ABERDEEN’S award-winning annual science festival, TechFest, will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a packed programme of fascinating events for all ages, reflecting advancements in science and technology.
This year’s festival gets underway on October 29 and runs to November 18, with more than 25 fun workshops, lectures and hands-on experiments aimed at children, teenagers and adults alike.
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Visitors will have the chance to listen to a wide range of world-renowned speakers, including leading scientists who will share their real-life work and research, as well as behind the scenes tours, a family activity day and even a Q&A session with an astronaut.
Thanks to the support of joint principal funders bp and Shell and public programme sponsor Equinor, entry to each event is either free or just £2 per person.
For fans of true crime and forensic science, Dr James Grieve, Emeritus Professor at the University of Aberdeen, will talk on October 31 about advances in technology and whether they would have made a difference to the outcome of historic murder cases.
Dirt and DNA in the Criminal Justice System will look at how forensic evidence is used to underpin a safe criminal justice system, from crime scene to court.
Professor Lorna Dawson CBE, head of the Soil Forensics Group at the James Hutton Institute, will be joined on November 14 by her Robert Gordon University colleague Wendy Deegan, a lecturer in forensic science, to explore collection, analysis and interpretation.
For food and drink connoisseurs, there’s a chance to see behind the scenes at Aberdeen’s only craft brewery, Fierce Beer. This multi-sensory experience will include the brewhouse, fermentation tanks, barrel store and a walk through the complete brewing process.
Or if a cuppa’s more your thing, discover the science and art of creating a delicious cup of coffee with mechanical engineer Neil Glover of Figment Coffee Company, who will share the story of coffee roasting and brewing processes, from farm to cup.
Gamers of all ages will have the opportunity to find out how many Pikachus it takes to power a lightbulb and why the world of Pokémon seems to ignore the basic laws of physics.
In an online Pokémaths session, Dr Tom Crawford will look at the maths behind one of the world’s favourite video games.
Visitors of all ages can get involved in a fun family activity day at the University of Aberdeen’s Science Teaching Hub on November 5 from 10am to 4pm, including hands-on interactive activities from the Aberdeen Biodiversity Centre and Special Collections Team, which includes a mini tour of the special collections and Lego Trail, or an opportunity to take a seismometer reading by making your own ‘earthquake’ by jumping up and down.
Other events throughout the festival include cyber safety, wildlife photography, artificial intelligence, gravitational waves, insomnia, volcanoes in Antarctica and reusing waste.
Sarah Chew, TechFest’s managing director, described this year’s programme as diverse and intriguing.
“We’re excited to present our 30th festival, which has a really diverse and interesting range of topics and events that really reflects how much STEM education has changed over the years,” she said. “We would not have seen AI as a subject matter until recent years and forensic science, which is always a popular subject, has of course advanced significantly with the development of new technologies.
“This is what makes TechFest such a fun and interesting festival, with new and amazing discoveries to explore every time! We have put together a varied programme which is aimed at all ages. There’s lots for children to get involved with but there are plenty of events for adults to enjoy and spend an hour learning or debating a new subject.
“We are so grateful to our sponsors and funders Equinor, bp and Shell whose support allows us to provide free or low-cost events which bring like-minded people together for a thought-provoking event.
“This year’s festival offers the chance to hear from some of the best experts in their respective fields and the opportunity to engage in STEM interests outside day-to-day life. We look forward to welcoming audiences over the next three weeks.”
The festival will be held at several venues across Aberdeen, including RGU’s Garthdee campus and the University of Aberdeen.
Booking is open now and the programme can be downloaded from the TechFest website.
There’s also a series of podcasts and games to enjoy, which can be accessed anytime.
TechFest is an Aberdeen-based charity which aims to engage young people in the four main STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and encourage them to go on to follow a career which utilises these skills, by demonstrating that they are both fun and relevant in day-to-day life.
As well as the science festival, the charity runs a programme of year-round events for schools and the wider community.
For more information on TechFest and to book your tickets, visit https://techfest.org.uk/festival/2023-festival