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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI oceanography school to celebrate 50th anniversary with science open house; dinner, fireworks, and dancing; blues concert, June 25-26

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – June 1, 2011 – In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, the public is invited to a weekend of events at the URI Bay Campus in Narragansett that will engage visitors in learning about oceanography at the Science Saturday Open House, enjoying a Saturday evening celebration featuring fine local foods, and entertain them with music performed by Rhode Island’s leading blues musicians at a Sunday afternoon Concert.

On Saturday, June 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors can enjoy the Science Saturday Open House, which will provide the public of all ages with a glimpse into Narragansett Bay and the world’s oceans through the eyes of oceanographers, engineers, and students.

“Science research can often appear mysterious and complicated, so this event is intended to bring it out into the open and make it more accessible,” said David Farmer, dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography. “We will be opening the doors of the URI Narragansett Bay Campus to some of our wonderfully exciting facilities that few non-scientists ever get a chance to see.”

Facilities open to visitors will be the Inner Space Center, which will show live video from the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer operating in the Pacific Ocean; the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center, a nuclear reactor used for scientific research; the 209-foot NOAA ship Henry B. Bigelow, a research vessel that studies a wide range of sea life and ocean conditions; the rock and core facility, where marine geologists study seafloor rocks and sediments; the research aquarium where sharks, rays and other fish are raised for a wide variety of studies; and the historic South Ferry Church. URI’s own research vessel Endeavor will not be at the dock for this open house as the ship will be on the way to the Gulf of Mexico to study the state of the ecology of that region in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

In addition, scientists and graduate students will fill the Bay Campus’ Knauss Quadrangle with demonstrations of scientific equipment and illustrations of their research. Visitors will be able to look into microscopes to observe Narragansett Bay’s tiniest creatures, learn about hurricanes, ocean waves, and underwater earthquakes; and observe the release of a weather balloon to collect data on atmospheric ozone. Touch tanks and other entertaining activities for children will also be available.

Food and beverages will be for sale by local vendors, as well as books by local authors, and a variety of Graduate School of Oceanography and Henry B. Bigelow items.

The festivities continue Saturday evening at a celebration with reception and dinner at the Bay Campus, starting at 6:30 p.m. The dinner features a wide variety of fresh and local seafood and non-seafood options, dancing to live music, and fireworks over the bay. Tickets are $60 per person and must be ordered in advance.

On Sunday, June 26 from 1 to 5 p.m. a concert featuring blues icon James Montgomery and his friends—Rhode Island blues legend Neal Vitullo and 14-year-old guitar phenom Cory Belucci—will take place on the Bay Campus quadrangle.

A singer and harmonica player, Montgomery is a long-time supporter of the Graduate School of Oceanography who has performed his energetic live shows for 40 years and recorded six albums. He has toured with major artists including Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen and the Allman Brothers, and he has performed on stage with most of America’s blues luminaries, from B.B. King to John Lee Hooker. One reviewer noted that Montgomery “puts his heart and soul into each performance, most of which sell out.” The public is advised to purchase tickets early.

Tickets to the concert are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, and children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult. Concertgoers are welcome to bring a picnic to this alcohol-free event, and sit at tables and chairs under the tent or bring a blanket to sit on the grass. Food and beverages will also be available for sale.

A private “meet and greet” with Montgomery and friends following the concert is offered for $75, which includes tickets to the show.

All events are based under a huge tent overlooking Narragansett Bay and will take place rain or shine. The URI Bay Campus is located at the east end of South Ferry Road in Narragansett. To order tickets for the celebration or concert, call 401-874-6440. For more information, email info@gso.uri.edu or visit gso.uri.edu/gso50.