National Science Week - Bangs, Boffins & Bones At A Museum Near You

By Graham Spicer | 10 March 2005
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Shows a photograph of an adult sitting on the ground showing a small object to some children.

National Science Week offers a great chance to experience science first hand at a venue near you. © The BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science).

National Science Week is taking place with events across the country from March 11-20, aiming to engage people of all ages with science.

In 2005 events take place during Einstein Year, which marks the centenary of the publication of the great Albert Einstein’s groundbreaking theories that changed the way we see the universe.

As well as celebrating Einstein’s famous discoveries, National Science Week will give people all over the UK the opportunity to take part in science, technology and engineering activities. These range from fossil hunts to robot building workshops, with some particularly interesting events for young people.

"National Science Week is all about taking science to the public," says Craig Brierley of organisers the British Association for the Advancement of Science. "During the week, there are over a thousand events everywhere from science centres to supermarkets – you don’t get more varied than that."

Shows a photograph of an adult helping two children use a telescope.

Whether it's searching the skies, dusting off a fossil or playing with chocolate, there are more than 1000 events going on all over the UK. © The BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science).

Hundreds of thousands of people took part in last year’s events and there is something on offer in all parts of the country.

In Scotland, the Science Discovery Day at the Aberdeen Maritime Museum has hands on activities on March 12 and the opportunity to take the problem-solving Highland Stag Challenge. Glasgow Science Centre’s Pop-up Parachutes, on all week, lets you try your hand at making and launching parachutes from their special air gun.

Belfast’s W5 centre has a number of themed events. Be a Space Detective for the day and search for the origins of the solar system and life on other planets until June 6, or create 3D bugs and insects to go to the Ugly Bug Ball on March 12.

Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle invites children to find out about forces and motion in their Can You Feel the Force toy making activities, from March 14-18.

Families can build and take home remote controlled robots at the RoboFesta Robot-Building Workshops at Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Life Science Centre on March 12. Pick from a robot knight, footballer, dancer or dinosaur.

Shows a photograph of the exterior of the Life Science Centre in Newcastle.

How about a spot of Robot building in Newcastle? Courtesy Life Science Centre.

Liverpool Museum hosts a Family Fossil Hunt on March 20, giving insights into the prehistoric world. Visitors can examine fossils in the laboratory to find out what they are and how they lived.

Across the Pennines you can watch paper clips float and make electromagnets with a series of hands-on experiments in York at the National Railway Museum’s Magnet Mania workshop, from March 14-18.

Shows a photograph of an astronaut walking on the moon.

...a small step for... It's All Relative at Oakwell Hall County Park. Courtesy Kirklees.

Pieces of the moon brought back by the Apollo space missions will be on display at It’s All Relative at Oakwell Hall Country Park in Birstall, along with planetarium shows and moon-buggy making, on March 13.

Over in Wales the Spaceguard Centre in Powys is hosting part of nationwide Spaced Out events on March 12, when it will help to create the world’s largest representation of our solar system, and with the official unveiling of the artistic installation representing the centaur Absolus.

Shows a photograph of the interior and exhibition at Techniquest in Cardiff.

Gearing up for a spot of Robot combat in Wales. Courtesy Techniquest.

Real robots will be in action from Robot Wars, Mechonoids and Technogames. Visitors can programme a robot and putting it to the test in the arena at the Robot Spectacular in the Techniquest centre, Cardiff, on March 19-20.

The properties of light are examined at Light Fantastic at the Coventry Priory Visitor Centre on March 12. Participants can learn how to make a rainbow, tell the time from the sun and perform plays with homemade shadow puppets.

In Warwick on March 12, Violent Volcanoes at the Warwickshire Museum reveals the mysteries of lava and why volcanoes erupt. There’ll be experts on hand to explain these natural phenomena with quizzes and activities.

Chocolate lovers can step onto the Learning Bus in Cambridge where the Science of Chocolate takes in the confectionary’s history from the Aztecs to astronauts, from March 16-23. Experiments show how chocolate can change in state and participants can even make their own ‘chocolate play dough’.

Shows a photograph of a man pulling a giant bubble over television scientist, Robert Winston, while children look on in the background.

Isn't that? National Science Week proves you don't have to be Lord Winston to don a white coat and do some experimenting. © The BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science).

The Dinosaur Detectives hands-on workshop in Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery on March 19 also looks at fossils, to discover the secrets of past life.

Mapping Miniworlds at Holbourne Museum of Art in Bath encourages primary school children to get creative, from March 16-18. Using maps, they can make messy clay models.

At Chichester District Museum’s Windpower on March 12, activities show how man has made wings, sails and kites and children can construct model gliders, windmills and more.

London’s Science Museum has a wealth of events during the week and on March 12 and 13 there is an opportunity to join members of the BBC’s Rough Science team in building and racing vehicles at The Rough Science Rover Bash.

Shows a photograph of an adult and child, each holding out hour glasses.

There are loads of hands on activities, for all ages, all over the country. © The BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science).

Hidden Treasures of the Thames with staff from the National Maritime Museum looks at the historic artefacts that can be found on the river’s foreshore, and also takes in its past uses and features, on March 13.

In addition to all the events, National Science Week has lots of information online, as Craig explains: "To make it even easier for people to take part in science, we have plenty of free resources online with activities to do at home. Science needs to be as open and accessible as possible – hopefully National Science Week does a good job at making it so."

Of course this is just a brief rundown of just a few of the fantastic events being held for National Science Week. For more information about events in your area visit the official website or check with your local museum.

But if you can't make it to any activities visit the 24 Hour Museum zone for kids, where you'll find lots of great scientific online games to dispose of a few hours with.

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