Science Alive at HK Science Museum

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FREE Recommended
Mar 8-Mar 21

Science Alive returns to Hong Kong Science Museum, celebrating the fun side of all things scientific. Graham Turner discovers why kids should put down the mobile phone and pick up the lab coat

The British Council’s ‘Science Alive’ event returns this month for its 21st year, giving kids and adults alike the chance to get hands on and experience the fun side of learning, all the while eradicating science’s ‘boring’ reputation. Last year marked the 60th anniversary of the discovery of DNA, so this year’s festival is all about biology, with ‘The Code of Life’ as the running theme of this great, free event.

Dr Christopher See, who is giving a lecture on the ‘Biology of Superheroes’, tells us he hopes that the festival will keep inspiring people, even after they walk away.  Dr See’s engaging talk bridges the gap between the cognitively scientific and the mass popularisation of superheroes. “Superheroes really touch and connect with people, and inspire them,” he tells us. “I’m going to be looking at superheroes from a scientific perspective – we’re going to be thinking about things like people flying; we’ll discuss how possible it is, with a view to expand people’s curiosity and interest.”

Dr See’s lecture is just one of many cracking events that take place during the festival’s two-week roster. During the weekends you can take part in the Family Days (March 8 & 9, 15 & 16) with drop-in learning activities brought to you by science communicators from the University of Edinburgh, plus games, balloon-twisting clowns, face-painting and bubble artists. Follow the journey of your food with the Science Drama Shows (March 9 & 16), which tackle that most burning of issues: why is your poo brown? Tracking the journey of food through your body featuring video footage of people’s actual insides is a squirm inducing delight that the gigglier kids will love. Mr. Shark’s Coral Café (March 8, 12 & 17) is a great show that aims to raise awareness of the impact of shark finning, which has a less than palatable effect on marine life sustainability. The show also addresses issues such as the perils of excessive fishing and the importance of coral reefs.

Directly engaging with the theme of this year’s Science Alive is Whose DNA? (March 10), which is a kind of murder mystery dinner theatre affair, but with the intriguing premise of someone stealing a dinosaur. Thankfully, the thief left behind a strand of hair, which means students can learn all about DNA fingerprinting and get a crash course in forensics. If you’ve got the kind of kid that likes nothing better than to pick his/her scabs, then Blood, Bruise and Ooze (March 14) is the workshop for them – all about blood and how it travels through the human body. The show also explores why scabs and bruises are so important to the healing of your skin.

If that’s not enough, you can get yourself along to the fascinating Genetic Identification of Richard III (March 19), presented by archaeology and genetics expert Dr Turi King. King has previously worked with the Grey Friars Project, which sought to seek out and uncover the remains of the aforementioned monarch. Dr See’s The Biology of Superheroes (March 19) is a unique highlight leading up to proceedings that your kids will no doubt go nuts for.

The last two days of the event see two great interactive lectures, which let the wee ones get hands on. First up is Biological Diversity under Global Environment Change (March 20 & 21), a lecture which deals with issues such as how population numbers impact on things like food and space – as big a scientific hot potato as they come. Last but not least is The Number Mysteries (March 21) dealing with what is often referred to as the ‘queen of science’: mathematics, and how it can be used to help predict the future.

Science Alive 2014 Hong Kong Science Museum, 2 Science Museum Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2732 3232, Mar 8-21. Free.

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