Tornadoes and Jurassic sea creatures at Science Festival
Young and old, families, couples and singles can take part in 40 events from workshops and interactive stands, to shows and quizzes.
During the first two days of the festival, primary and secondary classes that have registered can take part in three, 30-minute workshops, presented by the research institutes and science centres in Luxembourg. There’ll also be online workshops for schools, and an online zoom show for anyone to attend, on the topic of optical illusions.
The festival is open to everyone at the weekend 13-14 November. The activities, workshops and shows break down into core areas of science and technology, and range from geological mining on another planet, to levitation, alchemy and climate change.
We’ve some of them by theme for you:
Palaeontology, geology and metals
See Jurassic animals brought to life from their bones, using animation and digital visualisation to create sea creatures, then have a go at building your own dinosaur. Read geological maps and discover how to identify rocks from the earth’s layers, or discover the property of metals including density and thermal conductivity.
The human body
Learn about the process of digestion when you follow a piece of pizza from the mouth to the toilet. Extract DNA from strawberries with volunteers from the University of Luxembourg, or build a DNA bracelet from molecules that you can decode. You can also perform an electro cardiogram on yourself and discover how your heart works, or how nutrition affects your health and the role of metabolism.
Animal life and nature
Whales can dive for three hours on one inhalation of breath. Odyssea marine biologists will be revealing the secret lives of whales, or you can discover the nightlife of bats, and the creatures of the caves in Luxembourg, or those that live in the hedgerows. What tricks do animals use to ward off dangerous predators, and if a tree could tell us about its life, we would know how it grows, defends itself and how it conducts fluids. You can also try to drink like a plant.
Specific activities around climate change including solar energy, and a look at where the energy we use comes from, plus experiments with wind turbines. The pros and cons of electric versus combustion engines, and whether electric cars are really cleaner.
Visitors are also invited to understand the circular economy via the butterfly effect where one small change can lead to a much bigger one.
Chemistry & experiments
The Alchemical circus is a clown show of smoky magic, chemistry and juggling. There’ll also be a show with some unusual scientific experiments including a floating cake, where you can find out what happens to soap in the microwave, and what can make a glass burst.
Use marble tracks to make a marble rollercoaster, and discover how a sphere works – its speed and inertia.
Space and the atmosphere
Try out some zero gravity experiments, or find out how a rainbow is formed and why the sunset is red, by discovering the colours of our atmosphere.
Create a fog, water, or fire tornado for superhero science, or board a spaceship bound for Neptune and unravel a cryptographic code of instructions before you set off.
You can watch a soap spaceship take off, join a space mining crew bound for the planet Orbitia, or try out a hands-on activity to find out what happens when a new asteroid appears that might collide with earth or impact our weather systems.
In the lab
There’s a chance to take an interactive tour to create a vaccine, whilst Dupont have a stand showing how their everyday products were repurposed for use during the pandemic, plus a splash booth for some fun.
The Science Center will be showcasing illusions to make you levitate, or you can learn to speak the language of computers and create your own key ring with your name in binary code. You can also learn about the history of money, and try some maths games.
Making science accessible and fun
Since 2003 the Science Festival, held every other year, has been organised by the Museum of Natural History in partnership with Luxembourg’s National foundation for Research to help spread interest and understanding about the many facets of science to younger generations. The first festival was held in 1995 when Luxembourg City was Europe’s culture capital (and in 2022, this honour will be bestowed upon Esch-sur-Alzette).
Tickets must be reserved
Under normal circumstances the Science Festival welcomes some 12,000 people, but this year, due to restrictions, visitors are asked to register for a time slot over the weekend, which will also be a Covid Check event. You can register for the time slots of 9.00 to 13.30 or 14.30 to 19.00 for 13-14 November. If you miss the festival don’t worry, there are plenty of places to Explore Science year round.
Tests are not available on site so adults and children more than 12 years and 2 months who are not fully vaccinated, must bring a negative PCR or certified antigen test - the ones taken at school are certified for up to 48 hours. Children of less than 12 years and 2 months do not need a certificate or test.
Buses 14, 15 and 23 will bring you close to the festival location at Neumunster Abbey and the Museum of Natural History in the Grund quarter of the city, or it’s a 15 minute walk from the Central Railway Station (Gare).