Leeds Festival of Science 2011

This year's Leeds Festival of Science, which runs until 8 April 2011, features more than 90 interactive experiments, demonstrations and debates throughout the city, bringing science subjects to life.

Almost 4,000 school children from across Yorkshire have been offered places at the event.  Events range from the wacky to the wonderful and cover a host of subjects within the key fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Children will have the chance to take a 3D tour of the hottest place on earth, pan for real gold dust and experience magnets 1000-times stronger than the ones on their fridge. There will also be a fun-filled demonstration led by BBC One Show scientist Dr Marty Jopson.

Dr Ruth Holland, one of the festival organisers, said: "The festival has been running successfully at the University for many years but this year it is expanding so that everyone can get involved."

The festival will not just focus on the unusual and unknown. It will also demonstrate the science behind everyday activities such as running, giving participants the chance to use biomechanical equipment to investigate how different shoes affect running performance.

Dr Daniella Strauss, a Lecturer in sports biomechanics who will run the 'Sports shoes uncovered' session, said: "Athletes and sports companies are continuously striving to enhance running performance, the GCSE students will get the chance to see first-hand the science behind this multi-million pound industry."

Elsewhere, attendees will learn more about 'Science at the ends of the Earth' in a session that will look at what it's really like to explore the North and South poles. "Exploring Antarctica and the Arctic can help us better understand the changing world we live in," explains polar scientist, Amber Leeson. "It's great to be able to give students insight into life as a scientist at the ends of the earth, including hands on experience of its challenges and rewards."

Dr Gemma Traviss-Turner, from the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences in the School of Medicine, and other members of  the British Psychological Society North East, will be hosting an event - Fun in Psychology - on 14-15 September. A series of exciting psychology experiments suitable for the whole family, participants will be able to test their reaction times, learn to maximise their memories using the Nintendo Wii and Xbox,  dance for happiness and perhaps win a prize by collecting information about the basic psychological principles underpinning the tasks.

The festival is primarily aimed at school children from the region and looks to engage them in key STEM subjects, but some events are open to members of the public, including a performance by the maths buskers and an urban safari at the Discovery Centre.

See the full programme of activities, including self-led tours exploring the city centre.

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