Bridgwater's first-ever Science Festival underway

Bridgwater Mercury: TOM Payne. TOM Payne.

A SPLURGE of science-fuelled activity takes over Bridgwater this week with a not-for-profit festival hoped to get children and families excited about the cutting-edge subject.

Bridgwater Science Festival is well underway across various town centre venues with a rich mix from the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics until Saturday.

DAISY BLACKLOCK spoke to Festival brain TOM PAYNE (pictured outside festival ‘hub’ Bridgwater Arts Centre) about this week’s events …

Hi Tom, so where did the idea for the science festival come from?

“I have always had a broad interest in science and technology, and I did a Geosciences degree which covered everything from astronomy to evolution.

“At last year’s Science Communication Conference, Professor Brian Cox said science needs a grassroots movement – just like local music.

He inspired me to start Bridgwater Science Festival, to highlight and showcase the science happening on our doorstep.”

What do you hope the Science Festival will achieve?

“Just to help make people more aware of the everyday science all around us. If the festival can inspire one child to think science is cool, fun or that they want to pursue it, it’ll have been a success.”

There are lots of events – what are the highlights?

“The Simon Singh talk on the 'secret maths' hidden in episodes of The Simpsons was very good.

"He is doing the same talk at Cheltenham Science Festival the week after, and has recently done the Edinburgh Science Festival and the Cambridge Literature Festival among many others.

“The best part, is he did it for free, donating the profits to the Somerset Flood Relief Fund, with tickets only £5.”

Then there’s the Family Science Fair and Science Show-Off on Saturday ...

“A range of local and regional science groups are at the fair. There’ll be hands-on, interactive stands, craft activities, science workshops, information on local projects, and more. Most will be suitable for everyone.

"Futures for Somerset and Robert Blake & Elmwood Schools have sponsored the use of their building, which is fantastic.

“The Science Showoff is a touring adult-only event which is coming to the Arts Centre, with several performers, each allowed 9 minutes for their set.

"It could be a talk, a song, a film – anything, as long as it is to do with science.

“Tickets are again £5, with profits to the Arts Centre. Science Showoff has so far donated over £20,000 to 'local' charities.

And there are events taking place every day?
“From now until Saturday – some have age restrictions or are targeted at particular audiences, so it is best to check bridgwaterscience.wordpress.com for full details.”

Lastly, what is the message you’d like to get out to Bridgwater science fans?

“Come and support us! But also what’s really important is that it’s not just for people who already like science, it’s for everyone.

“The Science Festival is totally independent, non-profit and volunteer ran. If anyone is interested in promoting science, and science communication, then get in contact – we need more people involved for future events.”

CHECK OUT bridgwaterscience.wordpress.com/events for the timings of Bridgwater Science Festival events.

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