CHICAGO — The University of Chicago brought science out of the lab and into the community during its South Side Science Festival on Saturday.

Maanasa Raghavan, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago, helped bring the event to fruition.

“It’s just such a cool feeling to be in a lab and be able to discover something and for those few moments, it’s knowledge that only you hold to yourself uniquely and then be able to share with the world,” Raghavan said.

After brainstorming with two colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic, the South Side Science Festival was born.

Raghavan says she drew inspiration from similar events held at universities in Northern Europe.

“They have these famous long nights of science which is sort of dedicated to essential campuses opening up to the public. And it’s just to essentially speak curiosity and interest in science among the public” Raghavan said.

Planning for the event took a full year powered by hundreds of students and staff volunteers.

Raghavan says 2,500 people attended the inaugural event last year and this year they expected twice as many people.