Science festival

Science festival

A science festival is a public event featuring a variety of science- and technology-related activities—from lectures, exhibitions, workshops, live demonstrations of experiments, guided tours and panel discussions to cultural events such as theater plays, readings and musical productions, all with the aim of involving the general public in explorations of the different facets of science. Many science festivals are annual events, and for most of them, the actual festival takes place over a period between a few days and more than a week.


Modern science festivals have a number of different roots. The British Association for the Advancement of Science's Festival of Science evolved out of the society's annual meetings, first held in 1831, which were originally meant to provide a discussion forum for scientists, but later became a public showcase of science. [cite web | title=The history of the BA Festival of Science | url= | work=BA website | access-date=2007-02-25] The oldest science festival in the modern sense appears to be the Edinburgh International Science Festival, which was first held in 1988. [cite web | title=Science festival gets ready to reveal Big Ideas | work=The Scotsman (online edition) | url= | access-date=2007-02-25]

As science organizations and funding bodies put ever more emphasis on outreach to foster public understanding both of the results and the wider relevance of science, recent years have seen the creation of a number of new science festivals. Since 2002, there is an umbrella organization for European science festivals and similar events, the European Science Event Association.

The US has been something of a late comer as far as regular science festivals are concerned, although the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science includes a number of public events. Focusing on one particular science, the physics festival "Mastering the Mysteries of the Universe", was held in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1999 in association with the centennial of the American Physical Society. [ Citation
first=Kim A.
newspaper= The Chronicle of Higher Education
date=2 April, 1999
title=Science Entertainment: APS Centennial Celebration
; details of the festival programs and speakers can be found [ here] .
] Since 2004, there has been a science festival in Pittsburgh (the SciTech festival; from 2005 on known as the SciTech Spectacular), and ambitious new science festivals are being organized both in Cambridge, Massachusetts (the Cambridge Science Festival, first held in April 2007) [cite web | last=Shapiro | first=Gary | title=New York, Cambridge To Host Citywide Science Festivals | work=New York Sun | url= | access-date=2007-02-25] and in New York City (the World Science Festival set to start the end of May 2008) [Citation
newspaper=New York Times
date=3 April, 2008
title=Coming to New York, a Science Event for the Masses
] and in March of 2009, San Diego will host the first west coast science festival, the San Diego Science Festival.

Festivals can vary greatly in size and scope. A university might stage a small festival in its hometown; on the other end of the scale, the 2006 British Association Festival of Science held on September 2-9 in Norwich, England, was attended by more than 174,000 visitors. [cite web | title= The BA Festival of Science 2006 | work=BA website | url= |accessdate=2007-05-08; for the attendance, see cite web | title= The BA Festival of Science 2006 (Report)| url= | access-date=2007-05-08]

Typical Festival Events

Science festivals feature a great variety of events. A classic format is to have a series of lectures, with topics ranging from cutting-edge research to unusual perspectives on science. For instance, the 2007 Edinburgh festival Big Ideas series includes talks on what makes racing cars fast, the molecular basis of food preparation, the neurobiology of love and beauty and the properties of quarks. Most science festivals include hands-on activities similar to those found in science centers. Another popular theme is the interaction of science and culture.

Science festivals are also aimed at playing an important, if informal part in secondary science education. Many have events specifically aimed at students and/or teachers, such as workshops or offering curriculum-linked workshops and science shows to regional schools throughout the year.

ee also

*Science museum
*Science outreach

External links to specific science festivals


* [ SciFest Africa] (South Africa, since 1997)


* [ Cambridge Science Festival] (since 2007)
* [ Chicago Science in the City]
* [ Eureka! Festival] (Montréal, Québec, in June since 2007)
* [ World Science Festival] (New York City, since 2008)
* [ SciTech Spectacular (Pittsburgh)]
* [ Sally Ride Science Festivals] (one-day events involving astronaut-educator Sally Ride)
* [ San Diego Science Festival] (starting in March 2009)
* [ Wonderfest (San Francisco Bay Area)]
* [ Science Rendezvous] (Canada, starting May 2008 in the Greater Toronto Area)
* [ Mastering the Mysteries of the Universe] (physics festival held in Atlanta in 1999)


* [ Techfest , IIT Bombay]
* [ Kshitij Techno-Management Fest of IIT Kharagpur]
* [ Cognizance, Technology Fest of IIT Roorkee]


General link:
* [ European Science Events Association]

Specific festivals:
* [ Science Week] (Austria)
* [ Printemps des Sciences] (Belgium)
* [ British Association for the Advancement of Science Festival] (in the UK, in changing locations)
* [ Cambridge Science Festival]
* [ Cheltenham Science Festival]
* [ Edinburgh International Science Festival] (since 1988)
* [ Festival della Scienza] (Genoa, since 2003)
* [ Glasgow Science Festival]
* [ Luxemburg Science Festival]
* [ Newcastle]
* [ Wissenschaftssommer] (in Germany, in changing locations)
* [ Wrexham Science Festival]


* [ Australian Science Festival]
* [ New Zealand International Science Festival]


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