All set for TechFest festival

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Snot, microbes and robots have long been childhood favourites and this September will see children get the opportunity to learn more about them as part of a programme of family fun science events.

Aberdeen’s popular annual science festival TechFest in September has this year teamed up with the British Science Association and the University of Aberdeen to host the largest public science festival in Europe.

The British Science Festival (BSF) - which has been held in a different city almost every year since 1831 - will bring more than 350 of the UK’s top scientists, engineers and commentators together to discuss the latest developments in science and technology with the public.

The wider programme at the Festival, which is being jointly supported by BP and Shell U.K. Limited, will showcase some of the most cutting-edge and controversial research in science. However, many of the family events have a more whimsical edge to their attempts to inform and there is something for every age group.

All of the TechFest events are taking place at venues on Aberdeen’s beachfront including the Beach Ballroom, Beach Leisure Centre and Satrosphere Science Centre. Here are a few examples: Taking inspiration from children’s natural fascination with the gloopy green substance that lives up their nose, Isabel Crane of the University of Aberdeen will look at the Secret Life of Snot (Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September, 9.30-16.30). Come crawl through our giant nose and get up close to the green stuff itself by making your own snot to take home.

Life with microbes: The good, the bad and the ugly of the bug world (Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September, 9.30-16.30) is a drop-in workshop, hosted by biotechnology company NovaBiotics, where participants learn how and why we share our lives with a bewildering array of microbes. Become a bug detective to discover how to tell the ‘good bugs’ from the ‘bad bugs’.

Bee bots are programmable floor robots designed to introduce children to control technology, directional language and programming. The interactive workshop Bee Bots and Robolab (Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September, 9.30-16.30) will offer the chance to complete a series of challenges and activities, programming the robots to move and respond to light and touch sensors.

Moving Materials (Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September, 9.30-16.30, Beach Ballroom) will simulate the movement of oil from the North Sea by challenging you to build pumps and pipelines from simple materials. Specialist workshop leaders will be on hand to explain the process at this drop-in workshop hosted by BP.

To take part in events at the Beach Ballroom, Beach Leisure Centre and Satrosphere just turn up on the day where you can buy a wrist band which gives you access to all events happening at the beach on the day you book. Passes can be bought for individuals or groups of four. No advance booking is available for these events.

Bookings for the full Festival programme can be made online at www.britishsciencefestival.org , by telephone on 08456 807207 or alternatively you can drop into the Music Hall on Union Street to book through their Box Office.

As part of the Festival there are also programmes for secondary and primary schools. For details please contact TechFest-SetPoint or the British Science Association.