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Festival gears up for science week

Science | Schools

Pete Wilton | 07 Mar 12

Wow How 2011

Fancy making your own slime or chilling out with liquid nitrogen? How about discovering the microscopic world of magma or how plants keep us healthy?

If you do then you’re in luck as this month sees the Oxfordshire Science Festival (3-18 March) collide with National Science and Engineering Week (9-18 March).

Oxford University scientists are busy organising lots of family-friendly events around Oxfordshire. As always, one of the highlights will be the annual Wow! How? science fair at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (Saturday 10 March) with over 30 different hands-on activities and demonstrations including slime making, live bugs, illusions, secret messages, board games, fossils, and skeletons.

Saturday is also your chance to find out about the maths hidden in the urban environment around Oxford by joining a Maths in the City walking tour.

If you fancy a greener stroll then, throughout the festival, you can take the Marvellous Medicine Trail around Oxford University’s Botanic Gardens and discover how plants are the key to many of the medicines we use today (entrance fee required).

On Saturday 17 March you could find out more about volcanoes, magma, and why some rocks float at Volcanoes: The Magical Microscopic World of Magma, an event organised by the Royal Microscopical Society.

17 March is also your chance to take it freezey with demonstrations using liquid nitrogen helping to explain the physics of very low temperatures.

Throughout March Oxford University also runs a programme of science events aimed specifically at Oxfordshire schools. Begbroke Science Park will be holding their Innovation Showcase (8 March) where pupils are invited to come up with ideas for products to pitch to a Dragon’s Den style panel of experts.

Meanwhile the Oxford University Science Roadshow (12-16 March) will be bringing the joy of science and engineering to The Marlborough School, Burford School, The Cooper School, Oxford Spires Academy, and Chipping Norton School. This year topics include playing games with DNA and how to make solar cells.

Photo: freezing fun at the 2011 Wow! How? science fair.