Public to be blown away with bubbles and mind-reading at Techfest's activity weekend

People throughout Aberdeen City and Shire will have the opportunity to have their minds read, come face-to-face with lizards, explore the solar system and witness a mind-blowing bubble show at the TechFest in September Activity Weekend.

Set to take place in the Beach Ballroom and Beach Leisure Centre on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September, the Activity Weekend will welcome children and adults alike to get hands-on experience in science and technology.   

This year’s TechFest in September festival is celebrating its 20th birthday with a special 20-day programme of events, workshops and shows. 

With a wide range of activities for all ages, the annual festival of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), is set to attract around 25,000 visitors between September 13 and October 2.

Sponsored by Marathon Oil, the Activity Weekend will feature 35 workshops, exhibitions and shows across two venues, giving people an enjoyable insight into the worlds of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Carri Lockhart, Regional Vice President UK, Marathon Oil, said: “Through the TechFest Activity Weekend, children and parents have a valuable opportunity to get hands-on experience with science helped along by fun and inspirational presenters. 

“TechFest goes from strength to strength every year and Marathon Oil is proud to support this well established local event.” 

Highlights of the Activity Weekend include:

  • As Luck Would Have It – this exciting show will see people participating in mind reading, taking part in a luck challenge and discovering why you sometimes feel lucky or unlucky.
  • Animates – a workshop where people will get up close and personal with live animal guests and learn about their natural habitats.
  • Explore Your Universe – an eye-opening show exploring visible light, infrared radiation, ultraviolet radiation, reflections and colour through experiments highlighting current UK space and physics research.
  • The Bubble Show – a 40 minute experience showcasing cubic bubbles, smoke filled bubbles, flaming bubbles and floating bubbles.
  • Build Your Own Cable-Supported Bridge – a challenging event where teams, with help from Civil Engineers, will build a 7m span cable stayed suspension bridge strong enough to walk across. 

The University of Aberdeen also has a range of workshops at Activity Weekend. Highlights include:

  • Protect Our Pollinators: Beach Leisure Centre with Marie Fish and Yashka Smith from the Natural History Centre.   

  • Car Boot Science: Beach Leisure Centre - science fun with University postgraduate researchers. 

  • Blogging Birds; show and tell:  Beach Ballroom - join Dr Rene van der Wal and a team from the dot.rural Digital Economy Hub to explore how computers are revealing stories about birds roaming our countryside.

  • Fun with Food: Beach Ballroom - with Laura Young from the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health

  • Teddy Bear Hospital:  Beach Leisure Centre - more soft toy rehabilitation with Jerry Morse and a team from the Clinical Skills Centre

The majority of Activity Weekend events are drop-in, while some activities need to be booked in advance as stated in the programme.

TechFest’s Deputy Managing Director, Edwina Keown, said: “The Activity Weekend is always one of the most popular events at TechFest and is set to be action-packed this year. 

“With a vast variety of shows and exhibitions, we aim to educate and inspire all ages in science and technology and give people an insight into careers within these fields.”

Supported by joint principal sponsors Shell and BP, the festival took a break from its traditional format last year to partner with the British Science Association and the University of Aberdeen to bring the British Science Festival to Aberdeen, but returned to mark its milestone anniversary.

Glen Cayley, Upstream Director U.K. & Ireland - Shell U.K. Limited, said: “Events like Techfest In September which aim to encourage enthusiasm for the fascinating world of STEM subjects are so important in inspiring the next generation of young scientists and engineers. We are proud to be a part of such an inspirational and exciting event which we consider to be a real asset to Aberdeen and the north-east.

“Shell feels that by supporting TechFest-SetPoint we are not only investing in our own future but also investing in the future skills of our children.”

Tim Smith, Vice President Communications & External Affairs, BP added: “BP is delighted to continue its long standing support for TechFest In September. Techfest is a favourite with families and schools alike, giving young people the opportunity to experience a wide range of inspiring STEM activities.”

The University of Aberdeen contributes a range of exciting public events and activities to the TechFest programme each year.

Booking is open for the new public programme, which has something for everyone - from loud and energetic shows aimed at children to thought-provoking lectures for adults, featuring everything from anthropology, zombies and climate change to comedy, brewing beer and beauty treatments.

As well as the public programme, thousands of pupils are also signed up to attend a host of science, engineering and mathematics-themed TechFest events for schools.