Northern Irish festival enlists young people for UV experiment

This year’s NI Science Festival focuses on how science affects everyday lives

Sleuthing at a CSI event at last year’s NI Science Festival

Sleuthing at a CSI event at last year’s NI Science Festival

 

Have you ever been curious about the science that underpins the food we eat, how we play sport, or works of art?

NI Science Festival will dig into these and other questions later this month in more than 100 events across Northern Ireland, beginning on February 18th and running until the 28th.

“This year we have tried to design the programme so it focuses on how science affects everyday lives,” says the festival’s director, Chris McCreery. “As well as the core theme of maths, physics and engineering, there will be the science of food, sport, music and art.”

Many of the daytime events and activities are suitable for children and families, says McCreery, and the crammed programme includes tours aboard the Agri-Food and Bioscience Institute research ship the RV Corystes, sports-themed challenges at W5, a FabLab for prototype projects and a hands-on archeological workshop to figure out what people ate in the past.

Evening gigs tend to be more suited to adults; they include talks, performances, a six-course sustainable meal, talks about robotics and Living on the Planet of the Machines, and a Late Lab party at the Ulster Museum.

During the festival, artist-in-residence Gemma Anderson will be exhibiting work and talking about the links between art and science.

Last year the inaugural festival set a world record by hosting more than 1,300 people in a practical science lesson. This year highlights a new challenge; the 2016 Royal Society of Chemistry’s Global Experiment encourages young people to measure how materials block UV light and then post the data online.

“They do the experiment, and the beauty is that they upload their data to a website and they can compare the results with schools across the world,” says McCreery.

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