A promo ad for Chelmsford Science Festival 2023, reading '18-24 October Discover the fun of science, together.'

Chelmsford Science Festival returns from 18–24 October with an outstanding programme of learning, discovery, and entertainment. Hosted by Anglia Ruskin University in partnership with Teledyne e2v, Willmott Dixon, Chelmsford Cathedral, Chelmsford City Council and Chelmsford For You, it’s the second year the annual festival has taken place.

With talks by top experts, exhibitions, workshops, hands-on activities and even a quiz – there’s something for everyone to enjoy! And it’s all free to attend.

Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, said:

“We’re thrilled to be hosting the Chelmsford Science Festival at ARU for the second year running. It covers everything from the science behind marathon running to the impact of construction on the climate, and highlights how science plays a key part in every aspect of our daily lives.

“The jam-packed week of activities we have planned opens up the world of science for all to explore right here in Chelmsford. We’re really excited to have some top science stars joining us and we hope that the Chelmsford Science Festival will become a staple in the UK’s annual science programme.”

Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University

Talks by major science figures

The festival programme includes varied talks by industry experts ranging from ChatGPT to the science of happiness.

ARU’s Dr Clive Boddy, Associate Professor, gives a talk on Friday 20 October from 7.30pm on the captivating topic of ‘corporate psychopaths’. He explores how their lack of conscience and emotion propels them to the top through ruthless self-promotion and how, unchecked, they can be highly dangerous to organisations and society.

There’ll also be sessions with star speakers Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Adam Rutherford.

Space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is best known for presenting the BBC’s long-running astronomy series, The Sky at Night, since 2014. She’ll be at ARU on Thursday 19 October from 7.30pm to discuss her ambitions for the future of space science, the importance of enthusing young people with a love of science, and the ongoing challenges of equality and diversity in science.

On Tuesday 24 October at 7.30pm, geneticist, writer, and broadcaster, Adam Rutherford, talks about the invention of race. He’ll look at how racial categories are the inventions of the 18th century, and discuss how modern genetics dismantles the biological concept of race, and can – and should – be used as a weapon to combat bigotry, racism and prejudice.

Family Science Days return in 2023

The hugely popular Family Science Days return in 2023, with a second day added this year due to popular demand. They’ll take place on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 October on the ARU campus.

Suitable for all ages, the day features hands-on interactive science activities covering all topics. Try your hand at constructing a skeleton and building a structurally stable skyscraper. Design the cities of the future and create your own music in virtual reality.

With the future of AI both fascinating and unnerving to consider, find out how an AI-powered robot could help you in a search and rescue mission.

You can also explore the sheer beauty of our universe in their immersive touring Planetarium, find out if you’re smarter than a crow, and see what it’s like to be part of our emergency services.

Relaxed SEN sessions from 9–10am

The main Family Science Days begin on both dates from 10am. There’s also a special SEN hour from 9–10am on each day. These give families with Special Educational Needs a relaxed quieter session with fewer people and activities.

Noise and lights will be turned down for this session where possible, and staff will happily make adjustments where they can to ensure the experience is calming and enjoyable.

Chelmsford For You’s Out Of This World partnership events

As we go into October half term, Chelmsford Science Festival comes to an end with two very special days of activities in Chelmsford city centre on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 October.

Run by Chelmsford For You in partnership with ARU and sponsored by Teledyne e2v, the days will feature a VR space station experience in Shire Hall and a space-themed simulator in Tindal Square.

Monday 23 also sees the launch of the week-long ‘Out Of This World’ trail. Families following the trail will discover a solar system of giant inflatable planets displayed in shops and businesses around the city centre.  

The activities are part of Chelmsford For You’s Out Of This World half term family event, from 23–29 October. To keep up to date with the full programme of activities, register your interest online.

A promotional ad for Chelmsford For You's Out OfThis World.

Sara Tupper, Chelmsford For You BID Manager, is thrilled to have the support of Teledyne e2v and Anglia Ruskin University:

“We’re really excited to be bringing our brand new family event, Out Of This World, to the city centre, helping families not only discover Chelmsford and what businesses the city has to offer, but our solar system too in a fun and inspiring way!

“We’re thrilled to have local company Teledyne e2v as our Out Of This World sponsors and are excited to celebrate their incredible work and links to space and beyond. Not only this, but we’re proud to have partnered with the incredible Chelmsford Science Festival to link our events and expand our offerings to the Chelmsford community”

Sara Tupper, BID Manager, Chelmsford For You

Councillor Marie Goldman, Deputy Leader of Chelmsford City Council and Cabinet Member for a Connected Chelmsford is pleased to see the city’s innovative science background celebrated this October:

“Chelmsford has an incredibly rich heritage of scientific innovation, and to this day, Chelmsford businesses, such as Teledyne e2v are leading the way in global industries, including space exploration.

“The Chelmsford Science Festival and Chelmsford For You’s Out Of This World provide a brilliant opportunity to praise our city’s role in historic and current day innovations and to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists.”

Councillor Marie Goldman, Deputy Leader of Chelmsford City Council and Cabinet Member for a Connected Chelmsford

Even more to explore at Chelmsford Science Festival

There’s even more to discover in Chelmsford Science Festival’s programme of events. An exhibition in Shire Hall looks at the art of decision making, while a workshop at ARU delves into the world of nano-medicines. There’s also a chance to step into the world of DJ-ing and explore the latest technology in the field.  

You can view the full programme via their website. All activities are free but most will require a ticket to be booked for entry.

Keep up to date with Chelmsford Science Festival news by following ARU on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

By Cherelle Nightingill

Cherelle writes stories for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at cherelle.nightingill@chelmsford.gov.uk or 01245 606982.