Nottingham Festival of Science and Curiosity launched

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Black cats. Walking under ladders. Red skies at night. All these superstitions will be put under the microscope by Nottingham schoolchildren at the launch of the first ever STEMWORKS Festival of Science and Curiosity.

The festival programme has been organised by Nottingham City Council, Futures, The University of Nottingham and Ignite to highlight science based career paths in the city.

As a city with a growing knowledge-based economy, and notable strengths in life sciences, advanced manufacturing, digital and clean technologies, there is a focus on matching local skills with these areas and ensuring local people and schoolchildren are best placed to benefit from Nottingham’s future success in these areas.

The launch of the STEMWORKS Festival of Science and Curiosity has been deliberately timed to launch on Friday 13th March – a date when people are traditionally superstitious – and marks the beginning of a calendar of fun, interactive and off-the-wall occasions over the coming two weeks to engage children, young people and their families in science, technology, maths, and engineering. The Festival will run from 13th -29th March at locations across the city.

Over 40 children from local schools will be present at the launch, with lots of experiments for them to see and do including displays of sound engineering from Confetti Media, 321 Ignition hosting pop-up science experiments and Spaghetti Maths doing some ‘maths busking’ with the crowd.

There will also be the chance for children to dress up and take ‘science selfies’ showing themselves working in different professions. The event will be formally opened by the Sheriff of Nottingham, Councillor Jackie Morris, and will welcome special guests Rick Hall of Ignite, and Dr Karen Moss from the Centre for Effective Learning in Science at Nottingham Trent University.

It will also mark the beginning of a Nottingham citizen science project which aims to collect information about what people are suspicious about, and to piece together the scientific basis behind the myths and superstitions that govern our daily lives.

Over the next two weeks, other events forming part of the Festival of Science and Curiosity will include the creation of a moving sculpture made of recycled parts, a Coding for Kids workshop, a demonstration of the latest in clean transport with a life size electric race car and the Jump! exhibition that will launch the National Video Games Arcade in Nottingham’s Creative Quarter.

Throughout the festival the Broadway Cinema will feature films on a science and technology theme while back at the Broadmarsh shopping centre hands-on science activities will include; making DNA bracelets, exploring roots and shoots, have-a-go virtual welding and making sticky goo.

STEMWORKS is a partner initiative that aims to engage Nottingham’s citizens and children with the power of science and technology.

Speaking about the event, Councillor Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Jobs and Skills at Nottingham City Council commented: “The first ever Festival of Science and Curiosity will engage and inspire people by letting them see science, maths, engineering and technology in a different light. We want to engage people in these experiments and let them discover the far-reaching benefits STEM subjects have on their lives and on the future of the city we live in.”

Emma Szembek from the Widening Participation Team at The University of Nottingham said: “Our Festival will be two weeks of fun, facts and fascination for everyone to engage with. We’re going to be taking science out of the classroom and really surprising people with some interactive experiments that will open minds to the possibilities a STEM career can bring.”

The full programme of events for the two week festival can be seen at www.nottinghamstemworks.com/festival.html.

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