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.
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.