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Scientists embrace their inner geek

Irena Zajickova | Tuesday, February 23, 2010

For Notre Dame students who love science, the second annual Geek Week is a can’t-miss series of science- and math-related events.
Geek Week, which kicked off Monday with a Geek Family Feud hosted by Notre Dame’s chapter of the American Chemical Society, will continue through Friday and conclude with the “Beauty and the Geek” dance that evening at 8 p.m. in Jordan Hall.
Senior Sarah Pastorek, the president of the Math Club, said the Geek Week provides students with an opportunity to meet others who share their interests.
“[Geek Week is] a great way to have students who are interested in different areas of science to do ‘geeky’ activities while getting to know others,” she said.
Geek Week’s other activities include a Dissection Night sponsored by the Biology Club today at 5:30 p.m., a chemistry demonstration with Professor Seth Brown tomorrow at 7 p.m. and a Sudoku challenge sponsored by the Math Club Thursday at 8 p.m. All events will take place in the Jordan Hall of Science.
According to sophomore Paul Baranay, social chair of the Biology Club, one of the main objectives of Geek Week is to bring together students from different disciplines.
“As far as Geek Week goes, I think it’s a really exciting collaboration between all the clubs in the College of Science,” Baranay said. “It’s a really exciting chance for people to get to know each other, because a lot of people in the difference majors don’t really interact.”
Junior Annette Ruth, co-president of the Biology Club, said although the various science clubs on campus hold many events separately, they rarely combine forces and hold joint events. Geek Week aims to change that, she said.
“You see a lot of the individual groups on campus doing their individual events, but you don’t really see them team up that much,” Ruth said.
Baranay said another benefit of Geek Week is that it provides a more relaxed environment than the more traditional classroom setting.
“It’s a chance for socialization that wouldn’t be happening inside the classroom,” Baranay said.
Another goal of Geek Week is to show non-science-majors that science isn’t only about academic work, but that it has a lighter side and can actually be fun, Ruth said.
“I think students from other majors should definitely come out to the events,” Ruth said. “I think sometimes people are afraid that it’ll be too rigid or academic but it’s not. It’s really loose and laid back and fun.”
Pastorek said Geek Week’s events are a chance for students to learn that science is interesting and stimulating.
“Hopefully students can see the exciting side of science during Geek Week,” Pastorek said.