Brighton Science Festival


Bright Sparks
Hove Park School
Nevill Road
Hove, BN3 7BN
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Disabled Access

Saturday 11 February 2017, 10:00am-5:00pm

The festival’s flagship event lands in Hove for a whole weekend of hands-on science fun, with an exciting array of activities for children and their parents.

There will be over 50 stalls, stands and shows across the two days, with presenters and science communicators on hand to help you get involved and explain the hard bits.

Even if you’ve been in the past it’s definitely worth coming back this year as there’s more new stuff than ever before. We’ve got ultrasound objects made of thin air, robots that react to light and telescopes that let you look at the sun. You’ll see earthworms and snakes, handle kitchen chemicals and hear scientific poetry. You’ll build brains, train snails and make Minecraft mods. You’ll have so much fun you won’t even realise you’re learning.

  • Tickets: £6 per person
  • Special family deal: 2 adults, 2 children for £21
  • FREE for under 7s
  • FREE for Compass or Carers’ Card holders (card required)
  • Available online or on the door, but advanced booking recommended

Recommended age 7-14. Refreshments available to buy onsite.
Listings vary between Saturday & Sunday and are subject to change.

Bright Sparks Programme for Saturday

Space Pianos and Invisible Shapes
Researchers at the University of Sussex are bringing … nothing … or what looks like nothing, just empty air. But although you can’t see anything, you can feel objects, created by focusing ultrasound beams to make patches of air seem solid. This is cutting-edge research. More info.
Exploring Alzheimer’s Disease
As we live longer, many will be suffering in some degree from Alzheimer’s disease. We will be discussing this with young people using a hands-on labyrinth game to get to grips with the difficulty of thinking straight when your brain is clogged with amyloid plaque. We don’t think any child is too young to be given answers, and we hope this will lead to greater understanding, greater respect, and less fear. A Brighton first. More info.
Brighton Science Festival Bright Sparks Sunday, Hove Park School, Sun 14 February, 10:00am-5:00pm Reptiles & Amphibians
What’s the largest snake in the world? How long is a chameleon’s tongue? How many legs does a millipede have? Learn the answers to these questions and handle some of these amazing creatures in a safe, fun and educational way with enthusiastic experts. More info.
Build a Brain
How does the brain work? Find out how the invisible building blocks of the brain fit together by building your own brain you can wear on your head, string together bits of origami DNA, and use simple household items to create neurons.
Welcome to the Doll House
The eyes can play tricks on us, specially if we by peer through the world via an Ames Room. The notorious Ames Room looks normal, but it makes everyone in it to go weird… Actually the people are all right: it’s the room that’s weird. You will also learn about the inaccurate proportions of well-loved fictional characters from your favorite movies and how they would really look (and feel) in real life.
Chemistry is Everywhere
Design your own molecules – find out why water is V shaped, spot the difference between paracetamol and ibuprofen, and let your imagination run riot while building some of the most important chemical molecules there are.
Code Club
If you’ve ever want to make your own computer games, animations or websites, you’ll need to learn the basics of coding. Fortunately, Code Club is at hand, who will equip you with all you need to know to make computers do your bidding and eventually evolve into sentient robots and take over the world. Perhaps.
shoreham beach Beach Beasts of Shoreham
In the space between land and sea, all sorts of creatures live. But it’s not easy being a shingle-dweller: only the toughest survive! Meet some of the specialised animals that make Shoreham Beach their home, find out how to protect them, and how making our beaches litter-free helps marine wildlife.
The Variation in us
Have you ever been told you’ve got someone else’s nose? This isn’t about organ theft, but generic inheritance. Find out how family resemblance is passed down through the generations by creating your own baby ‘reebops’ , plus start building your own cells and learn the differences between neurons, muscles and blood cells.
Fruity Caviar
The technicians of Hove Park School science department. will show how to liven up a glass of juice using spherification; mixing a glass of juice with sodium alginate (made from seaweed and calcium chloride. The drink turns into balls that explode in your mouth. Delicious science! More info.
Dark Bites Astronomy Trail
Come over to the dark side of energy in an interactive astronomy trail. Bits and pieces of dark matter, and possibly a few black holes, are scattered around the venue. If you can find them all you win prizes. Perhaps Mars, perhaps a Galaxy, perhaps the whole Milky Way. More info.
Chemistry in the Kitchen
Chemistry can do wonderful thing, including making us some tasty treats. Our researchers will be showing you the science behind making jelly, while choosing which flavor ice cream you want. The School of Life Sciences houses students and researchers that study anything from the molecules of life in Chemistry to the impact of plants and animals on the world.
science poetry Rap’n’Rhyme Kids’ Science Poetry
Local teacher, performer and poet, Kay Walton has been running her biggest ever Rap’n’Rhyme club in 3 local primary schools. Currently funded by the Arts Council England, 43 young poets from Hertford Junior, Patcham Junior and Carden Primary Schools will spend 5 weeks writing and rehearsing their science-based poetry before performing it in front of a live audience at the Bright Sparks weekender. There will also be a science rap performed live by young rappers from Carden Primary School, with the aid of local rapper, Jon Clark.  Look out for new perspectives on scientific ideas, combining solid facts with imaginative flights of fancy. Hugely enjoyable. Workshop times: 11:00am – 11:45am and 12:00pm – 12:45pm. No booking required.
Leap Environmental
A big part of building a house involves checking the land it will sit on. Leap Environmental give challenges to kids they wouldn’t try on adults: what if the ‘land’ is jelly? Or mud? Extreme examples like this are a great way to show what happens to houses when there is an earthquake.
Snail’s Pace
Any gardener will tell you snails are a threat to their crops and their sanity. But what if we could train them to carry out simple tasks? Take a snail under your wing, show it the ropes, and make it a slave to your bidding! You will run a ‘Snail Bootcamp’, testing a snail’s ability to remember their training and perform simple tasks. More info.
Windtunnel Challenge
Ricardo, a leading global engineering consultancy, will provide a look into the challenges of engineering personal transportation and clean energy in the future. Will you be able to win the Kinergy Flywheel Challenge? How much energy can you store in our hybrid drive flywheel? What are the challenges to developing low carbon transport systems? What are the issues facing society and where do engineers of the future have a role in overcoming these challenges? Come and visit us for all these and more.
plaster workshop Plaster Workshop
Simple mould making workshop with plaster of Paris. Let the Regency Town House experts shows you how, using the skills they employ restoring the property in Brunswick Square to its 19th century glory. From the Regency Townhouse.
ed the bear One World One Ocean: Ed The Bear
One World One Ocean charts the travels of Ed the Bear, as he learns about the ocean and marine life from real scientists. Join Ed as he comes face to face with sharks, meets penguins, dives on coral reefs and discovers deep-sea shipwrecks. Discover how we are damaging the ocean and why all life on earth depends on a healthy ocean.   Drop-in, plus timed 30 minute microscope sessions at 12.30pm and 3.30pm. No booking required. 
teach teachers Teach Teachers to Teach!
‘It is the Supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge’ (Albert Einstein).Let the trainee Science teachers of Sussex University (in collaboration with Longhill School) inspire you with their simple experiments and creative activities.
Secrets of Pollination
Everyone knows bees are crazy for pollen. But what other creatures help spread pollen about? And what do flowers think about it? Become a pollinator or a flower, and find out the clever ways that the two interact. 40 minutes running time. 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm. No booking required.
Digestion Digest
So you just ate an apple. Where did it go? What has happened to it? It didn’t just disappear! Medical students from Brighton and Sussex Medical school take you on a journey through the digestive system from mouth to toilet! On the way the “doctors to be” will take you all around the body, exploring germs and microbes all the way up to the organs that keep you alive!
Making Marvellous Medicines
From the lab to the chemists, we rely on a pharmacopeia of medicines to keep us well and cure disease. But how are new medicines discovered? Become a medical researcher and test your lab skills by making your own tonics and tablets. From finding which part of the cell to treat to testing the results, see every stage on this drug discovery journey. More info.
Giant Drawing Machines
In a fusion of maths and mechanics, these giant drawing machines can create complex Lissajous patterns, giant-sized hands, or whip up a portrait of your friend in minature. Deceptively simple and gloriously complex at the same time – get drawing!
Lifting the Lid on Software
Ever wondered what it’s like to be a computer programmer? Come and have a go at “coding” at one of our programming workshops where you can try making “mods” in Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi computer. We’ll also show you how we use programming in the real world to control industrial automation processes. From Eurotherm by Schneider Electric. More info.
Behavioural Science with LSE
Take part in a live behavioural science game show! Answer questions, play games, win tokens, earn prizes, and gain insights about behavioural science along the way! Covering everything from altruism to moral dilemmas. More info.
Cancer is not simple
Cancer is not a simple disease – and discussion of it is often riddled with misconceptions. Share some of the science that will make tomorrow’s cancer journey less frightening and more survivable. Each person’s cancer is slightly different.
What can robots teach us about biology?
Like animals, robots have to try to make their way through a complex and ever-changing world. We’re interested in how robots can help us answer questions about biology. To show you what we mean, we’ve brought along some biologically inspired light-sensitive robots. Come and have a go at some of our robot games if you think you’ve got what it takes.
Science Toy Shop
Come and be inspired by games, models and machines from Herstmonceux Observatory Science Centre. Some are simple, some are sophisticated – all are informative and fun. Plus special festival shop offers and some spectacular science busking.
Test Your Senses
Is your hand really yours? See how well your sense of touch works in recognising what is real…or is it all an illusion? When our senses disagree on the information they receive about a stimulus or scene, which one wins out? Make sense of senses, and see how different creatures use their senses in some very different ways. What’s it like to be a bat or a dolphin, and how the way we perceive things affects the world around us. You know it makes sense.
University of Southampton Research Roadshow
Get a glimpse of the latest research in engineering and medicine, with activities to help explain new ideas in biodiversity, transport management and superbugs. Play games, quizzes and go on an iPad tour through your future in an ageing society.
Science Bookshop
City Books join us with their magnificent pop-up bookshop featuring a huge range of educational and creative books.