Science That Makes Your Eyes Pop! Brighton Science Festival 2007

By Kirk Ward | 05 February 2007
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a logo for Brighton Science Festival

Brighton Science Festival 2007 - February 18 - 25 2007.

This month will see a cascade reaction of science in Brighton. Running from 16 until 28 February 2007 the Brighton Science Festival is going supernova with interactive kid’s shows, films, lectures and a special ‘magic’ busk.

The festival consists of a myriad of science-based shows and exhibitions. At Big Science Sunday on February 18 there are talks by Professor of Genetics at University College London, Steve Jones, and The Guardian’s Ben Goldacre discussing topics like pseudoscience and the use of coral to judge the health of the planet.

The 60th anniversary of the transistor will be celebrated too, with academic and author David Bodanis, while astronomer John Gribbin will be exploring the future of the Sun, the Earth and the Solar System.

One aim of the festival is to inspire curiosity and reignite the nation’s waning interest in science. White Heat Family Day on Saturday 24 February will promote science for 10-15 year olds with some dazzling workshops, robots and cannonball antics. For the real youngsters Bright Sparks Family Day, Sunday 25 February, which is aimed at 7-12 year olds, is a day packed full of hands-on experiments and wacky demonstrations.

a portrait photograph of a man in front of a bookcase

Brighton Science Festival Director Richard Robinson. The man behind Spitting Image is now into Science in a BIG way. © Richard Robinson

Festival Director Richard Robinson helped found the Spitting Image movement, a social totem that came about because of his involvement in London’s fledgling Covent Garden busking scene, which today draws tourists from all over. He dragged his satirical puppet show around local pubs and clubs, to rapturous acclaim and a cult TV show soon followed.

But now science is his passion: “Science is the only subject that can make your eyes pop,” he says. Richard will be joining in the festivities too, taking his ‘magic busk’ to the streets. His ‘Science in Yer Face!’ show at Brighton's Churchill Square shopping precinct on Saturday February 17 effortlessly blends magic, science and a whole lot of fun. He believes that by incorporating magic into science he can spark children’s curiosity and help nurture the inquiring minds of the future.

“Science at school stops when kids leave the classroom. That’s ridiculous,” he says. “We need to make it about the world around us…and fun. The play and magic helps them concentrate, but if you think about it, creativity is the first step to invention.”

Calling himself a “natural philosopher” he is single-mindedly determined to curb the current demise of science taught in British schools. Richard fears a “national crisis” if fewer students keep studying science at university. He believes that by making science fun we can kick-start its popularity and ensure Britain can supply itself with the next generation of scientists and researchers, especially in the face of global warming.

“The point is, science is everywhere and in everything, it’s the key to understanding the universe and the only way any of us will survive the mess we’re making of the planet,” says Richard.

More details about Brighton Science Festival are available at www.brightonscience.com. For more about Richard and his series of children’s science books visit www.smagic.demon.co.uk.

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