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Year of STEAM

The mission of STEAM Pasadena is to inspire a sense of wonder for science, art and space exploration in Pasadena.

In 2018, the entire city and its institutions will embark on a year of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM). The initiative will promote activities, events and curriculum that will allow their audiences to discover the world and the world of space exploration inspired by the 2018 COSPAR (Committee on Space Research) scientific assembly.

Pasadena is a premier center of science, technology, engineering, art and math innovation with world renowned institutions dedicated to the pursuit and sharing of knowledge.


Dreaming the Universe: The Intersection of Science Fiction & Southern California
March 3 – September 2, 2018
Pasadena Museum of History
The Pasadena Museum of History will explore the history of science fiction in Southern California from 1930 to 1980, and how it interacted with the advances of science, the changes in technology, and shifts in American society. The exhibition will feature historic artifacts, fine and graphic art, books and ephemera, and historic photographs. Southern California ushered in the Rocket Age in 1936 with the first rocket tests in Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco. The growth of the aeronautics industry in the area was closely paralleled by the growth of the creative science fiction community. Dreaming the Universe will examine visionary creators such as Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, Frank Kelly Freas, Ray Harryhausen, and Emil Petaja, and the books, fanzines, art, and media they created; attention will also be given to the fans of science fiction, individuals such as Forrest Ackerman, as well as fan organizations.

You Can’t Make a Solar System Without Breaking a Few Asteroids: The Tale of Asteroid Families
Carnegie Science Astronomy Lecture Series
April 23; The Huntington
The formation of our Solar System was a chaotic collapse of gas and dust in to the Sun, planets, asteroids, and comets we have today, punctuated by the catastrophic collisions between these forming bodies. Dr. Joseph Masiero will discuss how the asteroid families in the belt today are the last remnants of these massive collisions, and give us a window into the processes that shaped our Solar System.

Dark Energy and Cosmic Sound
Carnegie Science Astronomy Lecture Series
May 7; The Huntington
Sound waves propagating through the Universe only 400,000 years after the Big Bang now offer some of our most-precise measures of the composiiton and history of the Universe. In the last decade, we have detected the fossil imprint of these sound waves using maps of the distribution of galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Dr. Eisenstein will describe these waves and the ambitious experiments that use them to extend our cosmological reach.

Astronomical Alchemy: The Origin of the Elements
Carnegie Science Astronomy Lecture Series
May 12; The Huntington
As Carl Sagan once said, “We are all made of star stuff.” However, each element has its own astronomical origins story. Elements are created everywhere from the centers of stars, to supernovae explosions, to the Big Bang itself. Dr. Drout will take us on a journey through the perioidic table, highlighting how our recent discovery of a ‘kilonova’ associated with the cataclysmic merger of two neutron stars has filled in one of the final pieces of the elemental puzzle—the origin of many of the heaviest elements in the universe.

April 17-19, 2018; Chandler School
This annual event celebrates the visual arts and the power of creative expression. A curated art gallery in Chandler’s Ahmanson Performing Arts Center displays art pieces from every K-8 student, across a wide range of mediums including painting, drawing, etching, mosaic, photography, wire sculpture, ceramics, and digital design. During the Thursday night reception, families enjoy hands-on craft projects and student-performed live music. Chandler School is a closed campus – reservations to attend are required.

MACH 33: A Festival of New Science-Driven Plays
Theory of Nothing by Lolly Ward | April 30, 2018 at 8:00 pm | Pasadena Playhouse:
Out There Right Here | May 7, 2018 at 8:00 pm | Pasadena Playhouse
Lie After Lie After Lie | May 14, 2018 at 8:00 pm | Caltech: Ramo Auditorium
Pasadena Playhouse, the State Theater of California, is hosting MACH 33: A Festival of New Science Driven Plays, on three Monday Nights. These plays are part of Playhouse community programming and presented by Caltech Theatre.  Danny Feldman is the Producing Artistic Director of Pasadena Playhouse. The plays are Theory of Nothing, written by Lolly Ward and directed by Nike Doukas on the Pasadena Playhouse Mainstage on Monday, April 30 at 8 pm; Out There Right Here, written by Anna Nicholas and directed by Brian Brophy on the Pasadena Playhouse Mainstage on Monday, May 7 at 8pm; and Lie After Lie After Lie, written by Stephen Diekes and directed by Susan Dalian at Ramo Auditoriumn at Caltech (located just south of the Beckman Auditorium on the Caltech campus with parking available at 332 South Michigan Avenue) on Monday, May 14 at 8pm.

Theory of Nothing by Lolly Ward
MACH 33: A Festival of New Science-Driven Plays
April 30, 2018 at 8:00 pm
Pasadena Playhouse, the State Theater of California, is hosting MACH 33: A Festival of New Science Driven Plays, on three Monday Nights. These plays are part of Playhouse community programming and presented by Caltech Theatre.  Danny Feldman is the Producing Artistic Director of Pasadena Playhouse.

If Marie Curie stopped by your tree house, would you let her in? Tough-as-nails physicist Brit and sculptor Chuck Swanson are the parents to Max, a condensed matter physicist, and Sugar, a designer, who return to their childhood home to pack up the house on the eve of their parents’ divorce. But when the characters reveal shocking truths about themselves, the entire family is forced to confront questions of honesty, allegiance, and madness.

May 17, 2018 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.; Chandler School
Showcases K-8 projects that apply students’ knowledge in science, technology, engineering, art and math. Student teams use a design-thinking process to envision, design, prototype, and create new solutions to real-world problems such as ocean pollution, water conservation, solar-powered transportation, and biodiversity protection. This year’s fifth grader’s project will be on space, where small groups will work on creating a future colony on the moon or other planet. Chandler School is a closed campus – reservations to attend are required.

Roswell Award Best Short Sci-Fi Readings and Awards Presentation at LitFest Pasadena
May 19, 2018
Pasadena Playhouse District
The Roswell Award is an international competition for short science fiction by adults. The finalists will be chosen and their stories read dramatically by celebrity guests on stage at LitFest Pasadena on Saturday, May 19, 2018.


LitFest Pasadena presents the Roswell Award Best Short Sci-Fi Readings and Awards
May 19; Pasadena Playhouse District
The Roswell Award is an international competition for short science fiction by adults. The finalists will be chosen and their stories read dramatically by celebrity guests on stage at LitFest Pasadena.

PEF Summer Enrichment Program
June 11 – July 12; Pasadena Educational FoundationThe 2018 PEF Summer Enrichment Program will mark the 15th year of our 5-week program. This year there is a special focus on STEAM with classes like: Robotics, Coding, Mission to Mars, Innovation Club, Alien Worlds, and more. The program mixes academic subjects with creative hands-on projects taught by local educators. Students are inspired while having fun learning as their classes prepare them for the upcoming school year.

Journey to Space!
July 9-27; Summer@Chandler
A summer class in collaboration with Chandler School, NASA’s JPL, Cal Tech and the Carnegie Observatories. A three-week course for rising 5th-7th graders to learn about the stars & galaxies, explore the planets & moons, and discover the unknown through space missions & exploration. Each week will have different visiting speakers, experts and scientists from the organizations, hands on activities and special field trips. In conjunction with Pasadena’s Astronomy Week and the 2018 COSPAR conference in July, this summer class will be a great introduction and celebration of space and astronomy along with Pasadena city-wide events! Students must enroll for the class through Summer@Chandler.

AstroFest and AstroWeek
July 14-22, 2018; Pasadena Convention Center
Pasadena AstroWeek features a week-long series of public events celebrating Pasadena’s rich history as the “City of Astronomy” and a world leader for telescopic celestial discovery and robotic space science. The week coincides with the 42nd COSPAR Assembly at the Pasadena Convention Center, which will welcome thousands of space science professionals from all the over the world.  AstroWeek will begin with an Astronomy Festival (AstroFest) at the Convention Center on July 14, 2018, on COSPAR opening day.

July 19, 2018; Williamson Gallery, ArtCenter College of Design
MOONS, an exhibition debuting to the public and COSPAR Conference attendees on July 19 (7 to 10pm) will be an immersive exploration of some of our most alluring astronomical mysteries, as seen through the lens of science and contemporary art. Celestial bodies tethered by orbital physics to our solar system’s planets, commonly known as moons, comprise a consortium of enticing worlds that are rocky, wet, icy, cratered, hot, cold, and puzzling, some of whose veneers are also textured with mountains, lakes, concealed oceans, valleys, volcanoes, geysers, canyons, and plains, and that contain water and heat to fuel tantalizing speculations. Such objects are a path to both knowledge and poetry, dividends for having pondered reality beyond the planet in which we were cradled.

AxS Festival
Nov. 2-11, 2018; Citywide; Fulcrum Arts
The Pasadena Arts Council (PAC) produces the AxS Festival, a two-week citywide celebration of art and science featuring exhibitions, performances, educational activities and a Conversation Series which honors and reflects on the allied importance of both the arts and the sciences to the dynamic tenor of our time. While often described as occupying opposite ends of a spectrum, art and science are instead united in the AxS Festival’s recognition that both domains are powerful engines of contemporary culture.

Great Minds in STEM’s, 30th HENAAC Conference
October 17-21; Pasadena Center
Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) is pleased to host the 30th HENAAC Conference “Generation Xcellence.”  The nation’s most prestigious stage for honoring STEM talent, as well as building and reinforcing networks, the HENAAC Conference is the place where top executives, innovative professionals, and the brightest STEM students convene. Individuals looking for jobs, internships or to further their education in STEM, are welcome at the Career and Graduate School Fair on Saturday October 20, 2018 at the Pasadena Convention Center.  Free and open to the public, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., the Career Fair will host a large number of companies, military and government agencies, looking for interns and full time hires, as well as Graduate Schools from across the country.

Rise of the Rocket Girls
One City One Story Selection for 2018
Pasadena Public Libraries
The City of Pasadena designed the One City, One Story to broaden and deepen an appreciation of reading and literature by recommending a compelling book that sparks a community conversation on important issues. Rise of the Rocket Girls is the riveting true story of the women who launched America into space. In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn’t turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible.

Stargazing & Lecture Series 
Various dates; Caltech Astronomy
One Friday each month, Caltech Astronomy provides a free public lecture and guided stargazing through telescopes.

  • January 26, 7 pm – Anne Medling
  • February 23, 7 pm – Matt Orr
  • March 23, 8 pm – Leo Stein
  • April 20, 8 pm – Marta Bryan
  • May 25, 8 pm – Heather Knutson
  • June 22, 8 pm – Gregg Hallinan


Watson Lecture Series

Educator Tour at the Children’s Center at Caltech

The Children’s Center at Caltech (CCC) opened in 1972 serving children six months to five years old.  The CCC uses a constructivist approach which is seen through the lens of STEM, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  Children, like scientists, need multiple opportunities to explore, ask questions, make predictions, experiment, test their ideas, collect information, document, reflect, and draw conclusions. We believe that children are scientists by nature. On a daily basis we watch our children use science inquiry to formulate ideas and test them. Whether they are playing with water of different temperatures, or observing cocoons in the lab, or experimenting with the physics of the incline plane, their curiosity make them natural scientists.

If interested in an educator tour, please see attached form or visit for more information.


ArtCenter College of Design, Williamson Gallery
Caltech, IPAC
Carnegie Observatories
Chandler Schools
Children’s Center at Caltech
Fulcrum Arts
Lightbringer Project
Pasadena Educational Foundation
Pasadena Museum of History
Pasadena Public Library
Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau