Each May since 2015, the Chicago Science Fest has attracted hundreds of science-curious adults to the Merchandise Mart for Chicago’s only major science event of its kind.

ChiSciFest features awe-inspiring talks by Chicago-area researchers and mind-blowing demos from local universities and business. More recently, the Fest has expanded beyond its walls to include “Science for Adults” workshops (such as the Chemistry of Beer and Chemistry of Bread), panel discussions on current events in science, and science/art exhibit featuring art created by local scientists.

Scroll down to see the ISC’s full list of past lecture topics and speakers from previous Science Fests:

Science of Superheroes: Wonder Woman vs. Captain Marvel — Who’s faster? Who’s stronger?

Tracking the Elusive Neutrino Particle — the Physics of a Subatomic Trip from Fermilab and Supernovas to a Gold Mine in South Dakota

Food Allergies and the Microbiome — What’s the Connection? What’s the Answer?

Tracking Endangered Species by Their Spots! Individual Whale Sharks, Turtles, Giraffes, Whales, and More Monitored in the Wild using AI and Citizen Science

Are You Sure You Understand Climate Change? Explaining Climate Change and Finding Solutions

Sleep and Memory: How much are you getting and how’s that working out for you?

The Biology of Human Mating

Understanding the Human Microbiome

Using Evolution & Viruses to Cure Disease

Mapping the Human Brain’s ‘Connectome’

Neuroscience of the Addicted Brain

Science of GMO Foods

You and Your Microorganisms – a bacterial guide to your health

The Brain & Pain – How it’s studied and treated

Body & Brain: How using your hands can change your mind

Brain implants create bionic arm with sense of touch in prosthetics

Circadian Rhythms, Sleep & Your Health – What? How? & When?

Your Brain on Psychotropic Drugs

Deep Ocean Research Adventure – Discovering Life Waaaay Down Under

Holding science in your hands – 3D printing at the interface of art & research

The Physics of “Game of Thrones”

Dangers & Risks of Artificial Intelligence — Insecurity & Hacking of Systems

Don’t Call Me Pollyanna: The Science of Positive Emotions, Stress, and Health

Language and Artificial Intelligence – Communication, Connecting, and the Practical Applications of Machine-Generated Language

Brains and Bionic Hands — Artificial Touch and the Neuroscience of Prosthetics

What Climate Change Means for Infrastructure and the Built Environment — Can We engineer Our Way Out of This?

Bionic Limbs: What’s really possible and what’s science fiction?

Science of Marijuana: What’s Really Known and What’s Just Rumor?

The Mysteries of Dark Matter, Dark Energy and the accelerating Universe

Electric Vehicles and Battery Research

How to Bake Pi – The logic and beauty of mathematics through baking

Detecting the Invisible – the study of the ghostly neutrino particles

Chimpanzees and innovation

Film screening of “This Has Been to Space”

Microorganisms – in you, on you, around you

Chicago’s Urban Wildlife – What you might encounter in your neighborhood

Saving Monarchs and More – Trials, tribulations, and citizen science of tracking and saving species

The End of Water As We Know It

Black Holes & Gravitational Waves – Why a massive galactic occurrence requires mind-blowingly precise detection

Microscopy and the Mystery of Pablo Picasso’s Paints

Science and Art of Risk Taking – Courage, Caution, and Chance

Cathryn Nagler

University of Chicago

Ben Zhao

University of Chicago

Thomas Wall

Argonne National Laboratory

Tanya Berger-Wolf

University of Illinois – Chicago

Doug Sisterson

Argonne National Laboratory

Brian J. Ingram

Argonne National Laboratory

Dan Hooper


Elise Jennings


Stephen Moose

University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign

Daniel Casasanto


Eugenia Cheng

University of Sheffield, UK

Sliman Bensmaia

University of Chicago

Melissa Farmer

Northwestern University

Jack Gilbert

University of Chicago

Rex Twedt

University of Illinois – Chicago

Sid Nagel and Heinrich Jaeger

University of Chicago

Sarah London

University of Chicago

Marc Berman

University of Chicago

Stephanie Palmer

University of Chicago

Jason MacLean

University of Chicago

Monika Bickert

Facebook Inc.

Shane Larson

Adler Planetarium

Janet Voight

Field Museum

Elizabeth Addington

Northwestern University

Kristian Hammond

Northwestern University

Kayt Sukel

Author of The Art of Risk

Moran Cerf

Northwestern University

Becky Thompson

American Physical Society

Lisa Lehrer

Lincoln Park Zoo

Anne Schukraft


Seth Darling

Argonne National Laboratory

Volker Rose

Argonne National Laboratory

Allan Drummond

University of Chicago

Martha Hotz Vitaterna

Northwestern University

Doug Taron

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Richard Miller

Northwestern University

Robert Martin

Field Museum

Bobby Kasthrui

Argonne National Laboratory

Bryan Dickinson

University of Chicago

Celeste Napier

Rush University

Dara Randerson


Jack Hermann

University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign

Sadie Witowski

Northwestern University

Todd Kuiken

Northwestern University