Sidmouth Science Festival offers something for everyone

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 September 2018

Learning all about seaweed at Sidmouth Science Festival. Picture: Tony Velterop

Learning all about seaweed at Sidmouth Science Festival. Picture: Tony Velterop

Tony Velterop

Free talks, walks, workshops and entertainment during Sidmouth’s seventh Science Festival

Geologist Dr Roger Trend leads a walk during Sidmouth Science Week in an earlier year. Picture: E MathewsGeologist Dr Roger Trend leads a walk during Sidmouth Science Week in an earlier year. Picture: E Mathews

There is a chance to learn more about fossils, stars, weather, the sea and the workings of your own brain, during the Sidmouth Science Festival which begins on Friday, October 5 and runs until October 14.

It includes hands-on workshops, talks and activities, indoors and out, for all ages and abilities; and most of them are free.

They cover art, heritage and health, as well as technology, geology and the natural environment.

This year’s speakers include scientists well-known from their TV and radio appearances, such as Professor Iain Stewart (BBC TV; Rise of the Continents, Volcano Live) and Robin Ince (The Infinite Monkey Cage, Radio 4).

Balancing pebbles at Sidmouth Science Festival. Picture: E MathewsBalancing pebbles at Sidmouth Science Festival. Picture: E Mathews

The programme of activities ranges from geology walks and launching weather balloons to racing a jet car and catching bats, and they take place at venues around Sidmouth including the Norman Lockyer Observatory.

The entertainment includes a science-based magic show and a performance involving dance, film and a light installation, which explores how the mind works and what can go wrong.

Young people are very much involved, with workshops taking place in primary and secondary schools, designed to engage and inspire pupils. There are also plenty of family-friendly activities throughout the programme.

Super Science Saturday, on October 13, sees free hands-on activities for all ages at various venues around Sidmouth.

Learning all about seaweed at Sidmouth Science Festival. Picture: Tony VelteropLearning all about seaweed at Sidmouth Science Festival. Picture: Tony Velterop

The festival is now in its seventh year and is run by a team of volunteers including retired professionals from academia, teaching, business, healthcare and engineering.

Since it was started in 2012 it has grown from a weekend event to a much bigger festival.

One of the organisers, Liz Bramley, said: “We wanted to make it a community festival as well, so we have events at the library, the observatory and other places. The Sid Vale Association and the Sidmouth Arts Society are involved too.

“People are very positive, there is a lot of interest in it. We are immersed in science, it’s everywhere around us.”

Geologist Dr Roger Trend leads a walk during Sidmouth Science Week in an earlier year. Picture: E MathewsGeologist Dr Roger Trend leads a walk during Sidmouth Science Week in an earlier year. Picture: E Mathews

Last year’s festival attracted the largest number of people so far, with 4,400 attending the various events and more coming from outside Sidmouth than in previous years.

For a full programme of events, visit www.sidmouthsciencefestival.org

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