Remember, remember the Fifth of November – that’s when Otley Science Festival 2018 gets started!

If you want to find out how fireworks sparkle, what dogs get out of being pets and what baking has to do with astronauts, then come along to Otley Science Festival from 5–10 November and find out. There’s something for everyone in this annual science celebration at Otley Courthouse and tickets are already selling fast.

Otley’s own Marty Jopson, fresh from BBC TV’s The One Show, will be going on a live microscopic safari – with audience participation – in his family show on Monday 5 November at 7.30. And on Wednesday 7 November you can find out how science makes fireworks fantastic, with internationally recognized pyrotechnician Matthew Tosh.

A quieter time can be had on Friday 9 November with Alice Roberts, who will be talking about how dogs, cattle and horses became part of the human family – and what that meant for us as well as for them. And on Saturday evening, you can come along and find out what happens when engineering and baking collide with Andrew Smyth. Andrew wowed us all by bringing engineering into The Great British Bake-Off and now he’s bringing Bakineering to Otley.

There’s also science for the under-fives at Silly Science on 5 November, for everyone at the Festival Science Café on 6 November and for hungry people interested in new materials and how they become suitcases at the Science Lunch on 9 November. And, last but by no means least, on Saturday 10 November the Courthouse is taken over by the free family Science Fair, with science surprises and technology twists for everyone, supplied by the region’s universities and organisations.

“Although some of this year’s Festival is going to be incredibly tiny,” says Marty, “it’s all going to be amazing – and some of it will go with a bang. Everyone is welcome to come along and discover something new.”

All events take place at Otley Courthouse. Tickets available in person from Otley Courthouse in advance or on the door, by phone from the Courthouse Box Office – 01943 467466, or online from the Courthouse website at

More information at


September Science Café

…brings engineering, psychology and smart cities to Otley Courthouse

The next Science Café comes to Otley Courthouse on Thursday 20 September with a mix of intrepid engineering, smart-but-friendly cities and the psychology of behaviour in prison.

The Café takes place at 7.30 and all are welcome – especially people who want to ask questions of our three speakers. Smart cities are the coming thing, with big data benefits for traffic management for example. But how do people fit in? Alison Heppenstall of the University of Leeds will be talking about humanising smart cities for a better future. Danielle McDermott of Leeds Trinity University will consider the behaviour of people in prison and out and how psychologists decide which prisoners to release. And, in a change to the advertised programme, BBC The One Show’s Marty Jopson will be talking about the trials and tribulations of filming at Emley Moor mast, with an overview of the role and origin of the mast itself.

Everyone aged from 8 to 80 – or thereabouts – is welcome to this relaxed and social science catch-up. Bring your inquiring mind and expect to be informed and entertained!

Tickets available in person from Otley Courthouse in advance or on the door, by phone from the Courthouse Box Office – 01943 467466, or online from the Courthouse website at

More information at

23.10.2017 PRESS RELEASE

Otley Science Festival

The tenth annual Otley Science Festival runs from 6–11 November and tickets are selling fast. If you want to come and see Otley’s own Marty Jopson live – away from his usual habitat of BBC TV’s The One Show, you need to buy your tickets soon. Marty will be talking about “Dangerous Equations” in his popular family show on Friday 10 November. It is suitable for 11-year-olds upwards and features Mr Spikey and the Pendulum of Doom, not to mention the possibility of burns and broken bones – but only for the presenter, not the audience. Probably!

Alongside Marty’s show, you can also spend an Evening with a Space Scientist and find out about Monica Grady’s fascination with meteorites, comets and thing that may well go bump in the night. She will be speaking and answering your questions at the Courthouse on the evening of Saturday 11 November. And if the future of the human race is your thing, come along on Tuesday 7 November to hear Robert Winston’s take on “Modifying Humans – Where does genetics stop?” Rashik Parmar, IBM’s Technical Executive for Europe will be looking into the future of technology at the ever popular Science Lunch on Friday 10 November. You get a delicious buffet lunch and a talk to ponder – but you do need to buy your tickets in advance. We even have a cracking science –themed film at the Film Club on Thursday 9 November: Hidden Figures. Come along to watch this inspiring Hollywood take on the women who helped NASA reach the Moon – then join us in a local pub afterwards to talk about the film and the book from which it came.

There’s a great family show about digestion from BBC Gastronaut Stefan Gates on Monday 6 November at 7.30: The Utterly Revolting Science Show, which lives up to its name with gut-wrenching – literally – videos and a fart machine, for age seven and upwards, and their parents with strong stomachs. And the Festival Science Café on Wednesday 8 November has a community theme, looking at different ways science is becoming part of our everyday lives.

“My hope for this 10th anniversary Otley Science Festival is that we can reach out to an even bigger slice of the Otley population and attract people into our wonderful town from further and further afield,” says Marty. “We have some big names on the programme, more schools activities and if all goes well it will set the standard for the next 10 years.”

Tickets available Tickets available in person from Otley Courthouse in advance or on the door, by phone from the Courthouse Box Office- 01943 467466, or online from the Courthouse website at

More information at


15.10.2017 PRESS RELEASE

Otley Molecule Trail starts 23 October

Do you expect to find caffeine when you stop for a coffee, linalool lurking by the soap or theobromine when you pop in for a chocolate bar? These are the chemical compounds responsible for a lot of the tastes, smells and colours of everyday life; for the next few weeks you will be able to find models of the molecules responsible in 15 shops and businesses all over Otley. These chemical clues form the Otley Molecule Trail, a scientific treasure hunt with prizes organised as part of the Tenth Otley Science Festival. We are asking you to search the shops of Otley for models of these and other organic molecules – and you could win a Molymod molecular modeling kit of your very own!

Otley Molecule Trail runs from 23 October to 9 November and you can pick up a trail leaflet from Otley Courthouse, Otley Library and the CORE. All you need to do is write down where you find each of the 15 molecules shown in the leaflet, hand in your answers at the Courthouse by 6pm on Thursday 9 November, then see if we draw your name at 11am at the Science Fair at Otley Courthouse on Saturday 11 November.

The Molecule Trail is part of the celebrations for the Tenth Annual Otley Science Fair; as well as the usual free family Science Fair on Saturday 11 November, you can come along to talks by Stefan Gates, Robert Winston, Monica Grady and Otley’s very own Marty Jopson (from BBV TV’s The One Show), quiz researchers in the Science Café, have cutting edge technology with your Science Lunch of Friday 10 November or watch ‘Hidden Figures” at the Film Club – then discuss the film and the book it is based on afterwards at the pub.

The molecules in the Trail are all important ingredients of everyday life, the sort of thing you pick up with the shopping: vitamin C, carbohydrates, or scents, tastes and colours. The Molymod models are not very big – you could easily hold them in your hands – but they are more than a hundred million times bigger than the actual molecules. But with the colour-coded models, you can see how these everyday compounds are made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and a few other elements. “When you track down the Molymod models,” says organiser Hazel Costello of Otley Courthouse, “you might find that they are in shops selling products using the actual molecules themselves – but I’m not giving out any more clues! You’ll have to check out the amazing range of Otley shops for yourself.”

Three winning entries will be drawn during the free Otley Science Fair at the Courthouse on Saturday 11 November. Winners will receive Spiring Enterprises Molymod kits kindly donated by Philip Spiring. The kits – used to make the molecules for the Molecule Trail – have everything you need to make model molecules from aspirin to theobromine and more. Check out the website

Find out more at Otley Courthouse and at



10 years and counting for Otley Science Festival!

This November sees the tenth explosive your of scientifically-minded events at Otley Courthouse. “It all started with a cup of coffee in the Courthouse,” recalled Marty Jopson from BBC TV’s The One Show. “Our first festival was just a couple of evening events and a small fair, but it proved so popular that there was no way we were not going to keep it going. Since then it has grown from strength to strength and is now a firmly established festival with a national reputation.”

A national reputation means that some great speakers will now be coming to Otley for the Festival week 6–11 November. At this year’s Festival, you can listen to Robert Winston on modifying humans and how genetics could shape our future society on Tuesday 7 November, and hear Monica Grady on Saturday 11 November talk about her career in space science, including the Rosetta mission that landed on a comet. If technology is your thing, come along to the Science Lunch on Friday 10 November, where Rashik Parmar MBE from IBM will be looking forward through five life-changing technologies.

Younger science buffs might enjoy Gastronaut Stefan Gates’ Utterly Revolting Science Show, a high tech and mind-blowing – but solidly scientific – journey through your digestive system, on Monday 6 November. And this year Marty Jopson will be tangling with some serious sums in his family show Dangerous Equations, on Friday 10 November. And there’s fun for the very young at Silly Science Toddler Time, free-form discussion with three science speakers at the Science Café and a Film Society showing of Hidden Figures, the film that brought NASA’s gifted women in the spotlight, more than half a century after they were a vital part of the US space programme.

“The best thing about the festival is watching from behind the scenes as people have fun and are inspired by all the fabulous contributors we attract,” says Marty. “My hope for this 10th anniversary Otley Science Festival is that we can reach out to an even bigger slice of the Otley population and attract people into our wonderful town from further and further afield. We have some big names on the programme, more schools activities and if all goes well it will set the standard for the next 10 years.”

All these events and more – including the free all-day Science Fair on Saturday 11 November – take place at Otley Courthouse. Details can be found on the Science Festival website and you can get tickets directly from the Courthouse, in person, by telephone (01943 467466) or through the website

Hope to see you there!



Science café considers mobiles, air quality and genetics

Come to Otley Courthouse for a science-packed evening at 7.30 on Thursday 14 September, when three speakers from the region’s universities will discuss their work. Topics at this Café include whether your mobile phone will soon be obsolete, what we could do about air pollution and where we, as humans, came from. Please come along and welcome Dr Des McLernon from the University of Leeds, Prof. Mike Pilling from the University of Leeds and Prof. Martin Richards fomr the University of Huddersfield. They will be there to talk but especially to discuss ideas with the audience and answer those all-important questions.

At Otley Science Café, the audience are a major part of the evening. Our three speakers each talk for fifteen minutes or so, then we hand the floor over to you the audience for questions. It’s an evening for everybody from nine to ninety, or thereabouts. It’s an entertaining and sociable way to find out about frontline research in the region’s universities.

All are welcome; tickets cost £5 but under-18s go free. Tickets available in person from Otley Courthouse in advance or on the door, by phone from the Courthouse Box Office – 01943 467466, or online from the Courthouse website at More information at