An opportunity to Celebrate Science

By Martha Bozic and Oliver Williams

The Celebrate Science festival is organised annually by the Durham University Science Outreach Team and this year it will take place from the 24th to the 26th of October.

To find out more about the festival and how Durham students can get involved, Palatinate interviewed Dr Paula Martin, one of the University Outreach Coordinators who has overseen the running of the festival since its beginnings in 2010.

Every year Celebrate Science, situated primarily in a giant marquee on Palace Green, has attracted hundreds of families from across the Durham area. Aimed at primary age children, “all science departments are represented” at the festival, giving those who attend amazing hands-on experience with the huge variety of activities on offer.

Stalls this year will include demonstrations on “magnetism and light”, “mammal skulls” and an “earthquake testing station” Martin says.

With visitor numbers topping seven thousand in recent years, the Celebrate Science festival is an established success. Although she thinks that this may be the full reach of the event, Martin tells us that there are many people who return each year, in part because “they know what to expect”. In support of this view, she says, they receive “very good feedback… from the young people themselves, and the adults who are bringing them”.

Moreover, says Martin, many staff and student volunteers are keen “to come back and do it again.” For students, the event often “reignites their own passion” for their subject and excitingly, Martin tells us that this year there is still a chance to get involved.

A “big variety” of students, from first-year undergraduates to postgraduate finalists regularly attend, and more information can be found on the Celebrate Science web page. Alternatively, interested students should speak to their departmental outreach officer, or contact Dr Martin directly.

While Celebrate Science is the flagship event of the outreach program, there is also a secondary school science festival run in the second week of the Easter holidays, which also involves Durham University student volunteers.

This year, as well as its primary location on Palace Green, the festival will include events at other locations such as the Oriental Museum, the Botanic Gardens and Palace Green Library.  With extremely positive feedback from last year, 2017 looks set to be another brilliant success.

Photograph: Verino77 via Flickr

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