Science For All During Brighton Festival



In Brighton they do science with style and to prove it they are holding one of the biggest science festivals in the country, and the only one in the South-East. The annual festival returns from Tuesday 2nd February until Sunday 28th February and offers a month of interactive workshops, events and talks, taking place in venues across the city.

Come up to town and programme robots, blow square bubbles, decide your own personal evolution plan with Robin Ince, cycle across the solar system, visit Pluto and witness the battle of the cephalopods, meet-up, eat up, play with your food, go home, sleep, wake up and repeat – It’s like that all month!

The theme for the 2016 Brighton Science Festival is Journeys and some of the festival highlights are:

Wednesday 17 February at 7:30pm:
LEVEL UP hosted by Simon Watt and joined by Robin Ince, Kat Arney & Jules Howard. When we were young we were asked at school how we thought humans might evolve. We thought perhaps we would get furry, or develop extra fingers, or wings, or night-vision. It was all make-believe but now science fiction is becoming science fact. The new CRISPR gene editing technique has changed the game entirely. Venue: Sallis Benney Theatre, 58-67 Grande Parade, Brighton, BN2 0JY. Tickets £8 / £6. Recommended ages 16+

Sunday 21 February at 11:00am – 4:00pm (drop-in)
PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD How do you make food? How do you taste food? Where do you taste food? How many tastes are there? How do your surroundings alter the taste? How can something be hot and cold at the same time? How can lemons taste sweet? The closer you get the darker it becomes. On the light side you can make towers from spaghetti, ice cream using liquid nitrogen, funny shapes from vegetables, and watch some amazing demos using kitchen ingredients. (Liquid Nitrogen talk and demo – and ice cream – at 12:00 and 2:30. Venue: Sallis Benney Theatre, 58-67 Grand Parade, BN2 0JY. £2 per person over 2yrs. All ages

Wednesday 24 February at 7:30pm
THE DUNBAR NUMBER The rise of social media, like Facebook, brought with it the promise of having thousands of “friends” scattered across the globe. But is there an end to how many friends you can possibly have? Robin Dunbar, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Oxford, thinks 150 is the limit. This is based not only on the maths of how difficult it is to stay connected in 150 or so directions, but also the psychological, archaeological and anthropological evidence. Trust him, he’s an -ologist. The “Dunbar Number” is now an established concept. Companies even frame business plans around it. Robin Dunbar is Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Oxford, and his talk “Why Facebook wont get you any more friends” will be taking place at the Sallis Benney Theatre, 58-67 Grand Parade, BN2 0JY. £6/ £3. Ages 14+

Saturday 27 February, all day:
SNAIL RACING with Neuroscientists at the University of Sussex. Take a snail under your wing and train it up in simple tasks. You’ve made a friend for life. As part of the Big Science Weekend event, Saturday 27th February. Venue: Sallis Benney Theatre, 58-67 Grand Parade, BN2 0JY.

Saturday 27th February at 7.30pm:
BECAUSE IT’S THERE! When we set rockets off on their journeys to the Moon, or to Mars, we are using the same science as Isaac Newton talked about 330 years ago and just about all the science since Newton is also on board today: gyroscopes, computers, cameras, radio transmitters, all beautifully compacted and space proofed. But what have we found out? Why are the places we visit so different from what we predicted? What does it tell us? Venue: Sallis Benney Theatre, 58-67 Grand Parade, BN2 0JY. £6 / £3. Ages 12+

Saturday 27th February
With the advent of sat-nav, it’s much harder for us to get lost these days but somehow animals manage to travel thousands of miles without any little voices telling them to turn left at the next roundabout. Navigation is an important behavior for all animals that have to find food here, shelter there, or a mate who-knows-where. Species vary widely in their abilities, but the task is the same: getting from A to B through a complex environment. Dr Paul Graham is a Reader in Animal Behaviour at the University of Sussex and he studies the similarities and differences in the strategies that animals use to solve common problems, like navigation. Experience Paul’s talk “Amazing Animal Journeys” as part of the Big Science Weekend event, Saturday 27th February at 2pm. Venue: Sallis Benney Theatre, 58-67 Grand Parade, BN2 0JY.

Sunday 28 February
Years ago the development of an embryo from egg to baby was seen as a recap of our billion year evolution from primal blob to modern human. Steve retraces those evolutionary steps and explains that this simple view is wrong, but the truth is much more revealing. Experience Steve’s talk “Evolution: The Whole Story” as part of the Big Science Weekend event, Sunday 28th February at 2pm. Venue: Sallis Benney Theatre, 58-67 Grand Parade, BN2 0JY.

Brighton Science Festival runs from Tuesday 2nd – Sunday 28th February 2016 and includes the Big Science Weekend (27th – 28th Feb) for adults, Bright Sparks (13th – 14th Feb) for kids and Hands-On Half-term (15th – 21st Feb) for young adults. Serious fun! Find out more and buy tickets at


About Author

I have lived in Sussex for the past 15 years and have links with many of the arts venues throughout the county. I am passionate about the local arts scene and, as well as providing reviews of local performances, I also preview some of the exciting shows and events taking place around the county. I have devoted all of my working life to the worlds of theatre and travel so, when I am not on holiday somewhere, you can usually find me at one of our superb local theatres, or simply enjoying life with my young son.

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