Girl wearing VR headset with expert

Programme announced for Manchester Science Festival 2017

The wait is over – the programme for the Manchester Science Festival 2017 is announced today, with events including a library of fake news, an exploration of the human voice and an immersive insight into forensic science.

Headlining the festival will be the blockbuster exhibition Robots, which explores humans’ 500-year quest to recreate themselves in robotic form, the immersive spiderweb experience Tape and Tomorrow’s World Live, looking at where the robot revolution will take us next.

Tape, by award-winning artists Numen/For Use will transform the 1830 Warehouse at the Museum of Science and Industry into a giant spider’s web made from sticky tape, where visitors can climb through a translucent “stretched biomorphic skin” strung above the ground and crawl along winding networks of cocooning passageways.

There are more than a hundred events at this year’s festival, so make sure you check out our What’s On pages for the full guide.

Complementing the headliners will be the Robots Playground – with sessions for families plus a very grown-up adults only late event – featuring Miro the RoboDog, Nao the dancing robot and a host of other metallic friends.

Also in the programme is A Grand Exposition, a four-day celebration of the region’s diverse community of artists, makers and creative technologists, and Electrifying the Voice, on an exploration of the workings of the voice and how it can be adapted to different styles that will also be part of the BBC’s nationwide Opera Passion event.

There are a host of immersive experiences to enjoy, including Aeon: Patient X, a new theatre experience blending real science, augmented reality and a smartphone app to guide participants through the event, uncovering viral traces and working their way towards the source of the contagion: Patient X. Alternatively, step into the AquAIRium, an immersive dry aquarium experience that brings every sound, scent and surface of the ocean to life, hosted by the festival’s lead educational sponsors the University of Salford. The University are also the brains behind the Library of Fake News, which looks at just when truth took a tumble, and the #CitizenScience Showcase.

And in CSI Manchester visitors can explore where science meets criminal justice and even take part in a mock trial where they are the jury and must interpret the forensic evidence correctly or risk convicting an innocent man. Experiments get explosive at Quantum of Science, while things that rain down from the sky is the subject of Meteorites and Fireballs.

Enjoy a spooky Halloween science-themed family rave with Big Fish Little Fish, encounter some Dinosaurs in the Wild and get hands on with the archives (and some LEGO robots) in Science @ Central.

Music-lovers can hear science raps at the Hip Hop Science Stop, get down and boogie with pioneers of sober early-morning raving Morning Gloryvilleexplore the eternal connection and differences between the art of music and the science of maths in The Music of Proof or enjoy sinewy synths and ethereal vocals in Sentinel, a captivating live performance inspired by climate change and forced migration. Hear pulsars sing in Musical Cosmos, see the Higgs boson dance in Science in the House and find out why the world’s biggest pop stars are all secret maths nerds in Born to Sum.

There’s every kind of film experience, from a celebration of the 30th anniversary of RoboCop and X-Files: The Truth Is Out There to the long-lost film footage of Dawson City: Frozen Time. Or if you prefer your science live, try 600 People, a stand up-meets-astrophysics show covering stellar wobble, the mirror test, capitalist chimps and murderous dolphins.

Some of the more unusual experience on offer include Under Glass, equal parts medical laboratory, museum exhibit and living art installation, meet a series of human specimens within a collection of giant glass jars and containers. At Hats off to vLeather you can learn how to grow vegan leather from kombucha tea, or grab your coconuts and do your best horse impression at The Art and Craft of Foley.

The ever-popular Pi: Platform for Investigation returns, powered by Siemens, with daily events at the Museum of Science and Industry featuring the real-life amazing researchers investigating subjects including flooding, dementia and killer fungi.

Away from the city centre, the University of Bolton hosts Messy Science, Gallery Oldham showcases its amazing collection of taxidermy in Stuffed, audiences in Rochdale can learn how to Build a Bug a Home and then take part in a Bat Safari, while in Stockport venture into the air raid shelters in Going Underground.

This year’s festival runs from Thursday, 19 October to Sunday, 29 October and features more than 100 events at venues across Greater Manchester including Rochdale, Oldham, Stockport and Bolton as well as the city centre, making it the most bold, creative and ambitious science festival in the UK.

Antonio Benitez, Director of the Manchester Science Festival, said: “From an early-morning science rave to a science rap jukebox, this year’s programme is as bold, creative and ambitious as ever, and we can’t wait for you to join us for another city-wide celebration of science.”

The festival is produced by the Museum of Science and Industry. Museum director Sally MacDonald said: “Created with our valued partners from across Greater Manchester and beyond, this annual festival is a fantastic platform to test out new ideas in science communication and offers opportunities for audiences of all ages to explore science in the most creative, inspiring ways.”

This year’s Manchester Science Festival is supported by lead educational sponsor the University of Salford and major sponsors Waters and Electricity North West. The Pi: Platform for Investigation programme is powered by Siemens, and the festival programme sponsor is Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP). The Robots exhibition is sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)BARA, PPMA BEST and MTA and supported by the Zochonis Charitable Trust. The festival media partner is BBC Focus.