Science gets hands-on at curious city festival

15 Feb 2018 16:33:20.757

Scientists from the University of Nottingham will be wowing the crowds this weekend in the city centre with exciting practical experiments and activities that include foaming elephant’s toothpaste, invisible ink microbes and worms in space!

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The activities are all part of this year’s Festival of Science and Curiosity returning for a fourth year, running from 14-21 February. It aims to provide opportunities for the people of Nottingham to express their curiosity and engage in science, technology, maths and engineering, learning and culture.

Science in the city

In the Broadmarsh shopping centre visitors will have the opportunity to confuse their senses with science busking. People can also battle against each other in an activity to test reaction times. There will also be a disease detective trail where people can follow a series of clues based on animal museum exhibits to “track” bTB transmission amongst selected British wildlife species.

At the National Videogame Arcade there will be researchers sharing their project on sending worms into space plus fun mathematics activities using Gyroscopes and Rubik’s Cubes.

In Central Library there will be the amazing foaming Elephant’s toothpaste experiment as well as an activity using invisible ink to look at microbes in our bodies, and a workshop for teenagers on how digital data is used online.

Breaking down barriers

Matthew Young, Festival Producer and PhD Neuroscientist at the University of Nottingham said: “There are so many fantastic researchers in Nottingham who are passionate about their work and they’re all very eager to share it with the rest of the city; the Festival of Science and Curiosity is a great way for them to do just that! Science, technology, maths and engineering is embedded everywhere in our daily lives, but it’s all too easy for these fascinating ideas and concepts to seem very inaccessible and irrelevant to everyone who doesn’t do it for their day job. That’s why events like the festival are so important – it’s all about breaking down barriers, showcasing those who do the science and how it relates to all our lives.”

There’s something for people of all ages, and the events fall under four categories:

Curious city: city-centre events on Saturday 17th such as:

  • Explorers Fair at Broadway Cinema (
  • Jurassic Diets and Sleeping Giants at Wollaton Hall (free)
  • Hands-on Science at the National Videogame Arcade (free)
  • Science in the Shopping Centre at intu Broadmarsh (free)

Curious lates: programme for adults which includes science comedy from the renowned Gemma Arrowsmith, Steve Cross and Anna Ploszajski

Curious communities: a series of community-based events in Bilborough, Bulwell and Sneinton libraries

Curious conversations: events for science/education professionals.

The festival is organised through the Stemcity partnership which promotes opportunities for citizen engagement in science and technology, learning and culture. It aims to make Nottingham a city where everyone can feel confident about science and technology, and where young people are inspired to consider a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Partners include the University of Nottingham, Nottingham City Council, Nottingham Trent University, the National Videogame Arcade, Broadway Media Centre, Ignite!,and STEM Learning.

More information, including events listings, can be found online at Or follow us on twitter @NottsFOSAC


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Notes to editors: 

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


Story credits

More information is available from Matthew Young at the University of Nottingham on 07825 604556,

Jane Icke - Media Relations Manager (Faculty of Science)

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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