Festival of science and engineering

Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering kicks off later this week with a variety of events for schools and the public

By Steve Banting

Led by the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University together with the city’s museums, the 2014 festival takes place between Friday 14th March and Sunday 23rd March, and includes more than 200 school events across the region as well as a programme of free public activities from murder mystery evenings to looking at how robots will influence our lives.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “The Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the world-leading research taking place at both the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.”

Events will be taking place across South Yorkshire involving schools, colleges, libraries and museums, all offering communities a unique opportunity to learn more about the research taking place across the region.

Dr Richard Walton, from Sheffield Hallam’s Centre for Science Education, said: ‘The aim of the Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering is not just to celebrate the achievements of the past but to see, in the research and development of the present, a vision for the future in all areas of science and technology.

‘This festival demonstrates the enormous richness of scientific and technical talent that can be found in South Yorkshire; not only in the universities but in schools and industries across the region.’

On Saturday 15th March at 10am, the University of Sheffield’s Department of Molecular Biology and Sheffield Science Brainwaves will hold a DNA workshop giving participants the chance to isolate and analyse their own DNA using the tools of a modern molecular biology laboratory.

On Thursday 20th March at 5.30pm, Dr Adam Ellis from the University of Sheffield will be hosting an interactive science talk investigating why we have a sweet tooth and just why chocolate tastes so good. Continuing this theme, on 21st March, Norman Dinsdale from Sheffield Hallam University will explore the science and technology of cooking as seen on TV.

The University of Sheffield’s Department of Chemistry will invite visitors to become forensic chemists solving their own murder mystery on Friday 21st March at 10am.

On Thursday March 20th at 7pm Dr David Love from Sheffield Hallam University will question whether we will be able to depend on the same laws and social bonds when robots become part of our everyday lives.

Visitors to Sheffield’s Winter Gardens over the weekends of 15th and 16th March and 22nd and 23rd March will get the chance to meet RoboPlant, who organisers say could hold the key to a sustainable future. The giant artificial plant demonstrates the extent to which current technology can copy how plants capture sunlight. The event will investigate the possibilities of a sunshine-fuelled future world.

All events are free but places must be reserved. Further information on all events is available online at www.scienceweeksy.org.uk

The Festival of Science and Engineering is part of the National Science and Engineering Week Programme for 2014, organised by the British Science Association.