In early September, the British Science Festival 2023 landed in the South West of England for the first time in nearly 20 years. Lucky for us, and the thousands of Festival goers who joined in, the sun was out and we were up and running on the hottest day of the year!

In partnership with the University of Exeter, the British Science Association (BSA) brought the Festival to the university’s campus and a raft of city centre venues, giving visitors a small taste of the intriguing and innovative science happening across the UK and beyond.

It would be impossible to fit in each and every thought-provoking event and all the cutting-edge research that was showcased, but here are some of our highlights from this year’s programme…

Thank you to all our event organisers, speakers, ambassadors and support staff for helping us put together a fantastic Festival. But most of all, thank you to everyone who attended, and made it the success it was!

Forum Street at the University of Exeter was a hub of hands-on activities, tech to try out and pioneering science.

The Killer Fungus escape room was a firm favourite with attendees, developed by the university's MRC Centre for Medical Mycology to challenge visitors to try out different ways to tackle a new deadly disease.

Festival goers also had the chance to experience a driving simulator experience with a robotic car seat that supports drivers in autonomous vehicles. Check out a clip of ITV South West’s reporter testing it out here:

Researchers from the University of Exeter’s ‘Maximising Inclusiveness in Sports through Female-centric Innovation and Technology’ (MISFIT) project were measuring feet as part of their work to promote healthy and active lifestyles for women, particularly as they get older.

Photography by Theo Moye

Exeter’s Cathedral Green transformed into the city’s first Science Market on the weekend, housing tent domes (or dome tents?) filled with a variety of stalls. Chocolate fiends found themselves at the Discover Materials stand learning about the properties of chocolate (in 30-degree heat, no less) and Megawatt, a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to inspire curiosity in sustainable energy, were coaxing visitors in with their card game which challenges you to build an electricity grid.

Read more about Megawatt and youth participation at COP

The Exeter Phoenix was another hub of creativity and science throughout the duration of the Festival. Brian Rappert from the University of Exeter and Gustav Kuhn from the University of Plymouth wowed their audience with ‘The Magic of Everyday’, revealing some of the psychological biases and social conventions that underpin magic acts.

Andy Brown and Christopher Southgate hosted a poetry workshop in which they guided attendees on a creative exploration of nature, science, art and more. Here are just some of the poems from the attendees.

One of our headline speakers was Hamza Yassin, and he was interviewed by Lisa Roberts, Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter. Hamza shared memories of his childhood in Sudan, his birding journey and of course, some of his Strictly best bits. The audience got some great questions in too. Keep your eyes peeled for a blog on what else we learned.

Photography by Theo Moye

It was another full house for the panel discussion, “How to make an athlete” featuring elite runners Jo Pavey MBE, Jake Smith and Innes FitzGerald who explained the importance of science in their training. Nutrition and physiology play a key role in their successes and the audience got a really detailed look into how the athletes prepare for some of their biggest events.

British Science Festival was a truly amazing event, and we’re delighted to have shared it with the city of Exeter.

Thank you to our Principal Partner, NERC, and Major Partner, South West Water, for supporting the British Science Festival 2023.

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