10 October, 11:00 am

6 hrPWYD

Interactive | Environment & Nature, Health & Medicine, Science, Technology

See some of the most exciting science and meet the best and friendliest inventors in real life for free! Try out dozens of interactive activities and demonstrations suitable for all ages. Delve inside your body and mind to discover how diseases are diagnosed and treated. Find out how scientists and engineers are solving the world’s biggest challenges and travel from the depths of the ocean to the outer reaches of space, all in real life #IRL, in Oxford Town Hall.

Please help us keep track of venue capacity by booking your approximate arrival time. You can arrive at any time during your half-hour arrival slot, then stay for as long as you like. Last entry 4.30pm, event closes at 5pm.

Autism-friendly hour:

From 11am to 12 noon today, Explorazone will be open just to adults and children who have an autism spectrum condition and their families. Join us for an opportunity to explore and discuss science and ideas in a quieter autism-friendly space.

Activities include:

Your body clock: are you an owl or a lark?

Why are we tired in the morning? Should we avoid looking at smartphones late at night? When is the best time to exercise? Dive into the science of sleep, light and body rhythms to find out whether you’re a late-night owl or an early-rising lark!

Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford

The Olympus Rover trials on show

Over the past year, a group of young engineers stretched their skills beyond the realms of the stars to design a Mars Rover. Find out how graduate and apprentice engineers from UKAEA got on when they entered the Olympus Rover Trials by meeting their prototype machines.

United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority

100 years of insulin

2021 marks 100 years since the discovery of insulin, which transformed the treatment of diabetes. Speak to researchers and find out about how your body turns food into energy, the role of insulin, and what happens to the sugar in your food.

Oxford Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology, University of Oxford

Protecting the code of life

How do ultraviolet (UV) sunlight, pollution, diet and lifestyle damage DNA, the familiar code of life? Explore how the enormous double-helix molecule protects itself from damage and repairs some problems. Find out how can you help your DNA, and the genomes it encodes, to stay healthy.

Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford

Magnetic dancing

Neuroscientists take pictures of brains using magnets powerful enough to lift a double-decker bus! Step inside a big brain scanner joining friendly researchers to learn the simple steps for a magnetic field-inspired dance routine.

Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, University of Oxford

Incredible Oceans chemistry lab

Visit the ocean lab with a life-sized inflatable orca and marine experts who will guide you through experiments highlighting the amazing links between chemistry and our oceans. Marvel at deep-sea bioluminescence, extract dinosaur breath from ocean rocks, construct a saltwater battery and more.

Incredible Oceans

Making a Sun on Earth

Ever wondered what powers the stars? Our Sun is hot and bright, but it needs a power source to make that heat and light. That power source is fusion energy. Meet scientists and engineers working in Oxfordshire on how to harness star power to make a new sustainable electricity source.

United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority

Superconducting magnets in MRI

Explore the heart of the MRI machine, used to diagnose tumours, clots and tissue damage. Take a look at the curious world of cryogenics as the basis for the design and manufacture of superconducting magnets in Oxfordshire.

Siemens Healthineers Oxford

A rough diamond?

You know that diamonds are harder than nails while being the most fabulous gemstone around, but how many uses are there for this little rock of carbon? Discover some fascinating material properties of diamond through activities and demonstrations and see for yourself how diamond is used in roughly every part of your life.

Element Six

Glow Your Own today

Start creative coding for a city-wide project to light up Oxford. Meet Sarah Townson, a tinkering expert, who will guide you through the electronic components for you to make your own interactive lights. Pick up a coding pack to take home and join in the free workshops over the coming weeks.

Science Oxford

The gene therapists

Is gene therapy real, or science fiction? Is it safe, or dangerous? See if you can target the lung cells needing treatment in a challenging ball-throwing game and take away your own viral vector souvenir.

Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford

Air and oceans

See the unseeable and discover what happens to the ocean as it becomes acidified during a spectacular demonstration, then marvel at some chemical colour-changing tricks. Create and capture carbon dioxide and view microscope images to see inside the air we breathe.

Royal Society of Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry Group

Environmental hazards and your health

What chemical, radiological and environmental hazards might you encounter every day? Discover the surprising science of how to protect your health with fun, interactive activities suitable for a range of ages.

Environmental Health Protection Research Units, UK Health Security Agency

IF Oxford uses Pay What You Decide (PWYD) ticketing so you can choose to pay whatever you want, or can afford. You can make your donation during booking or after the event and the amount you pay is up to you. A suggested donation of £5 per person for each event enjoyed will help secure the future of the Festival. IF Oxford is run by The Oxfordshire Science Festival (charity #1151361) and your donation may be eligible for Gift Aid, where a charity can claim back an extra 20% of your donation at no cost to you.

Donate and download Gift Aid declaration form  

COVID security

With a sizable number of staff, performers, volunteers, and indeed the public, not yet fully vaccinated, we encourage our visitors to continue wearing masks and to practice social distancing so that we can all feel safe and protected. We see this as an important step to protecting everyone involved in creating culture in Oxford, and kindly request that visitors remain considerate during this time. In the event of a change in COVID status, the Festival reserves the right to convert in-person events to digital if required and will inform all ticket holders of any changes.


Oxford Town Hall, Oxford, UK OX1 1BX