Let’s all experiment with Science Week

Kids today are a dab hand at science and technology, but if the last time you donned the lab coat and lit a Bunsen burner was at school, National Science Week aims to enthuse you about everyday miracles. SIMON PARKIN looks at how to get involved.

For many people of a certain age school science lessons mainly involved copying diagrams from ancient books and wondering what relevance the lifecycle of a frog had to do with anything.

But in recent years there's a revolution in school science labs with the emphasis on making science not only fun and interesting, but relevant to our world.

Practical experiments virtually every lesson, vibrant and enthusiastic teaching, debates about the ethics of everything from genetics to nuclear power, and showing how science is all around us every day,

And even people who previously shuddered at the distant memory of learning periodic tables are finding their interest in all things scientific re-ignited like an old Bunsen burner.

Science — and its more trendy cousin technology — are enjoying something of a renaissance. Television has rediscovered its enthusiasm, with programmes like Wonders of the Universe which starts this weekend presented by Brian Cox.

National Science and Engineering Week (which this year runs from March 11-20) hopes to continue this trend with masses of events to involve the whole community.

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Nationally there are about 2,000 events running throughout the whole 10 days with the aim of celebrating science, engineering and technology and its importance in our lives, and there is plenty to do locally.

The topics covered are hugely varied and there's eclectic mix of events suitable for people of all ages and abilities. All it requires is an inquiring mind.

t For a full list of events visit: www.britishscienceassociation.org

The Seashore Jungle

Sheringham Museum, Sheringham, March 12, 11am-12pm and 1.30-2.30pm, pre-book on 01263 824482, www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

Have you ever wondered what weird and wonderful marine creatures live on our shoreline? Here's your chance to find out. Emma Leedham, UEA ocean scientist, will be leading a hands-on workshop in which families will learn about fascinating marine critters and their habitats and get the opportunity to handle artefacts from the sea.

Grunt, Squeak And Squawk

Banham Zoo, March 11-20, 9am-5pm, normal admission prices, www.banhamzoo.co.uk

A lot can be said with a flick of the tail or a nod of the head. This special event at Banham Zoo will be a chance to get involved in their brand new Animal Communication sessions, where your group can touch and hold fascinating bio-facts and even live animals.

Stop Me I'm A Scientist

Castle Museum, Norwich, March 13, 12pm-4pm, normal admission prices, 01603 493625, www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

From morse code to nerve cells, bird song to dancing bees, discover some fascinating facts about communication at a series of busking sessions by scientists. This drop-in family activity is organised in partnership with the UEA.

Space Cadet Week

Inspire Discovery Centre, Oak Street, Norwich, March 14-18, 10am-2pm, normal admission prices, pre-book on 01603 612612, www.inspirediscoverycentre.com

This science week the Inspire Discovery Centre is holding special sessions with children able to take part in two space-themed workshops and see the planetarium show. Youngsters also get to undertake the pressure rocket challenge and the alien egg drop challenge. There 100 places per day, places cost �5.50 per child.

Soil Testing

Millennium Library, Norwich, March 15, 10am-2pm, free admission, 01603 727950.

Pupils from the Sewell Park College will be in the Library to test your garden soil and recommend the best plants to grow in your garden. It's free, just bring a sample and pop in.

Mind The Gap

Cinema City, March 16, 10am, �3.50, 0871 902 5747, www.picturehouses.co.uk

Three disparate people find themselves stranded on a deserted station platform. They are ministered to by Silas, lone kiosk attendant, self-styled healer and purveyor of Kit Kats. Together these four minds are compelled to confront the devastating nature of Alzheimer's disease and the agony of post-traumatic stress. This powerful play being screened live from the Royal Albert Hall explores ethical issues arising from advances in technologies derived from Brain Sciences and will be followed by a live talk-back with a guest scientist.

Future Finders!

UEA, March 18, 9am-4pm, free admission, 01493 748815, www.camouflaged-learning.com

Future Finders! aims to build on the success and momentum of the first two years of The Opito Challenge, and just as in previous years, the challenge will be an exciting day-long thrill-ride that will stimulate, invigorate and inspire in equal measures. Attendance- as ever- is free and all participating students will win a prize- including the opportunity for two winning teams from each heat to experience a full day of offshore survival training.

Science in Norwich Day

The Forum, Norwich, March 19, 10am-4pm, free admission, 01603 727950, www.theforumnorwich.co.uk

Pop along and talk to some of the 2,700 scientists in Norwich and find out first hand about their work. You will also be able to take part in a large group dance outside the Forum. The DNA Boogie teaches people about the process of DNA replication whilst dancing!