The Wrexham Science Festival 17th – 25th July 2014

 

Wrexham Science Festival

 

 

The festival features a six week programme of events for secondary schools and a weeklong series of public events aimed at both adults and children.

The main public event is scheduled to run 17th – 25th July 2014.

 

The Science Futures Programme features a large programme of activities especially for secondary schools.

Designed to complement the secondary school curriculum, these presentations, demonstrations and workshops are aimed at engaging pupils in north Wales of all abilities with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The programme is running from Monday 9th June through to Friday 18th July, with more details of activities being released soon.

Highlight events include:

•Engage your students with chemistry with the ‘Chemistry at Work’ STEM days on 1st July at Optic Innovations, St Asaph and 3rd July at Glyndŵr University, Wrexham Campus.

•For budding engineering students in year 9 upwards a visit can be arranged to see industry in action with a tour of a local industry. Our partners already include Deeside Power Station, Daresbury Laboratories, DRB Group and many more.

•Techniquest Glyndŵr are supporting the event by providing their workshops and shows, which cover many STEM areas, such as biology with ‘Journey into the Cell’, chemistry with ‘Exploring the Atom’, computer programming with ‘Robot Inventor’,  physics with ‘Solar Power’ and Numeracy with the workshop ‘Animal Planet’.

Public Events

Thursday 17th July

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Climate Change: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but… what the world’s top climate scientists agree upon

6pm, Nick Whitehead Theatre

Audience: 11+ • Theme: Earth and The Universe

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is conclusive about man made climate change however there is still some scepticism. This lecture looks at the facts, the science behind the facts and the evidence on the ground. The lecture will address some of the climate sceptic’s arguements about climate change and look at how we and future generations might be affected.

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The Science of Star Wars

7:30pm, Catrin Finch Centre

Audience: Family • Theme: Bright Sparks

Star Wars conjures up images of spaceships, super-weapons, and all sorts of visions of the future. But the movies’ immensely popular blockbusters of life in ‘a galaxy far, far away’ anticipate real-life future science, right here on Earth. Author Mark Brake and TV science presenter Jon Chase probe the fantastic frontier between movie magic and cutting-edge science, using madcap antics, verve, and flights of fancy from one of the most successful epics in entertainment history.

 

Friday 18th July

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"Can you make this programme more entertaining?"— Interactive TV in the 21st Century

6pm, Room B118

Audience: 11+ • Theme: Bright Sparks

This talk discusses the future of television, with a particular focus on interactivity and how TV might become more responsive to the demands of the vewing audience. We explore how the television has changed, and may continue to change, as the lines between new technologies continue to blur. On this journey we will touch upon elements of human-machine interaction, social media, television viewing habits, computer games; The Internet of Things; and affective computing.

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Exploding Custard

6pm, William Aston Hall

Audience: Family • Theme: Bright Sparks

The famous Exploding Custard show is a fast-moving, entertaining demonstration of do-it-yourself kitchen-table science. The show includes dozens of simple but spectacular experiments, all using materials readily available at home. Children can volunteer to participate and there is plenty of laughter.

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The Clockwork Universe

7:30pm, Nick Whitehead Theatre

Audience: Family • Theme: Earth and The Universe

Rock show on the history of science, concentrating on our understanding of the universe with physics, the scientific method, the elements, geology and cosmology all included. We focus on the practitioners involved such as Copernicus, Gallileo, Newton, Hooke and Einstein.

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Black Holes — What are they and why are they so weird?

7:30pm, Room B53

Audience: 11+ • Theme: Earth and The Universe

Black holes have become a staple part of science fiction stories and films but these objects really exist as collapsed areas of spacetime. But what is a Black hole? How do they form? What properties do they possess and why are we so fascinated with them? Do they cruise the universe destroying everything in their path and what are the chances of our Sun becoming a black hole? These and other exciting questions will be answered!

 

Sunday 20th July

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LEGO® Education WeDo™ Workshop: Planes vs. Boats

11am, Techniquest Glyndŵr

Audience: Family • Theme: Bright Sparks

A hands-on workshop aimed at the under 12s. Which are more popular, planes or boats? Come and build your own LEGO plane or LEGO boat, program your model to move around and choose which is best!

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LEGO® Education WeDo™ Workshop: Penalty Shoot-Out

1pm, Techniquest Glyndŵr

Audience: Family • Theme: Bright Sparks

A hands-on workshop aimed at the under 12s. Come and test your LEGO skills as you build a goalkeeper or spinning feet and program them using a computer to create your own LEGO shoot-out!

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LEGO® Education WeDo™ Workshop: Planes vs. Boats

3pm, Techniquest Glyndŵr

Audience: Family • Theme: Bright Sparks

A hands-on workshop aimed at the under 12s. Which are more popular, planes or boats? Come and build your own LEGO plane or LEGO boat, program your model to move around and choose which is best!

 

Monday 21st July

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The Mathinogi — A Journey through Wales in Numbers

11am & 2pm, Nick Whitehead Theatre

Audience: Family • Theme: Bright Sparks

The Mathinogi show takes you on a journey through Wales’ history and culture, looking at sport and music, ancient history and modern physics, whilst highlighting the achievements of some of Wales’ most notable mathematicians. Throughout the light-hearted and fast-paced show, audience participation, demonstrations and experiments will bring the story to life.

 

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Ugly Animals Roadshow

6pm, Nick Whitehead Theatre

Audience: Family • Theme: Animal World

Why should the panda get all the praise? The Ugly Animal Preservation Society is dedicated to raising the profile of the world’s most aesthetically challenged endangered species. This is a family friendly performance that celebrates and explores the incredible biology of the animal kingdom’s most monstrous. The show features videos, demonstrations and lots and lots of audience participation.

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Hunting Down the Medieval Landscapes of North East Wales: How Archaeology uses Scientific Techniques

6pm, Room B53

Audience: 11+ • Theme: Earth and The Universe

You may not know it, but North East Wales has medieval parks, gardens and designed landscapes which are only now being identified again after being lost for hundreds of years. Find out how archaeologists use a variety of scientific techniques to recognise them, and how their rediscovery is changing the perception of this part of Wales.

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No More Secrets Anymore?: Where is Big Connectivity taking us?

7:30pm, Room B118

Audience: 14+ • Theme: Bright Sparks

We are heading towards a world in which our personal information will be difficult to protect. A number of technologies are converging to a future of great uncertainty. The internet is evolving into the ‘Internet of Things’ or the ‘Internet of Everything’; more and more data about us is being captured, shared online and stored; face recognition and other forms of tracking are becoming increasingly sophisticated; and all this processed information can be supplied, on demand, to anyone, anywhere in the world. Governments and large corporations watch our every move. What does all this point to? Can we have private data in the new digital world? How will we live in a society where no-one has any secrets?

 

Tuesday 22nd July

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Light and Wonder Planetarium

2pm, William Aston Hall

Audience: Family • Theme: Earth and The Universe

The night sky is an inexhaustible source of inspiration and the stars feature in creation stories across many faiths and cultures. Step inside the planetarium to discover more about the sights that have inspired so many, and their astronomical origins.

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Light and Wonder Planetarium

2:30pm, William Aston Hall

Audience: Family • Theme: Earth and The Universe

The night sky is an inexhaustible source of inspiration and the stars feature in creation stories across many faiths and cultures. Step inside the planetarium to discover more about the sights that have inspired so many, and their astronomical origins.

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Light and Wonder Planetarium

3pm, William Aston Hall

Audience: Family • Theme: Earth and The Universe

The night sky is an inexhaustible source of inspiration and the stars feature in creation stories across many faiths and cultures. Step inside the planetarium to discover more about the sights that have inspired so many, and their astronomical origins.

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Mars Odyssey

6pm, Room B26

Audience: 16+ • Theme: Earth and The Universe

Even a journey of 35 million miles must begin with one step, a step that will begin the Mars Odyssey. Mars has influenced numerous cultures effecting legends, religious beliefs and scientiffic development. Andrew Lound traces the history of Mars exploration, taking us on a journey of great human tragedy, of scientiffic discovery and of intense debate that has changed forever our perception of the universe. More of a performance than a lecture, it is illustrated with quality images, music and numerous props! So prepare to be taken on an odyssey that will end one day with a human foot making an imprint in the Martian Soil.

 

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Pick of the Pack

6pm, Nick Whitehead Theatre

Audience: Family • Theme: Bright Sparks

Find out the Techniquest Glyndŵr presenters’ favourite science demonstrations, choose what you’d like to see and vote for your favourite! Come along for your chance to see demos including flaming bottle rockets, Elephants’ toothpaste, the Mooing Bin and much more!

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Major Low Carbon Energy Developments in North Wales

7:30pm, Room B118

Audience: 14+ • Theme: Earth and The Universe

The decarbonisation revolution is now upon us, although, historically, Wales powered much of the industrial revolution… Then we used wood, charcoal, water mills, before shifting to coal, which is, unarguably, the world’s most “carbon intense” form of energy. Today’s global drive to “decarbonise”, to different degrees, is now taking shape in a major way in Wales. Here, this new revolution encompasses not only shale gas, but also nuclear and a growing bundle of renewable energy technologies: biomass, wind, tidal, solar and so on. Tonight, besides glimpsing some glaring gaps in the nation’s decarbonisation opportunities, we will look at case studies of some of the major energy developments in North Wales: onshore and offshore, actual and potential, controversial and consensual. As happened with the onset of the industrial revolution, today’s rapid process of decarbonisation is presenting Wales with huge challenges, such as increased need for energy storage, perhaps in pumped hydro-reservoirs, more power lines and even alterations to beloved coastlines — if tidal barrages are installed. Disruptive challenge — or opportunity of a lifetime?

 

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Why We Die

7:30pm, Edward Llwyd Centre, Theatre B

Audience: 16+ • Theme: Human Mind and Body

Death might not be certain, though taxes, probably are. In this lecture, featuring immortal jelly fish, the world’s slowest bacteria and the trip Darwin took to a séance, biologist Simon Watt delves into the surprising science behind why we die, and what the alternatives might be. Come satisfy your morbid curiosity.

 

Wednesday 23rd July

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The Survival Show

11am, Nick Whitehead Theatre

Audience: Family • Theme: Earth and The Universe

In this hourlong show, we will get lost high in the mountains and deep in the forests. We’ll look at the natural environment around us as we look at how materials engineers are creating new types of clothing and the nutritional values of eating insects. We investigate the principles of being rescued and why you should never drink wild water unless you know a bit about microbiology. Being caught out in the wind, eating bugs and taking a look at how you can be prepared for the outdoors are just a few of the ideas we’ll look at in this exciting science show and, who knows, perhaps you will become a Survival Scientist! An interactive adventure show designed by Anturus and Scintillate.

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The Low Carbon Anglesey Energy Island Vision

6pm, Room C124

Audience: 14+ • Theme: Earth and The Universe

Imagine an island with just 70,000 inhabitants having one of the highest levels of low carbon energy generation per person in the world… While Aberdeen is recognised as Scotland’s fossil fuel capital, a radically different vision is now emerging from Angelsey. Within a decade, a huge and diverse new portfolio of low carbon energy generation will be under way — on land and in the surrounding sea. Low carbon energy sources comprising nuclear and vast amounts of offshore wind are likely to be the main players, while solar, biomass and tidal stream will also play a part. Which innovative energy technologies will be deployed? What will be the consequences of Wales consolidating its position as a major national exporter of electricity — to both England and Ireland? How is this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for exciting new jobs at the cutting edge of low carbon energy?

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Do Atoms Think? A Panpsychists Perspective on Consciousness

6pm, Room B118

Audience: 16+ • Theme: Human Mind and Body

Have you ever thought about where our consciousness comes from? Panpsychism is a new theory in Philosophy of Mind which has given us one of the most fascinating answers to this question. Panpsychism is the view that the mind is a universal feature of all things, that the mental is a fundamental constituent of the universe. It is a controversial doctrine, which has received all possible reactions except that of complacency. It is, however, one of the most ancient ideas about the mind, so when and why did we abandon it? And why is it re-emerging? What does this mean fr our own minds? These intricate examinations of mental phenomena and its origins may shake our understanding of the world around us and the implications may stretch beyond that of philosophy. This talk will let you dive into the mystery of human consciousness and introduce you to one of the most recent and controversial attempts to its solution; to the theory of panpsychism that has placed our mind within a world of minds.

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Gatecrashing Earth’s Greatest Party

7:30pm, Nick Whitehead Theatre

Audience: 14+ • Theme: Earth and The Universe

In 2013 a group of writers, photographers and astronomers went on an expedition to the arctic circle in search of the aurora borealis. The intention was to produce a book and film about the northern lights, the culture of the people that live under them and the historic science and mythology that grew up around one of the wonders of the world. Travelling at the time of the solar cycle known as solar maximum they were fortunate to witness some of the greatest aurora displays of the century. Combining beautiful photography, stunning on-location film-making and cutting-edge solar physics, this talk is for anyone who has ever wondered about life under the northern lights.

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How to Play Great Golf — The Science of the Golf Swing

7:30pm, Edward Llwyd Centre, Theatre B

Audience: 11+ • Theme: Bright Sparks

In this lecture we look at all aspects of the golf swing, to include ball flight, impact factors, the role of the shaft; but above all the nature of the body action in the golf swing. Be prepared for some surprises. The golf swing is not what you thought it was!

 

Thursday 24th July

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Religion, Spirituality & Psychological Wellbeing

6pm, Nick Whitehead Theatre

Audience: 14+ • Theme: Human Mind and Body

Does religion really make you happier? Are superstitious or paranormal beliefs bad for your wellbeing? This talk will look at the complex relationship between religion, spirituality and psychological wellbeing by drawing on current research and thinking within the psychology of religion. Looking at issues around happiness, satisfaction with life and depression this talk will explore the way in which religion and spirituality interact with the human psyche, and explore the place of no religious belief for individuals’ wellbeing.

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Syndactyly: Fusion of Fingers

6pm, Room C124

Audience: 14+ • Theme: Human Mind and Body

Looking is natural when meeting someone new. We look more and for longer when someone looks unusual. Stephen was born with Syndactyly (Fusion of Fingers). Syndactyly normally occurs in animals and is extremely unusual in humans. Four fingers on his right hand were fused together and, with numerous skin graft and plastic surgery operations, the index finger has been seperated. Stephen highlights and discusses the methods and strategies he adopts in terms of ‘psychological’ & ‘psychosocial’ impact. He is right-handed, he leads a normal (& fun) life and he just cannot catch a ball or clench a fist.

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How well do renewable energy technologies pay back the carbon and energy that is initially invested in them?

7:30pm, Room B118

Audience: 14+ • Theme: Earth and The Universe

Why does no one actually tell me how “green” is my solar panel? Sounds like a fuzzy question — but, in fact, it is vital to ask it and to answer it — scientifically and accurately… If you buy a solar panel to put on your roof in order to generate electricity, you can calculate online a fairly accurate answer about how many years it takes to pay back you initial financial investment (The answer is typically about a decade, so even if it only lasts at least 20 years, you still get twice your money back). But can you repeat this calculation — environmentally — instead? After all, your solar panel took energy to make. And carbon was emitted during its manufacture. Tonight we will discover… How much global warming does the process of making a solar panel cause? How well does this negative initial impact stack up against its carbon savings when it is actually being used? Also, how do different microgeneration technologies compare against each other: solar electricity v solar heating v heat pumps v wind turbines, and so on, in terms of “lifetime carbon environmental payback multiples”? Some of the answers from some of these “Life Cycle Analysis” studies can be alarming. Why are we not told?

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Wonder & Awe

7:30pm, Room B26

Audience: 16+ • Theme: Human Mind and Body

We live in an incredible world, and we love to explore it using the tools of science. One of the driving forces behind science is wonder, and when scientists discover new things they often make us ask questions about the way the world works, and what it means. Why do we wonder? Are there any questions that go beyond what science can tell us? Why do some scientists use almost mystical terms when they talk about their experience of awe? Ruth Bancewicz will explore wonder and awe in both science and Christianity, and look at how the experience of working in science can enhance faith.

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Friday 25th July

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Voice of an Angle

6pm, William Aston Hall

Audience: 16+ • Theme: Bright Sparks

Le Geek, c’est chic! An award-winning hour of stand-up science, songs and silliness from the UK’s premier geek songstress and purveyor of the finest musical comedy. Join one third of Festival of the Spoken Nerd as she sings about maths, graphs and Archimedes’ baths as you’ve never heard them before. Prepare yourself for romantic tales of cryogenically frozen lovers, the real story behind Schrödingers cat and biologically accurate R’n’B, before finding your own Voice of an Angle in singalong that takes you to infinity (and beyond!).

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The Case of the Strange Universe

7:30pm, Nick Whitehead Theatre

Audience: 12+ • Theme: Earth and The Universe

How did it start? How big is it? How fast is light? How do we observe the universe? These are some of the questions explored in ‘The Case of The Strange Universe’. Alan Brown, Senior Public Engagement Officer for The Science and Technology Facilities Council Daresbury Laboratory (and part time scientific sleuth) explores past and present theories and scientific facts governing our universe.

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