Back for its second year, the IF Oxford Science and Ideas Festival has packed in a staggering number of events dedicated to bringing science to life for people of all ages and backgrounds. Their programme has over 100 events to choose from, so in case you're not sure where to start, we've collected together some of the highlights based on different interests.
Check out these events IF you...
... Think you're not interested in science
The festival is for everyone, particularly if you haven't thought about science since school! Explore scientific ideas through the more relatable mediums of cabaret, stand up comedy, a capella concerts and even tattoos.
... Want to indulge your competitive streak
Whether it's refining fast cars or ensuring you have the maximum amount of energy when playing sport, science helps people up their game in a range of ways. See some of these in action with Vector, an immersive performance where you race against the clock and rival lab teams to decide the best course of action; The Brain Escape, an MRI-based escape room; RoboChallenge, where kids can programme and battles robots; and a board game café with a variety of science-themed board games.
... Are a book worm
From Darwin to Hawking, via sci-fi, books have been the foremost tool for popular science communication, so it's natural that a science festival should have lots of literary events! Take a literary tour with Uncomfortable Oxford, hear all about the poetry of science, or prepare to cram your bookshelves with knowledge, thanks to the festival's pop-up book stall in the Explorazone in the Town Hall. And if your preferred approach to books is to try before you buy, you can chat to experts about their work at the Living Library at the Life Times exhibition and the Ideas Speed Dating evening.
... Worry about the future
The way that the development of futuristic technologies is reported in the press is often misleading and can create exaggerated fears about the future. Learning more about issues like artificial intelligence and big data can equip you to consider these things in a more balanced way and possibly get a more relaxed outlook. 'Futureyou2020' and 'The noise that keeps me awake' at the Life Times exhibition; games in the Westgate Wonderlab showing 'Big data solving big puzzles in human health'; the 'Making faces' workshop; and Fake News bingo with 'Fake new world' will all help put your mind at ease.
... Have curious kids
Whether your little ones love dinosaurs, colouring, space, Minecraft or all of the above, a large portion of the festival is family friendly. They can let off steam in a giant inflatable cell, or listen to stories about a range of topics and discoveries - and with all of the events being Pay What You Decide, it promises to be a budget-friendly ten days!
... Enjoy the finer things in life
The festival culminates in an exquisite five course vegetarian meal, punctuated by short talks about food security, sustainable nutrition and the future of farming. Fine dining has never been so insightful! We attended this dinner last year and can safely say it's worth every penny of the ticket price.