Brighton Science Festival returns this month with their best programme yet. What started as a single weekend of talks in 2005 has expanded to a huge celebration of all things science attracting over 15,000 attendees. It now features over 80 events taking place at 40 venues, including churches and galleries, a village pub and Brighton beach itself.
People never stop learning, but the aim of BSF2016 is make this process fun. Instead of the being-lectured-at style of learning, it brings hands-on demonstrations, engaging talks and live experiments into its entertaining line-up. “Young people love to explore, experiment and create,” Festival Director, Richard Robinson says. “They don’t mind making mistakes along the way. But the school curriculum doesn’t leave time for mistakes. There is no room for the spirit of discovery. Secondly, their parents don’t join in. So our family fun days are there for both parents and their children to play, experiment, discover and share the experience.”
The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Journeys’. So events will look at everything from animal navigation and migration to evolution and space travel. As well as regulars like Robin Ince and Helen & Kat Arney, a new crop of pop science presenters and entertainers are ready to blow your minds.
Robin Dunbar explains why the number of friends you have is defined by a mathematical limit, Matt Taylor talks about placing a landing craft on a comet (and maybe getting told off for wearing a bad shirt), while Rosie Wilby takes a look at the science of sex, via the nature of pheromones and the origins of kissing. Meanwhile there’s more kids’ stuff than ever in the festival’s hands-on half term programme. Dr Marty Jopson from BBC’s ‘The One Show’ investigates the shocking story of electricity; Russell Arnott hosts an interactive presentation in which sea-life experts champion their favourite underwater invertebrate (because everyone has one…) while Blast Science examine the mysteries of space and time with an interactive ‘Star Wars’ astronomy show – including a light sabre battle finale.
The main attraction is once again a double day of interactive science fun at Bright Sparks, which comes to Hove Park Upper School on Sat 13 – Sun 14 Feb. These two days are packed full of activities and demonstrations. You can hang out with a boa constrictor, build a robot, knit with DNA or investigate a crime scene. There really is something for everyone at this event.
So put aside any preconceptions you may have about science – every part of the Brighton Science Festival programme will challenge people’s perceptions about what science is and who can do it. Roll up your sleeves and get stuck into the fun.
Brighton Science Festival 2016 comes to venues across Brighton & Hove on Tues 2nd – Sun 28 Feb.