University of the Highlands and Islands: Inverness Science Festival returns to inspire family fun

Inverness Science Festival returns this month, with a mixture of online and in-person free activities for all ages. Running from Friday 29 April to Saturday 14 May, the event aims to inspire people to learn more about science and to develop a passion for subjects including biology, chemistry, astronomy and physics.

Events at this year’s festival include a bilingual Gaelic | English Lamppost Scavenger hunt running throughout May, in Bank Street and High Street, Inverness, with the chance to win several prizes.

The Family Day at Inverness Leisure returns on Saturday 7 May with various organisations offering hands-on fun activities, including Dynamic Earth, the Royal Air Force, Whale and Dolphin Conservation and the Powerhouse, an applied research centre in Alness dedicated to developing floating offshore wind and green hydrogen technologies.

A series of in-person lectures by staff from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and Highland Council will take place at UHI Inverness. Topics covered include zero-carbon aviation, geology with a focus on East Greenland, electricity and renewable energy, and nature and nanotechnology.

There will also be a range of online family resources and try-at-home activities developed by UHI, Aberdeen Science Centre and Techfest. Children can learn how to make a battery from an orange, use a Caesar cipher or try being a candy detective.

Other events include a virtual science, technology, engineering and maths fayre on Monday 2 May to celebrate the wide range of courses available across UHI, with hands-on activities linked to various university partners. An online Science Busking event on 5 May will include nine simple activities using resources found around the house, allowing participants to amaze family and friends with newfound knowledge.

Inverness Science Festival is organised by UHI’s science technology engineering and maths (STEM) team, who will also be visiting local schools during the festival period, delivering pre-booked workshops with an engineering theme. Dr Evelyn Gray, UHI STEM Project Coordinator, said:

“Inverness Science Festival hopes to encourage everybody to feel inspired by science! Students sometimes see science, technology and maths as ‘hard’ subjects, so teachers and other educators may have a challenge in inspiring young people to take up STEM subjects. UHI’s STEM focus is to increase awareness, influence aspirations and tackle the lack of diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, and rurality in STEM professions.

“As an institution, UHI has been able to take a holistic approach to promoting STEM subjects. We start in early years and primary learning with direct school engagement and offering support to teachers and continue right through to providing work-based learning and college and university education and research. We basically cover the whole education pipeline.”

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