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.

We have a diverse and exciting collection of events, hosted by ourselves and also in collaboration with partner societies and venues across Reading and Basingstoke.

All events are FREE and open to all ages, unless otherwise stated.

Below are last years events to give you a flavour of the kind of things you can get involved in!


Reading Science Week 2017

Thursday 16th March is Demo Day

Teachers and technicians are invited to join schools from around the UK and run a demonstration on Demo Day. By pledging your involvement you’ll be added to the British Science Association’s interactive map.

For more info, including how to pledge, and ideas and advice on demonstrations, go to:

Poster competition

Get creative and enter the British Science Association’s annual poster competition, on the theme of change. Prizes include a copy of the new Roald Dahl’s ‘George’s Marvellous Experiments’ book!

Entries are welcome from schools, youth groups and other organisations, and can be as teams or individual. Age categories range from nursery/reception up to Year 9 and compete against other children from around the UK. Closing date for entries is Friday 21st April.

For more info, go to:

Join Penguin watch!

Penguin Watch aims to annotate thousands of images of penguins and their habitats to aid understanding and assist in their conservation. Your notations on the images will also aid in “training” a computer to automatically recognise penguin individuals.

During British Science Week, the target is to annotate a further 10,000 images!

For info on how to get involved, go to:

Saturday 11th March 10am – 4pm – Sci Busking

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

science week 2Science Busking

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 11th March 10am – 4pm – CSI Reading

Location: Wager Building, Whiteknights Campus, University of Reading

Become a Crime Scene Investigator for the day using environmental science methods to see ‘whodunnit’ in this interactive event.

This event is aimed at children aged 13 to 18

Places are limited. Register your attendance at:

Events Team 0118 378 6718

Saturday 11th March, 6pm-9pm – Stargazing

Location: Room L22 and main quad garden, London Road Campus, University of Reading

An evening of astronomy talks and observing the nightsky.

Whatever the weather (we have talks inside for you to stay warm and dry) come and explore the nightsky with Reading Astronomical Society.

Parking access at Crowne Place (2nd left after Royal Berks Hospital)

Monday 13th March, 8pm – Alternative Energy Generation Techniques

Location: RISC, London Street, Reading (in ‘The Stones Room’)

Ian Gough of Reduce Energy Ltd (and the Wind turbine Visitor Centre) will introduce you to alternative, contemporary energy generation technologies and discuss opportunities for your home / business. The talk will look at ways of reducing fuel bills and the best opportunities for you to make money from modern renewable energy technologies.

Register your attendance at

Tuesday 14th March 8pm – How data can transform our daily lives

Location: The Walkabout Bar, Reading

Reading Geek Night hosts two talks:

Innovation in the bus industry

Data Science and the Internet of Things

Tuesday 14th March 7pm – Fairbrother Lecture: When Healthy Foods Go Wrong: Food Poisoning and Fresh Produce

Location: Henley Business School, Whiteknights Campus, University of Reading

In this year’s lecture, Ruth Barnes will discuss some of the current issues and challenges in ensuring safety within thet food chain. In partcular, Ruth will discuss her doctoral research into new methods for controlling food borne organisms. Ruth’s research aims to help reduce the amount of unwanted bacteria on fresh food, cutting the incidence of food poisoning which effects around a million people in the UK every year.

Places are limited. Register your attendance at:

Events Team 0118 378 6718

Wednesday 15th March 2 pm – Impact of Parkinson’s Disease

Location: Madejski Lecture Theatre, Agriculture Building, University of Reading

A range of talks as part of Brain Awareness Week

Contact to book your free place.

Wednesday 15th March, 7:30pm – Cafe Sci presents Exploring the Origins of the Universe with Giant Lasers

Location: Smokin Billy’s, 61 St Mary’s Butts, Reading

jena meineckeWhat is the origin of magnetic fields in our universe?  Dr Jena Meinecke, a Junior Research Fellow of the University of Oxford, and team are using high energy lasers to recreate scaled astrophysical conditions such as tiny supernovas and clusters of galaxies to understand the generation and evolution of magnetic fields in our universe.

Wednesday 15th March 7pm – The Great Debate: Are Autonomous Electric Cars the Future of Personal Transport?

Location: Palmer Building, Whiteknights Campus, University of Reading

Four talks followed by a question and answer session.

Places are limited. Register your attendance at:

Events Team 0118 378 6718

Wednesday 15th March 7:30pm –  Synergism in Botanical Medicines and in Music

Location: South Street Arts Centre, 21 South Street, Reading

johnwilkinson Dr Wilkinson saxophonistPerformance piece and lecture.

Chemistry, Medicinal Plants, Music & Mystery. Scientists and musicians Dr John Wilkinson and Kesia Trench in this lecture and concert will talk about how synergism (where the 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.

Come along for a wonderful night of cutting edge scientific research into molecules found in nature, the scientific development of botanical medicines and  also to be “bathed” in the wonderful sounds of live saxophone based,  deeply relaxing music together with  beautiful backdrop projections.

There will also be a question and answer session around the scientific aspects of herbal medicines, supplements and traditional knowledge.

Full event description here:

Tickets £9.50 (including booking fee) available from South Street Arts Centre booking office:

Wednesday 15th March 9pm – Sci Quiz

Location: Smokin Billy’s, 61 St Mary’s Butts, Reading

A science-themed pub quiz!

Grab a team and lets get quizzing!

£1 entry and prizes for the winners

Thursday 16th March 7pm – 10pm – Milking It: MERL ‘Late’ event

Location: The Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Road, Reading

WhatsOn_Detail_MilkingItJoin us for a lively evening of drinks, food, music, activities and presentations, inspired by the MERL dairying collections.

tickets £4, available here

The evening will include:

live music from Amber & the Professors Quartet, playing a selection of jazz, swing, originals and pop with a vintage twist!
pop-up cocktail bar by Milk (bar in Reading)
‘Cheesy’ silent disco
cheese tasting
milk marbling and ice-cream making science demos

Thursday 16th March, 7pm – Solving partial differential equations using the finite element method

Location: Palmer Building, Uni. of Reading

IET Berkshire present: In this talk Florian Rathgeber will give an overview of his PhD research in computational science at Imperial College London before joining European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, (ECMWF), which involved designing and implementing a two-layer domain-specific framework for the efficient solution of partial differential equations from a high-level problem specification.

see here for event details:

Friday 17th March 8pm – Schrodinger’s Hat: The Improvised science comedy show!



Location: Smokin Billy’s, 61 St Mary’s Butts, Reading

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

£4 in advance, £5 on the door.

Book your tickets here:

Friday 17th March 7pm – Local brewers and a pint of science

scibrewing17Location: The Barn, Viables Craft Centre, Basingstoke

Are you interested in finding out how your favourite beers are created and what gives them their distinctive flavours? Why not come along and find out what goes into the process of making your favourite beers from the master brewers in local breweries. We have master brewers talking about the ingredients and science that is required to provide a quality beer product.

Saturday 18th March, 11am – 12pm, Tour of Reading’s Wind Turbine

Location: Wind Turbine visitor centre, Green Park

readingWindTurbineA 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:

AND… calling all schools and community groups: you can arrange your own private visit at a time and date of your choosing (both in Science Week and beyond). Call Ian Gough on Tel 07792 158530, email at, or visit

Saturday 18th March, 2-3pm, RISC Roof Garden Open Hour

Location: RISC, London Street, Reading

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

Beneath this high level (in both senses) of biodiversity you can also find the Global Cafe and the World Shop, so if you have time, feel free to stop for a drink and a browse.

Sunday 19th March, 7:30pm – Born to Sum: a live show where maths and pop culture collide!

Location: Purple Turtle, 9 Gun Street, Reading

BornToSumWho would have thought that pop culture and mathematics were such good friends? Or that musicians from Dylan to Drake were dropping maths references into their lyrics? Or that Joy Division’s Ian Curtis and French mathematician Evariste Galois had so much in common? Enter Kyle Evans and his trusty guitar, here to take you on a comedic musical tour through some unexpected parallels between maths & pop.

Kyle is a folk singer, comedian & maths teacher who was the 2016 UK winner of Famelab, an international competition to find the most exciting new voices in science communication. He has talked and sung about maths and pop at various festivals including Cheltenham Science Festival, Blissfields and Blue Dot and has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s cult numbers show ‘More or Less.’ He is also very proud of having his song about the Riemann Hypothesis used as a local radio jingle –  undoubtably a world first.

When Kyle isn’t singing he is doing maths and when he isn’t doing maths he is singing. So come prepared for an entertaining night for both maths enthusiasts and novices alike.