The Culture24/7: Trees, daleks, bubbles and light in an August of Science and Nature

By Ben Miller | 31 July 2012
A photo of a large silver robot performing on a stage in front of groups of children
© Fleet air arm Museum
Daleks invade Yeovilton, a Treefest branches out in Gloucestershire, robots form an orchestra at the Science Museum and everybody gets grossed out in Halifax. Get inspired by Science and Nature this August...

The Science of Sporting Success, Leeds City Museum, Leeds, August 3-4

In an echo of the Olympic Body Match currently flattering everyone on the BBC’s website, this Yorkshire show of stamina invites you to compare yourself to an Olympic athlete without the embarrassment of being impossibly outclassed.

There’s also a Modern Pentathlon challenge on the Wii, behind-the-scenes looks at how performance is measured, tips on how to improve training strategies through science, a glance at some of the ethical dilemmas concerning drugs in sport and wheelchair basketball. The Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds oversees some of the programme.

Dave Griffiths: Babel Fiche, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, from August 10

Dave Griffiths worked with an astrophysicist to sample a ten-degree field of view in the southerly sky, mapping far-flung galaxies against the co-ordinates of the double-height space of the Castlefield Gallery for Deep Field [The Photographic Universe].

His work owes much to a masterful use of microfilm, printing these maps as microdots and allowing people to view them through a telescope. To infinity and beyond.

Daleks, Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, August 18-19

It’s the question on everyone’s lips: How do you tell the difference between boy and girl Daleks? The visiting robots who make it past security guards from the nearby naval base will, apparently, be answering this question during this weekend bleep and gurgle fest at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, accompanied by Davros, Miss Hartigan, Cybermen, Ice Warriors, Pig Slave, Screaming Angel and others.

Sci-fi fancy dress is (sort of) a prerequisite ahead of short play The Master Strikes Back, an obstacle race, traders, secret celebrity guests and a parade finale beneath a Concorde.

Treefest, Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, August 25-27

The 600-acre home of the National Japanese Maple Collection ushers in fairytale-inspired carvers, intent on curving large wooden sculptures for a new play trail in Silk Wood as part of an annual bark bonanza which attracted more than 20,000 visitors last year.

Live music, woodland skills and cookery demonstrations by chefs ready and willing to dish up a few specialities are also planned. Admission is free for kids and camping is available.

Connecting Light, Hadrian's Wall, Cumbria, from August 31

“Our concept is to create a digital platform by which messages can be communicated the entire length of the wall,” says Zachary Lieberman, of the New York-based arts collective YesYesNo, who will be using a low-res fibre optic line to connect the coasts of England in illuminating fashion in a commission for London 2012.

Turning the Roman Empire’s northern frontier into a contemporary communication system visible across the world via the magic of the internet, this ambitious plan also involves huge tethered weather balloons, lit by internal LED lights to create a colourful display the public can power through smartphones. Newcastle University’s Culture Lab are collaborators.

Web Lab, Science Museum, London

This experiment between Google and the Science Museum allows everyone to try out five web-based experiments, including an eight-piece robotic orchestra, custom-built, photo-taking robots who sketch their snapshots in sand and the Data Tracer – a map tracing system where the world’s online information is physically stored.

Bread lovers will fancy the Teleporter, in which a series of “web enabled telescopes” allows a 24-hour bakery in the US to be instantly seen among a range of other venues. And Lab Tag Explorer, a visualisation of everyone testing out these trials across the world, will group and order users in ways it promises will prove incredible.

Science Sundays, Eureka – The National Children's Museum, Halifax

Playfest, the six-week outdoor festival at The National Children’s Museum, has a different science theme for families to enjoy every Sunday, with the exact details revealed on a weekly basis.

The first one, on August the 5th, features The Gross Lab, in which the less lovely aspects of our bodies are examined in a series of 45-minute science shows. Giant bubbles add to the fun.
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