Reading Science Week

Reading Science Week (RSW) is our local celebration of British Science Week which runs every March. It’s the biggest event that we co-ordinate each year and the programme for the week is always packed with science activities and events aimed at all ages. There are opportunities to visit places and do and see things you may not have previously.
All events are FREE and open to all ages, unless otherwise stated.

See below for what we put on for the last Reading Science Week.


Reading Science Week Projects 2018

Citizen science – The Plastic Tide

Be a citizen scientist and help clear our oceans of plastic from your own armchair! Sign up and tag images of the litter on the coast. Your work will help highlight the extent of the litter, and train the identification software to better distinguish litter from other items.

The target during British Science Week is to tag 250,000 images. Let us know how many you have tagged.

Go to Citizen Science to join in!

Run to the deep

Are you a keen runner? Why not sign up to our virtual race Run to the Deep?

The immersive running app chronicles a journey from the sea surface to the Marianas Trench – the deepest known part of the ocean. Explorer Pierre-Yves Cousteau, son of the famous conservationist, Jacques Couteau narrates the virtual race, detailing alien creatures, amazing seascapes, and human exploration stories as you “descend” to the ocean floor.

Visit Run to the Deep for more details

Poster competition

Get creative and enter the British Science Association’s annual poster competition, on the theme of exploration and discovery.

Age categories range from nursery/reception up to Year 9 and compete against other children from around the UK for the chance to win an array of prizes.

Closing date for 2018 entries: Friday 6th April 6pm.

For more info, visit the British Science Week website.


Reading Science Week Events 2018

Saturday 10th March 10am – 4pm – Sci Busking

Location: Broad Street (outside M&S), Reading


Explore all sorts of weird and wonderful science facts up close. Our Sci Busking team will be on hand to talk you through the amazing demonstrations and the science behind what you’ll see! 


Saturday 10th March, 12-3pm, RISC Roof Garden Tours

Location: RISC, London Street, Reading

Find out how a leaking rooftop was transformed into a 200m² edible forest garden, home to more than 185 species.

See how green roofs can mitigate and adapt to global climate change and produce food, scents, dyes, alcohol, medicine.

And why not take the opportunity to visit what lies beneath the roof: stop for a drink and snack at the Global Cafe, or have a browse in the World Shop.

Saturday 10th March, 10am – CSI Reading

Location: Whiteknights campus, Reading University

Become a Crime Scene Investigator for the day and uncover clues to solve a crime in this interactive event.

For children aged 14+ only

Please note you must register your attendance at:


Location: Whiteknights campus, Reading University

What can engineering do to improve sustainability of food production and distribution as the world population increases?

Please note you must register your attendance at:

Tuesday 13th March, 7pm – Reading Geek Night

Location: Upstairs at The Walkabout Bar, Reading

The mind as a controller: Brain – Computer Interface.

Wednesday 14th March, 7.30 pm – Café Scientifique: Dr Peta Foster presents First light, then fusion: a journey into science

Location: Smokin Billy’s, Reading

Ever wondered what light is? How does the sun make light and how does it get to us on earth? Dr Peta Foster found herself on a journey into the world of physics driven by the curiosity these questions evoked.

More details at

Wednesday 14th March, 9.30 pm – Science Quiz

Location: Smokin Billy’s, Reading

Stay around after Café Scientifique talk for a free to enter quick-fire science quiz with the prize of a meal for four at Smokin Billy’s.


Location: Whiteknights campus, Reading University

Dr Mike Garratt, a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Agriculture Policy and Development, will present the latest research on pollinators and what we can do to help protect them.

Please note you must register your attendance at:

Thursday 15th March, 7pm – DIG IT! A MERL LATE

Location: Museum of English Rural Life, 6 Redlands Rd, Reading


Book in advance via Eventbrite (coming soon) or buy on the door (subject to availability)
£4 in advance (£3 students and concessions) / £5 (£3.75) on the door
Please note this event is suitable for aged 18+ only


Wednesday 14th March, 5pm-8pm – Evening conference: Linking Alzheimer’s Disease with Type II Diabetes: challenges and solutions for food industry and healthcare professionals

Location: University of Reading, Whiteknights Campus, Henley Business School, RG6 6UD

For further information and to register your place please visit

Thursday 15th March, 8pm-10pm – Science Quiz

Location: The Great Expectations, 33 London Street, Reading

Had a go at our quick fire quiz on Wednesday and are dying to show more off of your science knowledge. Join us at The Great Expectations as we take over their quiz.

Entry cost £1 per person, max of 8 per team. Great prizes for first, second and third place!

Friday 16th March, 10am – MERL FRIDAY FLEDGLINGS

Location: Museum of English Rural Life, 6 Redlands Rd, Reading


£3 per child (includes a drink and a snack)


Friday 16th March, 8pm – Schrodinger’s Hat: The Improvised science comedy show!

Location: Smokin Billy’s, Reading

See the Free Radicals as improvised comedy meets peer reviewed science. Anything could happen… and most probably will.

£5 in advance, £6 on the door.

Guest speaker for the show is renewable energy expert, Ian Gough.

Head to the ticket page now

Saturday 17th March, 10.30am-4.30pm – Reading’s Beekeeping Day

Location: Caversham Methodist Church, Highmoor Road, RG4 7BG

Come along and learn more about beekeeping in the local area. The day will be filled with talks from prominent beekeepers along with demonstrations and honey tasting.

Entry is free and children are welcome.

For more information visit

Saturday 17th March, 11am – 12pm, Tour of Reading’s Wind Turbine

Location: Wind Turbine visitor centre, Green Park

A great opportunity to learn about the operation of a wind turbine with a presentation on what it does and how it does it. Complete with experiments for children and a question and answer session.

For details on the wind turbine and how to get to Green Park, visit:

Admission is free, but places are limited. Contact Ian Gough to register your attendance at: or visit

AND… calling all schools and community groups: contact Ian and you can arrange your own private visit at a time and date of your choosing.

Saturday 17th March, 6pm-7.30pm – Chemistry, Medicinal Plants, Music & Mystery: Synergism in the Natural World and in Music

Location: South Street Arts Centre, Reading, 21 South Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4QU

Performance piece and lecture for Reading Science Week – brought to you by the Reading Branch of the British Science Association.

In this lecture and concert independent scientists and musicians Dr John Wilkinson (organic chemist) and Kesia Trench (biologist & natural scientist) talk about how synergism (where an outcome is greater than the sum of the parts) in the natural world, in botanical medicines and in music are inspiring scientists to the develop new classes of modern medicines that combine knowledge from traditional medicine systems with 21st century sciences, such as ecology, pharmacology and chemistry.

The talk includes the discoveries in botanical medicines from medieval times to the present day and also touches on their own research work on molecular synergism in plant extracts and for instance, their use in the improvement of memory loss. They also perform a few of their own music compositions – relaxing, ambient, electronica together with gentle saxophone melodies (Dr Wilkinson) and Kesia (fretless bass and programming), accompanied by beautiful relaxing projections of the natural world, molecules and art produced by themselves.

There will also be a Q&A session around the scientific aspects of herbal medicines, music, supplements and traditional knowledge. This lecture is suitable for scientists and non-scientists and children (over 12 years old is recommended).

Early bird: £6.50
Door: £9.50
Box Office on 0118 960 6060
South Street office on 0118 937 3456

Dr John Wilkinson is an independent scientist and leading expert on the scientific development of herbal medicines and botanical foods and a passionate advocate of communicating science to the general public. He has been frequently interviewed by the national and international media on the science and folklore of herbal medicines, food supplements and new nutritional exotic fruits. An organic and natural products chemist, after working with the Nobel Prize winner George Olah in California, USA , Dr. Wilkinson set up the Western World’s first BSc degree in herbal medicine in 1994 in the UK and taught and undertook research as an academic until 2004. He has continued to conduct research with collaborators globally. He also has pioneered new approaches to the regulatory approval of botanical medicines and novel foods in the EU and the USA and in 2017 Dr. John Wilkinson won the prestigious Global TOPRA award for innovation in regulatory approvals.

Kesia Trench is an independent scientist. She was awarded a scholarship to the United World College of the Adriatic in Italy and then undertook a degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Kesia completed a Masters of Science degree at Colorado State University, USA and then worked at the University of Zurich and as an environmental science policy adviser in various areas within Defra, Westminster, London. She currently collaborates with Dr Wilkinson undertaking research and regulatory approvals of botanical medicines and foods.

Sunday 18th March, 10.45am-12.15pm – Sunday Assemble: Climate Change

Location: The Reading Irish Centre, 96-104 Chatham St, Reading, RG1 7HT

The Sunday Assembly is a secular congregation that celebrates life. This week Professor Ed Hawkins of Reading University will be joining to help us visualize, via his beautiful animations of climate data, the changes that are happening to our planet.

Sunday Assembly Reading is free to attend and runs entirely on donations. Expect great music, a great talk, and welcomes all, of all ages and of all backgrounds.

Full details can be found at