Tap into the city’s brain pool and be­come a ge­nius

Our city is packed full of cu­rios­ity and clev­er­ness—here’s how to give your brain a Bos­ton spring clean.

Where Boston - - NEWS -

Around 200 years ago, when the founders of mod­ern-day Bos­ton set out to cre­ate a global cen­ter for well-mean­ing thinkers, the city be­came known as “the Athens of Amer­ica” and—not so mod­estly—the “hub of the so­lar sys­tem.” These days, Bos­ton re­tains its sta­tus as the Big Papi of su­per­s­mart cities: a great place to up­grade your gray mat­ter whether you’re in­ter­ested in sci­ence, lit­er­a­ture, phi­los­o­phy, cut­tingedge mak­erspaces or the nat­u­ral his­tory of pizza (oh yes, it’s a thing).

Even if the only smart thing you’ve done so far this year is to write the words “Tom Brady: Great­est” back­wards in Sharpie across your midriff while look­ing in the bath­room mir­ror, there’s no ex­cuse for pass­ing up the chance to in­ves­ti­gate the al­ways-fascinating an­nual Cam­bridge Sci­ence Fes­ti­val.

The 10-day cel­e­bra­tion of all things in­no­va­tive and STEAM-re­lated (sci­ence, tech, en­gi­neer­ing, arts, math) starts on April 14 and draws on a net­work of col­lab­o­ra­tors in­clud­ing the Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, Har­vard Univer­sity and the Mu­seum of Sci­ence. At the lat­ter venue, vis­i­tors can hunt for sunspots ev­ery lunchtime for the du­ra­tion of the fes­ti­val, cour­tesy of the mu­seum’s so­lar telescope, while the Peabody Mu­seum of Ar­chae­ol­ogy and Eth­nol­ogy at Har­vard Univer­sity of­fers an ap­pe­tiz­ing lec­ture on April 23—”The Nat­u­ral His­tory of Your Fa­vorite Foods” (in­clud­ing pizza). The Peabody also opens new Amer­i­can an­thro­pol­ogy ex­hi­bi­tion “All the World Is Here” on April 22.

Hack­ers, mak­ers and fledg­ling tech­notinker­ers should head for MITxMake on April 16, MIT’s stu­dent-led mak­er­fest, and Ar­ti­san’s Asy­lum (Free Cir­cuit Hack­ing Night) on April 19. If your in­ter­est in the cut­ting edge of DIY ex­tends be­yond the Cam­bridge Sci­ence Fes­ti­val, you can join the maker com­mu­nity in a va­ri­ety of lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing Cam­bridge Hackspace and (for bud­ding bio-hack­ers) Boslab, both lo­cated in Somerville.

Over at Bos­ton Pub­lic Li­brary on April 4, guest speaker Neil Gaiman—pro­lific au­thor across mul­ti­ple gen­res and mas­ter of the el­e­gant di­gres­sion—joins host Jared Bowen for a wide-rang­ing lit­er­ary dis­cus­sion that’s sure to spark cu­rios­ity and to en­ter­tain in equal mea­sure.

The won­der­ful Bos­ton Athenaeum is in many ways the Fenway Park of global li­braries—grace­fully an­cient, beloved by ded­i­cated fans and hugely im­pres­sive for first-time vis­i­tors. Founded in 1807, it re­mains a hub for the cu­ri­ous. Highly rec­om­mended in April is a talk on the in­ter­sec­tion of sci­ence and pho­tog­ra­phy, ti­tled “Frame by Frame.”

Of course, the quest for brain food is im­pos­si­ble with­out ac­tual food, which is where the smarter cor­ners of Bos­ton re­ally come into their own, slak­ing our thirst for knowl­edge while of­fer­ing world-class re­fresh­ments. The Mir­a­cle of Sci­ence Bar & Grill in Cam­bridge, with its Pe­ri­odic Tablestyle wall menu, puts a stamp of aca­demic va­lid­ity on the sim­ple act of chug­ging a craft ale, while Café ArtS­cience near Ken­dall Square gives its cock­tails and plates a state-of-the-art sci­en­tific rein­ven­tion, and also hosts reg­u­lar free talks from the cut­ting edge of art and tech­nol­ogy. Cur­rently on show in the ex­hi­bi­tion space is the mind-blow­ing “Life in Pi­cosec­onds.”

Dive in, soak it all up and im­press your friends and fam­ily with a month’s worth of fresh knowl­edge—you are now, of­fi­cially, Bos­ton smart.

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