Science Fair 2015

22 Apr

Our online Expression of Interest form for the 2015 Science Fair is now closed. Any enquiries regarding the fair can be sent to .

New Year, New Programme

14 Feb

As we begin planning for the 2015 Science Festival in November, our programme for the year begins with a Science Café on 5th March.

Click here for details.

Otley Science Festival 2014: Monday 10 Nov – Sat 15 Nov

1 Sep

We have a fabulous week lined up for you. See below for the full line-up,  printed programmes will be available from the Courthouse in September:

Tickets are available now – have you got yours yet?

Click here for details of Schools Events

You can find a pdf copy of the programme here

Silly Science Toddler Time – Families

Mon 10 Nov 9.30 – 10.30 amSilly-1

Come along with your child and join in the fun science activities aimed specifically at the under 5s. From the earliest age children are natural scientists, using their senses to investigate and explore the world around them.

This is a ticketed event with limited spaces, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

£3 per child, accompanying adults free. Children 5 and under

Buy tickets >

Silly Science Toddler Time – Groups

Mon 10 Nov 10.45 – 11.45 amSilly-1

A science session for pre-booked groups of under 5s from nurseries, play groups and child minders only.

This is a ticketed event with limited spaces, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

£3 per child, accompanying adults free. Children 5 and under.

Record Breaking Science with Marty Jopson

Mon 10 Nov 7.30pmRecords_1

From the biggest bubbles you have every seen, to giant Slinkys and paper planes that fly over 70 metres, join The One Show’s Dr Marty Jopson as he delves into the science behind his record attempts. Find out just what it takes to be a Guinness World Record holder and how the formula for folding paper in half means one of Marty’s records will never be beaten.

Records may be set as the secrets of Marty’s success are revealed. Breaking world records has never been so scientific!

“I couldn’t believe my eyes!” Cheltenham Science Festival

 £9/£7 Families and children aged 7 upwards.

Buy tickets >

Viewpoints on Sustainable Energy – Science Festival Lunch

Tues 11 Nov 12.30pm – 2.00pmLunch_5


Enjoy a delicious buffet lunch then sit back and listen to Professor Andy Heyes, Chair in Energy Technology and Environment at the University of Leeds as he outlines the energy challenges facing society in the 21st century.

Andy will then give his own optimistic perspective on how we are going to solve them and prosper in the process. Tickets limited, pre-booking essential.

£6 including buffet lunch.

Buy tickets >

Science Festival Logo 2011

Festival Science Café

Tue 11 Nov 7.30pm

Now in its seventh season, the 28th Otley Science Café promises to bring the usual eclectic mixture of scientific topics delivered in bite sized chunks for your entertainment. We will have our traditional trio of speakers, each given a quarter of an hour and plenty of time for you to ask questions and quiz them afterwards.

Join us for a relaxed and fun evening of science suitable for all ages and all interests.

£4/£3. Adults and young people. Bar

Buy tickets >

In Mendel’s Garden:

A Guided Reading with
Professor Gregory Radick

Wed 12, Thur 13, Fri 14 Nov, 6.30pm each eveningMendel_1

In 1865, the monk Gregor Mendel lectured on some interesting experiments he had done with peas. Meeting over three consecutive nights, this group is a chance for anyone curious about Mendel or the science of genetics which he inspired to read and discuss his classic paper Experiments in Plant Hybridisation for themselves.

You can find a copy of the paper on the web here

One ticket covers attendance to all three,  hour long sessions. Tickets are extremely limited, so please book early.

£10 . Adults and young people.

Buy tickets >

The Amazing World of Owls

Wed 12 Nov 7.30pmOwl_3

Join Ryan Stocks, Head Falconer at Owl Adventures as he presents a fascinating, interactive seminar, featuring live birds of prey, showcasing the world’s most magnificent examples of natural beauty. It’s your chance to meet some owls, and find out about their powerful senses and skills for surviving the harsh realities of the wild.

£6/£4 Age 10 and upwards. Bar.

Buy tickets >


Thur 13 Nov 7.45pm

Gravity_2A special Science Festival screening of Gravity by Otley Film Society. An epic science fiction movie starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in a heart-pounding thriller. Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first Shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney). But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The Shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone – tethered to nothing but each other and spiralling out into the blackness.

£4 / Film Society members free. Certificate 12A. Bar

Limited Tickets available in advance from The Courthouse

Robin Ince is (In and) Out of his Mind

Fri 14 Nov 7.30pmInce_1

Robin Ince – Sony Gold Award winning comedian and science enthusiast (Radio 4’s Infinite Monkey Cage with Prof Brian Cox) – presents another in his line of unhinged stand up comic lectures.

Robin delves into his mind and possibly your mind too.

From Freud and Jung to Laing and Milgram, from rats after rewards to insanity cured by ink spots, Robin looks at the last 100 years of psychiatry, psychology and skewiff brain dabblings.

Just how hard is it being a self conscious being on planet earth?

Come along, he may cure you.

“Thoughtful, provocative and very funny.” The Times

£12/£10 Adults and young people. Bar.

Buy tickets >



Otley Science Fair

Sat 15 Nov 10am – 4pmScience-Fair

Get down to this year’s Science Fair for stalls, demonstrations and great experiments to try. The Courthouse will be alive with local and regional groups showing off the best science Yorkshire has to offer. Have a look at a heart, investigate radio waves, grab some geology and play with some physics. Cakes, teas, coffees and lunch available in the café all day.

Free Event. Something for everyone.

Supported by:

Otley Town Partnership – Otley Town Council – Needham Geoscience -Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society Institute of Physics – Leeds Bradford Materials Engineering Society

Councillors C.Campbell, R.Downes + S.Lay though MICE Money.

Boomerangs, Bouncing Balls and Other Spinning Things

Sat 15 Nov 7.30pmhugh_hunt86

Join Dr. Hugh Hunt, the Cambridge University Engineer who brought you Dambusters, Colditz and the Great Escape on Channel 4 as he points out that spinning things are strange. Why does a spinning top stand up? How does a falling cat always manage to land on its feet? What do ice-skaters do to spin so fast?

The common thread is gyroscopes, but don’t worry, there won’t be any maths. There are even a few boomerangs – we’re hoping he doesn’t break any windows!

£9/£7 Adults and young people. Bar.

Buy tickets >

Further information and tickets:

Tickets from

Box office 01943 467216 10am-4pm Mon-Sat inclusive

Where Concessionary Ticket prices are shown these apply to:

  • under 16s
  • those in receipt of benefits
  • those in full time education
  • Senior Citizens who are 60+ and retired

Buy in person from Otley Courthouse 10am-4pm Mon-Sat or on the door.

All events at Otley Courthouse

(unless otherwise specified):

Otley Courthouse Arts Centre,

Courthouse Street,


West Yorks

LS21 3AN

Tel: 01943 467466

a Tweet from Marty

2 Apr

March Science Café Round-up

25 Mar
Another spectacular Science Café at the Courthouse, with speakers covering a gamut of subjects from medical imaging to mutating earthworms, via the ever-so-slightly topical subject of fracking.
Dr Liz Parvin of the Open University started us off gently by pointing out that most of us had never come across the incredibly useful method of medical imaging using radioactively labelled biological substances. Thankfully we now know that if we are offered a PET scan, it has nothing to do with veterinary problems. 
Our second speaker, Prof Andrew Heyes from the University of Leeds gave, what was in my opinion, the most coherent and accessible explanation of the issues surrounding fracking I have seen to date. Much to Andrew’s relief nobody tried to super-glue themselves to him either. 
Finally, the evening was brought to a close with a continuation of the geological theme by Prof Mark Hodson from the University of York and his peculiar, pallid earthworms. He presented a glorious example of natural selection in action to produce earthworms tolerant to what was previously assumed to be toxic levels of heavy metals in mine spoil heaps. 
Our thanks to all our speakers and to those of you who could attend. Next up is our Tour de France special with a cycling theme on Thursday 26th June 2014 at 7.30pm. Look forward to seeing you there.
Marty Jopson

Next Science Café

27 Feb

See the “What’s On” page for details of the next Science Café on Thursday 20th March at 7:30pm at Otley Courthouse

Festival Round-Up and Draw Results

11 Nov

Thanks to everyone who came to any of our 2013 Science Festival events, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.  Thanks also to all our great speakers / acts.

At the Science Fair on Saturday we held a ‘Lucky Element Draw.’ Participants were invited to choose their favourite element from the Period Table for a chance to win one of three prizes.  In fact before he drew the winning numbers on Saturday night Mike Dilger added an extra prize, a copy of his book  ‘My Garden and Other Animals’ so there were four lucky winners as follows:

  1. Americium (95) Periodic Table Jigsaw – Darren Tinsley
  2. Samarium (62) Science Timeline book – Euan
  3. Ytterbium (70) Everything about Science book – Felix
  4. Radon (86) My Garden and Other Animals – Katy Rigby

We’ve left phone message for each of the winners, if you have any questions please email us on


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