Leave boring behind – the NZ International Science Festival 2014

By Grant Jacobs 06/06/2014

Tickets for a huge program of events are available from next week (June 9th); get them while they’re going – some events have limited numbers.

Dr-Bunhead-explosion-300pxNo, that’s not photo-shopped. To the left is Dr. Bunhead igniting an explosion from his pate. I value my red hair, and will emphatically not be joining him as a sidekick for that performance.

In real life Dr. Bunhead is Tom Pringle whose 20 years of science showmanship include the BBC series, Brainiac.

He’s joined by a truly enormous cast of people and events over nine days. There’s events for kids, all ages and adults.

Most events are on several days. Events are at many different venues – check where your event is being held!

Browse the program; save your favourites by clicking on the heart icon.

Here’s a small sample of what is on offer –

For kids:

  • Wriggle and swirm with worms
  • The Super Inventions Discovery Trail
  • The power of poo
  • Once upon a Sunday: Super Science
  • The anatomy of a crime scene
  • What things are in the Universe

For all ages:

  • LEGO![1] (Including a LEGO Mindstorm Robotics Display.)
  • Astronomy at the Observatory
  • The Different BANGS chemistry show
  • Retro Lab – gadgets from yesteryear
  • Think Skink at Orokanui
  • Sci Tropical Pursuits, in Otago Museum’s tropical forest

For adults:

  • The science of whisky or beer (two events)
  • What’s going on in his head – special guest James Piercy who suffered a traumatic brain injury talks about his experiences and offers insights into head injury
  • Women in science breakfast and two minute talks by young women in science (two events)
  • The ‘book of life’ and the statue book (genetics and law)

There are several Café Sci events and the University of Otago has a programme of events for different ages; many are demonstrations or interactive events (including dissection) for those who like their science hands-on.

There are competitions, too.

People anywhere in the world can join the SharkLab14 competition, in four age groups – up to year 6 of education, years 7-8, years 9-13 and those who’ve left school. Each age group stands to win a GoPro outdoor camera kit for their shark research.

Musically inclined? The best science rapper competition will be judged by Science Idol winner, James Mustapic.

There’s a photo competition, too.

This is a tiny selection of what’s on: check the program for more. (Dunedin residents should find a copy of the SciFest magasine in this week’s The Star.)


1. I know several scientists who are LEGO fans, including at least one who writes at sciblogs.

Other articles on Code for life:

Finding platypus venom

Coiling bacterial DNA

Monkey business, or is my uncle also my Dad?

Gene editing and GMOs in NZ, part one

The inheritance of face recognition (should you blame your parents if you can’t recognise faces?)

Aww, crap.

Frederick Sanger 1918-2013 Chemist who pioneered protein and DNA sequencing

0 Responses to “Leave boring behind – the NZ International Science Festival 2014”

  • Wow, that sounds so exciting! I’m beginning to think that Wellington is sadly underrepresented for this type of thing. I guess there must be some great people in Dunedin pushing it. I hope you get heaps of people going!

  • The NZ International Science Festival 2014 starts in two days, on July 5th.

    You have booked your tickets, right?

    Worth remembering, too, that some of the free events have limited numbers.