to pitch in to offer activities and talks during Exploring Your Universe. We believe there is something for everyone at EYU!

2019 marks the UCLA centennial and we are excited to welcome more visitors than ever before to the beautiful UCLA campus for this major celebration. Mark your calendars for Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, and keep checking exploringyouruniverse.org for more details.

Science and Education Pioneer Award

As a key part of EYU, the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences established its Science and Education Pioneer Award in 2017 to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a stellar commitment to empowering the public – especially children – to pursue education and success in the sciences.

2018 UCLA Science and Education Pioneer awardee Danica McKellar

2018 Science and Education Pioneer Award recipient: Actress, author, and UCLA alumna Danica McKellar

Danica McKellar is a New York Times bestselling author of groundbreaking math books for all ages, including the picture book Goodnight, Numbers and middle school hit Kiss My

Math. She graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a degree in mathematics.

Before graduation, McKellar co-authored a paper that provided a mathematical proof for a theorem dealing with magnetism in two dimensions. The paper was published in Britain’s “Journal of Physics A: Mathematics & General” and was a major achievement for an undergraduate.

McKellar is well known for her acting roles in The Wonder Years, The West Wing, and multiple television movies for Hallmark Channel and Lifetime. She was also a quarterfinalist on Dancing with the Stars.

Through her books, Danica has made math fun and accessible for countless children around the world, planting seeds of curiosity, wonder, and discovery. We were proud to recognize her with the 2018 Science and Education Pioneer Award.

Explore photos of the 2017 award presentation below:
2017 UCLA Science and Education Pioneer awardee Anna Fisher2017 Science and Education Pioneer Award recipient: Astronaut and UCLA alumna Anna Fisher

The award’s first recipient was UCLA alumna and former astronaut Anna Fisher, who was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1978 and retired in 2017 after a distinguished career at NASA, logging a total of 192 hours in space.

Fisher was a mission specialist on Space Shuttle mission STS-51A, the orbiter Discovery, and a member of NASA’s first astronaut class to include women. She was also the first mother in space, flying in Discovery when her daughter, Kristin, was just fourteen weeks old.

Fisher played an important role in building the International Space Station and in Mission Control. Most recently, she worked on display development for Orion, NASA’s new spacecraft that will take astronauts farther than we have ever been in our solar system.

Fisher has always used her status as a public figure for the public good – to inspire others to value education and science. She has not only broken barriers, she has also been a mentor and role model to countless aspiring astronauts and colleagues at NASA.

Click here to read about the event as reported by the Daily Bruin.

Explore photos of the 2017 award presentation below: