What’s on today at the Manchester Science Festival: Saturday, 21 October
Science at Salford
Media City is the place to be today, with the University of Salford’s GameLab weekender featuring a host of events. Families should head to #CitizenScience Showcase to find out how people just like you are helping to make world-changing discoveries or experience the AquAIRium, a “dry aquarium” that brings every sound, scent and surface of the ocean to life. Puzzles, problem-solving and PlayStations: it’s all about experimental gaming at GameLab where for good measure, we’ll also take your mutt’s mugshot portrait using the latest camera technology. For grown-ups The Library of Fake News encourages visitors not to stay silent about spin, while there’s spinning of a different kind at Science in the House when house music meets live-mixed 3D visuals in this incredible audio-visual experience starring a scientist DJ alongside a VJ who will be live-mixing 3D animations and game engine visuals to the music. All events run from 10am to 5pm.
Family fun days
There’s a bumper crop of events for families across the city as well. The Robots Playground (Museum of Science and Industry, 10am-5pm) features a magically mechanical menagerie – you’ll tinker and dance with a Nao robot, teach a robot head to talk to you, programme robots to navigate a maze and even take Miro the robodog for a stroll. Also at the Museum of Science and Industry, Lego Space Rovers (11.30am and 1.30pm) boldly go where no Lego has gone before, letting kids get hands on with artificial intelligence, using space bots fit for the moon. And with Scribble Bots (2pm-4pm) you’ll not only get to create your own bot, but also use coloured pens to see your bot doodle. Will your bot stay on course? Will it go rogue? Will it pick a fight with other bots? Join us for a rollicking robo adventure that draws parallels between insect and robot behaviour and poses all sorts of interesting questions about swarm behaviour. Meanwhile in the Museum’s Power Hall, Pi:Flow (10.30am-4pm) lets visitors experience the awesome power of water by telling stories about colossal floods, playing a special team game of snakes and ladders and creating your own sandbanks and landscapes then using motion sensing tech to see the devastating effect that rains can have.
At the Super Science Day (Central Library, 12pm-4pm) you’ll find that in the game of drones, you win or you fly. Super participants will get to grips not only with code but also the flight controls of a real-life drone. Or try the Science Spectacular (Manchester Museum and Whitworth Hall, 11am-4pm), a fun-filled day of challenges, experiments, and interactive demonstrations. Explore the science of bubbles, dance with robots, get hands-on with bugs, and fungi and land yourself some moon rock. With more than 40 interactive science activities on offer, it really is an event for all the family. From there you could head to the Quantum of Science (University of Manchester School of Chemistry, 4pm) where scientific phenomena have never been quite so… explosive. Or get up close to a T-rex with Dinosaurs in the Wild (EventCity, 9.30am-5pm).
Make some noise
Get noisy with the Noisy Library (John Rylands Library, 10am-5pm) where you can climb staircases through melodies of the sea, influenced by the library’s luminous lantern gallery and hear the Library being ‘played’ in a multi-channel electromagnetic sound installation, designed by the ‘electrical veins’ of the library itself. Continuing the noise theme, The Art and Craft of Foley (Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, 2pm-5pm) goes behind the scenes and sound out the secret world of Foley artists, the unseen stars of the silver screen. Explore the hidden techniques of designing, performing and recording sound effects for film and TV, discover the science behind the art and have a go at creating and recording your very own Foley audio.
Try something different
Today sees some of the festival’s most unusual events take place. From Sherlock Holmes to CSI, forensics fascinate us. Join us at Minshull Street Crown Court, a stunning Victorian-era court, for CSI Manchester (12pm-4pm) to explore where science meets criminal justice. You’ll learn the history of forensics, study state-of-the-art techniques and see how far we’ve come.
Tony Curran asks “If meat is murder, are burgers environmental assault?” in The Burger Apocalypse (Rapha Manchester Clubhouse, 2.30pm). This entertaining and highly participative show explains how to create the “perfect” burger, one that’s healthy, tasty and good for the environment.
There’s an outbreak – a deadly contagion grips Arcadia Life Sciences, and members of the public are urgently needed to help scientists identify the carrier of the virus behind the pandemic. Welcome to Aeon: Patient X (University of Manchester Michael Smith Building, 11am, 1pm and 3pm), an immersive theatre experience from the team behind Aeon: Live at last year’s festival. This event blends real science, augmented reality and a smartphone app to show you all about the science of contagion. You’ll be guided through the event to uncover viral traces, working your way towards the source of the contagion: Patient X.
Away from the city centre, Stuffed (Gallery Oldham, 1pm) goes under the skin of taxidermy with Jack Fishwick, one of the UK’s leading taxidermists, peeling away the layers of history and ethics that surround this often misunderstood practice.
Wayne McGregor CBE is a multi award-winning choreographer and director, internationally renowned for trailblazing innovations in performance. Join us for a screening and discussion of Atomos (Texture, 5pm), in which McGregor’s choreography, performed by his company of ten world-class dancers, is woven into an intense 70 minute film, taking creative points of departure from atomised film, music and biometric data.
Today is the final day you can see medical laboratory-meets-living art installation Under Glass – but an additional afternoon performance has been added to give audiences more opportunities (The Lowry, 3pm, 6.30pm and 8pm). There are also two additional events from Clod Ensemble, the artists behind the show, with the artist-led workshop From Object to Specimen (The Portico Library, 11am-2pm) and the surprisingly scientific life drawing class Drafted in Movement (The Lowry, 4pm-6pm).
Spend some thought-provoking time in one of Manchester’s many galleries, be it at the Manchester Museum for Reena Saini Kallatt (10am-5pm), Central Library to see the finalists in the national Physics Pics competition (9am-8pm), or at the Museum of Science and Industry for our exploration of 500 years of robot history, Robots (10am-5pm). At the People’s History Museum you can catch up with the inspiring stories of Women of Science (10am-5pm), or for a completely different gallery experience, get an arachnid’s eye-view with Tape (Museum of Science and Industry, 10am-9pm).
9am-8pm – Physics Pics, Central Library
9.30am-5pm – Dinosaurs in the Wild, EventCity
10am-5pm – #CitizenScience Showcase, MediaCityUK Campus, University of Salford
10am-5pm – AquAIRium, MediaCityUK Campus, University of Salford
10am-5pm – GameLab, MediaCityUK Campus, University of Salford
10am-5pm – Library of Fake News, MediaCityUK Campus, University of Salford
10am-5pm – Noisy Library, The John Rylands Library
10am-5pm – Reena Saini Kallat, Manchester Museum
10am-5pm – Robots, Museum of Science and Industry
10am-5pm – Robots Playground, Museum of Science and Industry
10am-5pm – Science in the House, MediaCityUK Campus, University of Salford
10am-5pm – Women of Science, People’s History Museum
10am-9pm – Tape, Museum of Science and Industry
10.30am-4pm – Pi: Flow, Museum of Science and Industry
11am-12pm – Aeon: Patient X, Michael Smith Building, University of Manchester
11am-2pm – Under Glass: From Object to Specimen, The Lowry
11am-4pm – Science Spectacular, Whitworth Hall and Manchester Museum
11.30am-12.30pm – Lego Space Rovers, Museum of Science and Industry
12pm-4pm – Super Science Day, Central Library
1pm-2pm – Aeon: Patient X, Michael Smith Building, University of Manchester
1pm-4pm – Stuffed, Gallery Oldham
1.30pm-2.30pm – Lego Space Rovers, Museum of Science and Industry
2pm-4pm – Scribble Bots, Museum of Science and Industry
2pm-4pm – The Art and Craft of Foley, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art
2.30pm-3.30pm – The Burger Apocalypse, Rapha Manchester Clubhouse
3pm-3.45pm – Under Glass, The Lowry
3pm-4pm – Aeon: Patient X, Michael Smith Building, University of Manchester
4pm-5pm – Quantum of Science, School of Chemistry, University of Manchester
4pm-6pm – Under Glass: Drafted in Movement, The Portico Library
5pm-7pm – Atomos, Texture
6.30pm-7.15pm – Under Glass, The Lowry
8pm-8.45pm – Under Glass, The Lowry