Jimmy Yeager knows wine, food and spirits, which is a good thing because he owns Jimmy’s restaurant in Aspen. He also is a self-professed “die-hard math geek” with a strong interest in physics and chemistry.
“For me, applied mathematics and related scientific fields are incredibly interesting,” Yeager said. “When I see how foods are made and the chemical reactions involved in cooking, I see a real marriage of science and art.”
Yeager’s interest in science and his relationships with several physicists in the Aspen area led to his involvement with the Aspen Science Center and the Science Sundays events that will take place the first three Sundays in May.
Yeager volunteered his restaurant space to house the three community events that take place Sunday, May 11 and May 18 from noon to 4 p.m. The Science Sundays events are free, and all ages are encouraged to attend. Donations are optional, with appetizers and a light lunch provided.
“All you need is a good dose of curiosity and playfulness,” Yeager said. “I’ve been continuing my education with science for more than 30 years. I’m encouraging everyone to come out and see where science takes you.”
Each Sunday will feature different activities that Yeager says will be fun, entertaining and discovery-provoking.
“For those looking for something to do with your kids that’s inspiring and thought-provoking, Science Sundays make for a great activity,” Yeager said. “It’s going to be fun for both kids and adults with plenty of hands-on projects and experiments.”
People can come and go as they please during the Science Sundays events. Several stations will be offered, with plenty of hands-on activities, demonstrations and presentations with a solid dose of “wow” factor.
Jackie Francis, the executive director of the science center, carries an obvious passion for science and the pursuit of learning about how and why things work through experiments and observations.
As far as Francis is concerned, everyone is a scientist.
“Science is like magic,” she said. “It touches almost everything we do on a daily basis. Science isn’t just lab coats, test tubes and owl pellets. When someone watches television, puts on makeup or measures something, there’s science involved.”
At the end of each Science Sundays event, participants will be allowed the opportunity to learn how to make fresh ice cream and enjoy the finished product.
“The only ice makers we’ll use will be personal energy and plastic bags,” Yeager said.
Gordon Gerson and Tom Pevney, of Aspen, Dr. Kenton Bruice, of Denver, and several anonymous donors sponsor the Science Sundays events.
The Aspen Science Center is hoping to gain access to the former Aspen powerhouse that currently houses the Aspen Art Museum until it moves to the new museum building this summer.
If chosen as the next tenant, the Aspen Science Center plans to transform the building into a world-class discovery center for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, with programs for preschool kids to adults. The center will highlight astronomy, biology, chemistry, computers, electronics, mathematics, mechanics and physics.
“Aspen is famous for its focus on mind, body and spirit through outdoor sports, intellectual pursuits, physics and the arts,” said Mike Simmons, the chairman of the board and a member of the executive committee of the Aspen Science Center. “The old powerhouse as the Aspen Science Center will add the crucial (and so-far missing) entire range of STEM subjects, especially focused on children and young people, enhancing Aspen’s image and broadening its attraction to people from all over the world.”
In Yeager’s opinion, a marriage between the former power-house and the Aspen Science Center would be a perfect match.
“That’s what’s so cool about a potential permanent home for the science center,” he said. “It would give constant opportunities to enjoy activities like Science Sundays for anyone visiting or living in Aspen.”