The Wow! How? science fair returns for 2014.
The Wow! How? science fair returns for 2014.
Photo: Scott Billings

Science festival set to inspire

Staff and students from Oxford University will be helping everyone to discover their own inner scientist at this year's Oxfordshire Science Festival (7-23 March 2014).

The Festival opens today and this weekend's highlights include the grand opening with a range of different stalls in Oxford's Bonn Square (8 March, 9am-5pm) and a series of free events at the Department of Earth Sciences (8 March, noon-2.30pm), part of the Oxford Colloquium, with book readings on fossils and continents and a chance to explore the digital archive of geological map pioneer William Smith created by the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH).

Saturday also sees the beginning of an exhibition at OUMNH (running 8-23 March) featuring images of butterflies and moths taken from an 18th-century manuscript by naturalist William Jones.

Throughout the Festival, researchers will be visiting schools around the county for the Oxford University Science Roadshow, getting pupils hooked on inspirational science in a series of demonstrations and workshops.

This year sees a special focus on the link between science and the arts, with the University's museums and collections joining forces for a mini-festival called Reactions (15-23 March). This will feature old favourites such as the Wow! How? family science fair at OUMNH (15 March, 10am-4pm), where 'kids' aged 8-80+ can make, explore, and explode hands-on scientific experiments and activities of all kinds.

Also on 15 March (10am-4pm), the Museum of the History of Science will be celebrating Crystal Day, where families can have fun discovering the science and beauty of crystals. Other highlights include an after-hours event at the Pitt Rivers Museum (20 March, 6.30pm-9.30pm) presenting the work of Artist in Residence Nathaniel Mann and featuring live performance, talks and tours looking at the ability of objects to make sounds and music. A talk at the Ashmolean Museum (21 March, 5pm-6pm) will blend choreography and dance with the science of how our brain processes movement.

Meanwhile, the Bonn University Particle Physics Show (18-20 March) at the Department of Physics will enable festival-goers to get closer to one of the world's largest physics experiments, the Large Hadron Collider, with an action-packed show of demonstrations, experiments and humour designed to bring the elusive Higgs Boson to life.

You can find full details of all Oxfordshire Science Festival events here