BRIGHTON SCIENCE FESTIVAL 10th – 18th February 2018



The Festival

In our thirteenth festival, we are going to bring some good luck to the children who visit us over February half term.

Over the nine days from Feb 10th to Sunday Feb 18th Brighton will be awash with 10,000 young people and parents, crowding into back rooms of bars, theatres, university buildings and cafes, all keen and curious. We aim to bring answers to their questions.

We fill half term with bright sparks, hoping they will light fires in the young minds. 150 bright, sparky workshop leaders will fill the week; 10,000 young minds will come to be illuminated and inspired.

Make slime just after breakfast, do some computer programming through the morning, learn a magic trick over lunch, build a rocket in the afternoon, and finish the day inside a giant soap-bubble. Just another day in Wonderland.

In the year of Frankenstein (200 years since his monster was born) we have some monstrous fun for you. Creating the spark of life using household appliances, evolving monsters through the random selections of evolution, dictating Frankenstein’s adventures in a theatrical challenge, or dissecting a real heart, exactly like in Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, which was inspired by the early experiments into that new-fangled scientific invention: electricity.

Our brochures are sent to every one of the children in Sussex (85,000 of them) through their schools, and the online experience will give complete information, so that a day up in town can be easily sorted, and the whole family will have a great day out.

The festival is focussed on young people (7–14 year-olds) AND their parents (and grandparents), to provide NOT science with a bit of fun as garnish, but a whole carnival of fun, with the science snuck in.


Brighton Science

The organisers of the festival have a bigger picture: through the year they travel to youth clubs and community centres throughout Sussex, giving small demonstrations and talks to small groups. They visit these same areas with Pocket Science, a science funfair for up to 300 visitors, they visit schools with fun workshops and talks, and they create a programme of popular science for older students and adults.

Contact: Richard or Chris for more information

01273 777 628




 Bright Sparks – Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th February

Nobody can overestimate the wonder of Bright Sparks. A fairground of magical delights, without a single drop of magic. Fact-based magic? Yes, indeed! The average stay for children is two hours, and many stay for three or four. The facts speak for themselves: it’s magic!

Each step around Bright Sparks takes them to another marvel: reptiles give way to automatons, and wind tunnels nudge up against earthquakes. Science poems accompany chocolate tasting while you build your own brain… No more lists! Just go!


Hove Park Upper School, Nevill Road, BN3 7BN

7–11 year-olds and parents


White Heat – Saturday 17th February    

The Sackler Centre’s famous exhibition and demonstration Being SomeBody is the centrepiece of this special day for young people. Debating and discussing young people’s issues will be MC’ed by the Stand-Up Philosophers and the irresistible Talkaoke Table. Meanwhile, find out why Swearing Is Good for You, and check out your prejudices with What’s Your Bias. Enjoy the science, the crafts, the refreshments, the games, and find out what it’s like ‘to be SomeBody’.

10.30am– 5.00pm

Sallis Benney Theatre, 58 Grand Parade, BN2 0JY

£7. £5 students and concessions. Ages 11+

11 years-old and up.


Half Term – not half! – Saturday 10th–Sunday 17th

In the nine days of half term the centre of Brighton will be given over to science workshops, activities and shows for young people. This year we’re doing a ton – one hundred activities, from cycling across the Universe to programming computers; chopping up a real heart to becoming a virtual raindrop in a computer game. Last festival everything sold out. We hope so again this time. So book ahead to be sure to save yourself a place. Online will be easy to manage, but if you have difficulties we are eager a) to help and b) to change the layout to make it easier.



 Brighton Toy and Model Museum

A gem hidden in full view. Thousands walk past it every day, down Trafalgar Street, under the station, ignoring the little door with the big red sign, unaware of the marvels within. Now not only can view the fabulous collection, you can make some models of your own. Buy a ticket to the whole museum, and the workshop is part of the deal. A festival special.

Balloon Car Racers, Monday 12th 2pm–4pm (up to 2 hours) – Recycle and repurpose common household objects into zippy machines using the principles of energy and drag coefficients to create speedy balloon racers. Then you can race them against each other to find out who is the best at combining science with creativity.

Thaumatropes, Phenakistoscopes and Zoetropes, Friday 16th 2pm–4pm (up to 2 hours) For centuries, before television and cinema came along, people entertained themselves with optical illusions of movement. Discover what amazing inventions were developed in the 1800s that eventually led to the successful creation of modern moving images.

Brighton Toy and Model Museum, 52–55 Trafalgar St, Brighton, BN1 4EB


Mad Machines: The Rube Goldberg Challenge, 9.30am–3pm every day Monday–Friday

In this five-day workshop, which takes place over February half term, makers will learn new skills with expert tuition from MakerClub – and put these skills into practice to create a wacky and original Rube Goldberg machine*! Includes 3D design, electronics, mechanical engineering, programming and more!

MakerClubHQ, 4 Longley Industrial Estate, 5 New England Street, Brighton, BN1 4GY

Ages 10–14

Early Bird Tickets £300. Standard Tickets £425 (price inclusive of VAT and booking fees).

* Want to know what a Rube Goldberg Machine is? Just open YouTube and search for the name. But before you do that, prepare a pack of sandwiches and a thermos – you’ll not want to leave e computer for a couple of days


More SLIME than you can shake a sticky stick at.

ArtPod, in Rottingdean, is an amazing shop for crafts of all kinds, run by truly enterprising entrepreneurs. This half term they are focussing their attention on one thing: slime. UGHHH! Why don’t they do pink fluffy things, or glow-in-the-dark delights? Well they do! Pink fluffy slime, glow-in-the-dark slime: oh, and crunchy slime, colour-changing slime and glass slime….

Artpod, 20–22 High St, Rottingdean, BN2 7HR

£6.95 per workshop. Only 15 places per workshop, so book early

Each day Slime Times are 10am, 11.15am, 1pm, 2.15pm (45 mins)

Ages 5+ 


Minecraft – one step beyond.

In their time Blockbuilders have taken Minecraft, de-gamified it – that is, removed the fantasy-faffing-around stuff – and re-purposed it to deal with real life. They are going Minecraft Marina Modding:

What would you do if you could redesign Brighton Marina? BlockBuilders help you bring your ideas to life with a detailed virtual model of the marina built in Minecraft – and yours to play with. Explore environmental and planning issues in a collaborative workshop that lets young people grapple with the problems and devise their own solutions. What we find is that a bunch of kids can do planning every bit as well as a bunch of grown-ups

Tuesday 13th February   11am & 2pm (2 hours)

The Barge at Brighton Marina, The Waterfront, Brighton Marina, Brighton, BN2 5UU


Ages 7+   Advance booking recommended


Is the heart a mere pump, or is it the seat of the emotions?

Join us for a rather different Valentine’s Day as anatomists take you on a guided tour of the heart, while dissecting a real one live. You will see how blood enters the heart, where the real heartstrings are and understand how it beats. You can even get your gloves on and get involved. So is the heart a mere pump, or is it the seat of the emotions? You may be surprised at the answer.

Anatomy night: Matters of the Heart (BSMS), 6.30–7.30 (1 hour)

Wednesday 14th February

The Walrus, 10 Ship St, Brighton BN1 1AD

Free, but attendees must book

Ages 13+



Creepy Crawly Spooky illusions

The psychologists teeming round the Sackler Centre have created the spookiest collection of out-of-body and out-of-your-mind experiences. You can virtually dismantle another person, have your own arm ripped off, feel your fingers swell into stumps or shrivel to sticks… Yet you will still be physically intact at the end of the experience, (though mentally, a bag of jangled nerves).

The Sackler Centre for Consciousness is the weirdest sounding place. Why, think you, do you need a centre to study consciousness? Surely you’re either conscious or you’re unconscious. Well, the Sackler Centre is there to remind you that sometimes you do things unconsciously even when you’re conscious; in fact, quite a lot of the time. In fact, arguably your whole life is spent in an imaginary world that – fortunately for you – coincides with reality… until a psychologist happens along, that is.

Part of White Heat on Saturday February 17th,


£7. £5 students and concessions.   Ages 11+


Swearing is good for you

Swearing is Good for You is a spirited and hilarious defence of our most cherished dirty words, backed by historical case studies and cutting-edge research. From chimpanzees creating their own curse words, to a man who, after losing half his brain in a mining accident, experienced a newfound compulsion to swear, Dr Emma Byrne outlines the fascinating science behind swearing; how it affects us both physically and emotionally, and how it is more natural and beneficial than we are led to believe

Part of White Heat on Saturday February 17th,

10.30am–5pm – details online

£7. £5 students and concessions.   Ages 11+


What’s Your Bias?

Nothing make you swear more than elections. At last you have a chance to choose who will boss you around for the next five years. It’s a pity the ballot paper never has a candidate called ‘None of the Above’. So what will you go for, the one with the biggest smile, or the biggest bribe? Will your vote be an aspiration, or pragmatic? Will you do what’s good for society or what you personally, selfishly, crave? Do you actually suspect that there is an irresistible force bearing down on you, quashing your free will and forcing you to vote its way? You may be right. Lee De-Wit will explain it all.

Lee De-Wit delves into the science to show what kind of political animals we really are, looking at personality type and tribalism; confirmation bias and fake news; emotional responses and irrational decision-making; fairness and cheating; altruism and self-interest; party politics, tactical voting, moral values and the appeal of nationalism.

Part of White Heat on Saturday February 17th,

10.30am–5pm – details online.

£7. £5 students and concessions.   Ages 11+


Shout-about at White Heat

During White Heat there will be an increasing urge to mouth off about things, we hope. Be our guest! Training happens in the Lee de-Wit mental gym (What’s your Bias?), with Dr Emma Byrne’s vocabulary training (Swearing is Good For You), at Southern Waters’ ‘Talkaoke’ debate table, with the Stand-Up Philosophers workshop, and just everywhere you look. This is good. Young people must be encouraged to think, and then to explain what they’re thinking, and then – hardest of all – to disagree with the person who has just disagreed with them, without being disagreeable. The air will be full of questions; the visitors to White Heat have permission – nay, obligation – to let off a bit of steam.

White Heat on Saturday February 17th,


£7. £5 students and concessions.   Ages 11+


Can Jules Howard trump Evolution?

With the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein comes an interesting thought: can we make our own monsters yet?

With gene hacking we can tweak the way we and our descendants grow; with modern surgery we can cobble together some pretty dramatic physical modifications. On the other hand we are building a different kind of monster with AI. Artificial Intelligence will displace many of us. It’ll relieve us of boring jobs, but what will we do with all that (unpaid) time? Campaign against the monstrous robots, perhaps!

We can come close to Victor Frankenstein’s creation. But whatever we dream up, Nature got there first and better. Proof? Every time David Attenborough dipped his hand into the ocean on Blue Planet II, it emerged with something weirder than our weirdest fantasy. Maybe Jules Howard can surprise us all on Tuesday evening, as he and the audience play Top Trumps with evolution.

Tuesday Feb 13th

The Sallis Benney Theatre, 58-67 Grand Parade, BN2 0JY

£5     Recommended age 7+


The Latest News

TV newscasting has to be tough enough to be done in war zones, volcanoes and floods, down a mine and out in space. Presenters have to be smart enough to learn their lines in no time, present them coolly, in the middle of a battle, change them in a blink, and keep smiling all the time. Can you do it? At the Latest Music Bar there are no wars or floods, just smiling experts from Latest TV who will show you the secrets and help you do your own news broadcast ‘right on the spot’. (spoiler alert: a lot of it is done with green screen)

Thursday 15 Feb 10am, 11.30am, 2.30pm, 4pm (1 hour)

Latest Music Bar, 14–17 Manchester Street, BN2 1TF

£5 per child     Ages 10+


Cycle The Solar System in the South Downs

Travel faster than the speed of light with science-artist Nick Sayers for a fun 4.5km bike tour of the planets, along the Centurion Way in the South Downs National Park. Explore the worlds of the Solar System at a billionth true scale on this guided ride, with NASA photo flags and planet-sized fruit and veg. If Jupiter is a watermelon, the Earth is a blueberry…  Bring a road-safe bike, lights, warm clothes, thick socks and your curiosity.

Thursday 15th, Friday 16th, Saturday 17th 10.30am, 2pm (2.5 hours)

Start point: On the Centurion Way path, west of Hunters Way, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 5RB (between Brandy Hole Lane and Hunters Race) Adults £5 / Children £2.50 / Family (2 adults, 2 children) £14 – Booking essential Ages 10+. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.




About CDW Hollingdean

Community Development Worker
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