There are a lot of good reasons to attend this year's Maker Faire, May 19-20, in San Mateo. For parents, it may be to expose their kids to inventive minds and encourage an interest in technology or engineering. For the crafty, it may be to learn a new skill, like knitting, coffee roasting or soldering. For inventors, it may be to satisfy a need to share an innovative idea or brainstorm with other makers. But possibly the best reason to attend Maker Faire, is to witness the warm handshake of art and science as they begin to rekindle an old friendship.
OpenLab Network
Jennifer Parker, associate professor at UC Santa Cruz in the Digital Arts and New Media Program, says that art and science have always been linked.
"Every time you're sculpting, you're being an engineer," she says.
She also believes that art is vital to science, as it can help convey complex concepts to the masses through more accessible 3-D venues, such as apps, games, and exhibits.
"It's much better than explaining on a chalk board," she says.
In an effort to cross-pollinate the efforts of both artists and scientists, Parker co-founded the OpenLab Network [] at UCSC in 2011. OpenLab brings artists and scientists together in the real and virtual worlds with
dramatic results. Most recently, they helped to create the Kepler Explorer, a new application for the iPad and iPhone, allowing armchair explorers of the cosmos fingertip access to nearly 2,000 distant planetary systems discovered by NASA's Kepler Mission. Parker and others from the OpenLab Network will be at Marker Faire, showing the Kepler app, a Nintendo Wii Galactic Center Bowling game, and other OpenLab projects
Tina Baine's DIY column runs monthly in the Sentinel. Contact her at Visit to see old columns.

if you go.....
Maker Faire
Bay Area
What: A two-day, family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.
when: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 19, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 20
where: San Mateo Event Center, San Mateo
Admission: Single-day tickets start at $22. Visit for ticket options.