The North-east’s annual festival of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), has launched with the 2019 event celebrating all things made in Aberdeen, with homegrown talent making up more than half of the programme.
TechFest’s new programme of workshops, shows and presentations offers audiences the chance to explore how STEM subjects can be applied in a range of sectors, disciplines and in our day to day lives.
With a wide range of activities for all ages, TechFest 2019 will run from August 24 to September 28 at venues including Robert Gordon University and the University of Aberdeen.
Festivalgoers can learn about the Aberdeen scientists responsible for world-changing discoveries including the cure to diabetes and the equation behind mobile phones in Scot Free Tours: Science and the City Tour (September 21) and explore the world’s first whole body MRI scanner which was developed and built in Aberdeen at the Mark-1 MRI Scanner Exhibition (accessible 24 hours a day).
Other highlights include the opportunity to view Aberdeen’s resident dolphins at Dolphins at the Battery: Aberdeen’s Circular Showcase (September 26) and experience one of the most ambitious marine engineering projects in Scotland for decades at the Aberdeen Harbour Expansion Project Visitor Centre Tour (September 28).
Local food and drink suppliers will also be celebrated with Aberdeen’s only microbrewery opening its doors to the public for the Fierce Beer Brewery Tour (September 25) and Adrian Gomes of 10 Dollar Shake discussing production techniques and fermentation in Science of Champagne (September 27).
As well as paying tribute to Aberdeen, TechFest 2019 will host some of the most influential and prolific STEM speakers in the UK in a range of engaging and informative events, suitable for audiences of all ages.
Speakers include zoologist and author Dr Michael Leach who will share his experiences of living with mountain gorillas in Central Africa in How to Speak Gorilla (September 14) and biologist and TV presenter Simon Watt who will explore some of the strangest sea animals in the world in The Ugly Animal Show: Weird Life Underwater (September 27).
One of the aims of TechFest 2019, which is supported by joint principal funders BP and Shell, is to engage young people in the four main STEM subjects and encourage them to go on to follow a career which utilises these skills by demonstrating that they are both fun and relevant in day to day life.
The festival was launched with children from the Newtonhill Out of School Club who have been getting ready for their Science Fair as part of TechFest 2019. TechFest will be at The Bettridge Centre on Friday, August 16, from 2pm – 4pm with fun STEM activities including a slime-making workshop and a smoothie science station.
Sarah Chew, managing director of TechFest, said: “We are excited to launch another action-packed programme for TechFest 2019 and we are particularly proud to feature so many local organisations this year.
“We always say that STEM is all around us, but most people take for granted that Aberdeen has played a huge part in the development of some really significant STEM discoveries over the years, including medicine to cure diabetes and the world’s first full body MRI scanner.
“TechFest 2019’s #MadeInAberdeen theme is clear throughout our public programme, but we’ve also got lots of activities and festival favourites from further afield which promise to inspire, educate and engage audiences across the North-east this September.”
This year’s festival will be opened by IT comedy duo Foxdog Sudios who will share their latest inventions with the audience encouraged to interact using their phones in Foxdog Studios: Tomorrow’s Office (September 16), while pyrotechnician and broadcaster Matthew Tosh will ensure the festival finishes with a bang as he creates colours, sound effects and perfectly timed explosions to music in closing event Fireworks: Real Science or Just Bangs? (September 28).
Sarah added: “None of this would be possible without the help we receive from our sponsors and supporters, in particular our joint principal funders Shell and BP, whose continued backing allows us to engage people of all ages in the fantastic opportunities that STEM can offer.”
Steve Phimister, Vice President for Shell Upstream, U.K. & Ireland, said: “I am delighted that Shell is a part of Techfest 2019. We hope it will help to inspire the next generation of young scientists and engineers whose skills will be in demand as society addresses global energy challenges”.
Ariel Flores, Regional President, BP North Sea said: “BP’s education programme in the UK was founded more than 50 years ago with a clear aim: to inspire young people. This founding principle continues to encourage and energise every generation; helping them gain a better understanding of how important the STEM subjects are for our industry and for their futures.
“We are delighted to once again support TechFest which promises to deliver a range of fun-filled activities designed to stimulate an interest in these vital subjects.”
The 2019 Early Years and Primary Programme is expected to attract thousands of pupils and staff from primary schools and nurseries across Aberdeen City and Shire from August 26 to August 30 and the Activity Weekend will run at RGU’s Garthdee campus on August 24 and August 25.