Adler Planetarium Hosts Chicago Ideas Week YOU(th) Kick-Off Event

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500 teens to participate in museum-led workshops focusing on innovation to kick-off Chicago Ideas Week YOU(th) program.

On Tuesday, September 30, from 4 –7 p.m., the Adler Planetarium, in collaboration with Chicago Ideas Week (CIW), will host the 2014 CIW YOU(th) Kick-Off Event. This will be the official start of CIW’s youth component bringing 500 teens and 75 adult chaperones to the museum to participate in a series of museum-led science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workshops. As the featured event speaker, entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, Chris Gardner, will share his inspirational story of self-made success, as portrayed in the 2006 film The Pursuit of Happyness.

The Adler annually engages more than 600 teens in STEM-related workshops, internships and other educational outreach programs. This makes the museum an ideal venue to launch the CIW YOU(th) program, which enables 500 students from diverse, low-income Chicago communities to experience the best of CIW.

“The Adler Planetarium is proud to welcome the CIW YOU(th) program and the many students and mentors participating in the kick-off event,” said Michelle B. Larson, Ph.D., Adler Planetarium president and CEO. “This program embodies the Adler’s commitment to helping young people realize they can innovate and change the world.”

The Adler’s CIW YOU(th) workshop sessions will focus on building skills used in STEM fields including communication, inventiveness, determination and more. Workshops sessions include:

  •     Wireless Communication – Rovers on Mars are busy exploring distant terrain, but how do we know what they’re finding? In this workshop, participants will learn how scientists send and receive communications from NASA’s robotic explorers.
  •     Robot Races – Robots are paving the way for human exploration throughout the Solar System. In this workshop, participants will learn how to program their own robot to navigate difficult terrain in a series of challenges.
  •     Detecting the Invisible – Have you ever heard of invisible light? Studying invisible light is useful to astronomers because it helps them learn more about phenomena in space. In this workshop, participants explore the many types of light on the electromagnetic spectrum that people can’t see with their naked eye.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Adler Planetarium and Michelle Larson, a member of the CIW Co-op, to provide students with the opportunity to explore and learn at the Adler Planetarium," said Rachel Graham, CIW YOU(th) Director. "We are committed to providing CIW YOU(th) participants with cultural experiences throughout the city, and the Adler is the perfect place to start what we hope will be two transformative weeks for Chicago's Future Leaders.”

The Fourth Annual Chicago Ideas Week, to be held October 13-19, 2014, brings together more than 150 globally renowned speakers including A-list actors, distinguished entrepreneurs, tech moguls, politicians, sports figures and other individuals who are changing the world. Some of the diverse speakers taking the CIW stage this year include acclaimed director George Lucas, actress Joan Cusack, world-renowned chef Mario Batali, country music star Naomi Judd and Deepak Chopra, M.D.

For more information about CIW events, visit

About the Adler Planetarium
The Adler Planetarium—America’s First Planetarium—was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler. A recognized leader in public learning, the Adler Planetarium inspires young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Scientists, historians and educators at the museum inspire the next generation of explorers.

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Nicholas Glenn
Adler Planetarium
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