Highlights from the Cambridge Science Festival (part 1)

The Road to Race for Science

Getting inspiration for Race for Science has been one of the most fun parts of my role for the last few months. In order to make RFS the spectacular event we know it can be, we need exciting, hands-on scientific activities that have a challenge component. One of the most important places we’ve gotten inspiration so far has been at the Cambridge Science Festival, which took place from the 12th to the 25th of March 2018. I went up for 2 weekends to try out some activities, meet scientists, get a sense of the atmosphere of the festival, and generally act like a kid again.

Without further ado, here’s part 1 of our epic Science Festival adventure.


After some much-needed coffee and tea, we went to the Department of Geography to see their state of the art flume. The machine measured water flow speeds and is used to test different methods for making floods less deadly.

It was an exciting and moving demonstration; the water rushed towards the little Lego houses and washed some of them away, you can really understand the danger of not protecting people from floods. The only houses that weren’t washed away were the ones that were protected by certain plants that can slow the movement of incoming water. It was a fascinating start to our day!

We then made our way to the Department of Zoology, where the volunteer group CHaOS had set up loads of amazing scientific experiments. We really loved this one, where we used simple things you can find at home to explore electromagnetism. Look at the motor spin!

Quote of the day from Ellen: “I was so excited about the Life-sized operation that I didn’t notice the queue of children forming behind me!”

Race against the aging clock– The Babraham Institute┬ácollaborated with PhD students to create a mini escape room style challenge involving matching keys with locks in order to demonstrate use of keys and locks to demonstrate scientific concepts – very up our alley!

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