Festival 2018

Otley Science Festival 2018 runs from 5th – 10th November

Once again we have a wide range of events: for schools and early years during the week days, a Science Lunch, varied informative and entertaining events every evening from Monday to Saturday and the all day, free Science Fair on Saturday.

The schools programme has its own page here.

Below you can find the main programme events for the week. You can also download our programme leaflet here.


Silly Science Toddler Time, for pre-school children. All sold out now, sorry.

Mon 5 Nov 11.00 – 12.00 noon

Silly Science Toddler Time – Families

Our sell out science special for under-5s returns to the Courthouse. Join us and let your child investigate with their senses and explore the scientific world around them. Laid on with help from the Otley Children’s Centre, this is a very popular ticketed event with limited spaces, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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

Mon 5 Nov 1.00pm – 2.00pm

Silly Science Toddler Time – Groups

A science fair just for under-5s from nurseries, playgroups and childminders only. Laid on with help from the Otley Children’s Centre, this is a very popular ticketed event with limited spaces, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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


Mon 5 Nov 7.30pm

Marty Jopson – Invisible Worlds: a microscopic safari

Marty JopsonTake a journey from everyday life, down into the realm of microscopic wonders with Marty Jopson, the BBC One Show’s resident scientist. The adventure begins with things you can almost see but soon you will find yourself in a world totally invisible to the unaided eye. Marty will take you from the very beginnings of microscopy, through hugely magnified insects, bacteria and plants to the most up to date fluorescent techniques demonstrated live on the stage. A show full of not just stunning images, but interactive demonstrations and samples harvested from the audience. You have been warned!

This show is supported by Zeiss, global leaders in the manufacture of microscopes

Family Show, Age 7 and upwards; Tickets £10/£8


Tue 6 Nov 7.30pm

Festival Science Café

otley-science-cafeThe perennial favourite of the Otley Science Festival returns once more to bring you a veritable cornucopia of science from three leading local academics, tackling virology, pain and exactly how you go about weighing a cloud. With each speaker given a quarter of an hour to talk there will be plenty of time afterwards for you to further grill them with questions and mingle over a drink.

The details for this evening are on our Science Café page

For adults and young people. Bar; Tickets £5, 18s and under free (but ticket required)


Wed 7 Nov 7.30pm

Matthew Tosh – Fireworks: Real Science or Just Bangs?

Sorry – sold out

Matthew Tosh with explosionInternationally-recognised pyrotechnician Matthew Tosh introduces you to his magical and explosive world of pyrotechnic science. He unpicks the building blocks of firework displays to reveal how pyrotechnicians create colours, sound effects and perfectly timed bursts. Matthew will bring his fascination of how things work to the Otley Science Festival as he demonstrates how science, technology, engineering and mathematics ensure that displays are spectacular, accurate and safe for the public. The sights, sounds and smells of fireworks are all brought to life just a few metres from the audience in an experience guaranteed to thrill.

Family Show, Age 7 and upwards; Tickets £10/£8


Thu 8 Nov 7.45pm

The Shape Of Water (2017) – Otley Film Society

The Shape Of Water posterFrom master storyteller Guillermo del Toro comes The Shape of Water, an otherworldly fable set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

Winner of four Oscars including for Best Picture 2017.

Certificate 15. Bar; Tickets £5 / Film Society members free – contact the Courthouse to book


Fri 9 Nov 12.30 to 2pm

Science Lunch –  Serendipity and Suitcases: a physicist’s approach to new materials

Cellulose molecule on a plateEnjoy a delicious buffet lunch then sit back and listen to Dr Peter Hine of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds as he talks about the challenges of making useful new polymer materials that are stiff, strong and light. It took inspiration, perspiration and a little bit of luck to move from a good idea to a product in the market: Curv® suitcases by Samsonite.

Tickets are limited and pre-booking is essential. £7 including buffet lunch

Fri 9 Nov 7.30pm

Alice Roberts – Tamed: three species that changed our world

Sorry – sold out

Alice Roberts with dogJoin Alice Roberts as she delves into archaeology, history and genetics to reveal the amazing stories of three wild species that became our allies.

For hundreds of thousands of years, our ancestors depended on wild plants and animals for survival. They were hunter-gatherers, consummate foraging experts, taking the world as they found it. Then a revolution occurred: our ancestors began to tame other species. The human population boomed and civilisation began.

In her book, Tamed, Alice Roberts uncovers the amazing history of ten familiar species with incredible wild pasts. In this talk, she tells the story of dogs, cattle and horses. She reveals how these animals changed as they became our allies and part of our world – essential to the survival and success of our own species

Age 11 and upwards. Bar; Tickets £20


Sat 10 Nov 10am to 4pm

Otley Science Fair

4 Science Fair Images

Everyone’s favourite! Join local groups, regional museums and national organisations showing off the best of hands-on science in Yorkshire. From physics to biology and engineering to wildlife, come along to the Otley Courthouse for this year’s bustling science fair. There really is something for everyone, with stalls, demonstrations, workshops and experiments to have a go at.

Free event with something for everyone

Sat 10 Nov 7.30pm

Andrew Smyth – Bakineering In Space

Andrew Smyth from Bake OffHow can a retro dessert explain how astronauts safely return to Earth? What does molten sugar have to do with protecting against micro-meteorites? Join Andrew Smyth, aerospace engineer by day and baker by night, on a gastronomic journey into orbit. In this interactive talk, he will explore the surprising connections between everyday bakes and the extraordinary engineering that helps keeps astronauts alive in space. As a finalist on the Great British Bake Off in 2016, Andrew became a fan favourite for his outrageously engineered delicious creations. Now he is on a mission to inspire others about engineering, but with added cake. Expect to have your tastebuds tantalised and your curiosity stirred, whisked and taken out of this world…

Age 7 and upwards. Bar; Tickets £12/£10


Otley Science Festival is supported by a number of sponsors whose help enables us to put on this great event. Our thanks go to all of them.comb-sponsors-logos-2018


Further information and tickets:

The events are held at Otley Courthouse

You can buy tickets:

  • In person from Otley Courthouse box office, 10am – 4pm Mon-Sat
  • On line from www.otleycourthouse.org.uk
  • On the door (as long as the event is not sold out)

Otley Courthouse Arts Centre
Courthouse Street
Otley
West Yorks
LS21 3AN

01943 467466

You can email Otley Science Festival here: info@otleysciencefestival.co.uk
or follow us on Twitter @otleyscience