06 Jul 2007

OU contributes to first MK Science Festival

July 6-15

July 6-15

The Open University is among the sponsors of the first Milton Keynes Science Festival, which begins today and runs until Sunday July 15.

University staff will be staging displays, giving lectures and arranging tours at events across Milton Keynes over the ten days of the festival, which takes an entertaining and informative look at science, engineering and technology.

Amongst the activities the OU is providing are:-
• Observing Space at The Open University, Saturday July 7 and 14; 6pm to 8pm with observing until midnight at The Open University Observatory, Walton Hall. Join OU experts to learn about the night sky and finding your way around it, then enjoy a hands-on observation session using telescopes and cameras. Remember to bring warm clothing!
• Getting Our Young People into Science, Engineering and Technology, 4pm to 7pm, Berrill Lecture Theatre, The Open University, Walton Hall. Sparc in partnership with The Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce’s Business and Technology Network (Biztech) are hosting a panel discussion event featuring Dr Phyllis Starkey MP, Dr Paul Lefere, of the Institute of Education Technology at The Open University, Mike Reilly, CEO of Sonatest and Chair of Young Enterprise for MK, Andy Squires, Deputy Head of Denbigh School and Peter Woodland, CEO of Alps Electronics UK Ltd. The debate will be chaired by Fredi Nonyelu, Managing Director of Briteyellow.

From Sunday July 8, online activities will also be available that can be viewed or downloaded done at any time, including Online Solar Observing ( that lets you find out all about the sun – how it works, how far away it is, and what would happen if the sun “went out”!

There is also a downloadable Redway Nature Trail map ( with a description of all the plants and animals you are likely to see on your way around Milton Keynes.

The University’s activities for the festival are the latest examples of a commitment to raise public interest in science. Many of the events focus on areas of research for which The Open University is nationally and internationally renowned, such as space science and robotics.

Dr Tony Hirst, Lecturer in Telematics at The Open University said: “The Milton Keynes Science Festival is a wonderful opportunity to engage with the public who will have the chance to see some really interesting science in action for themselves.

Reaching Out with Robots (Saturday July 7, 9am to 6pm, Midsummer Place) is a great event with hands-on robot activities, robot treasure hunts, robot dance competitions, and a robot fashion show!

It is important to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers and a 10-year-old seeing a cool robot dancing for the first time on Saturday could be designing and building their own in 20 years time!”

Editor’s Notes
To register for any events or for more information visit the Science Festival Website.

As part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations of Milton Keynes, the city will host the first ever Milton Keynes Science Festival between the 6th and the 15th July 2007.

The week will be packed with a series of exciting, entertaining and informative Science, Engineering and Technology events and activities held in various locations around the city and involving local schools, colleges, universities, societies and businesses.

Milton Keynes Science Festival aims to organize an annual programme of events, seminars, workshops and public demonstrations, which:-
Stimulate & facilitate young people’s engagement with Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) in Milton Keynes
• Raise the aspiration of young people in Milton Keynes to learn about SET
• Enthuse young people in Milton Keynes about potential careers in SET
• Raise the profile of innovative SET employers in Milton Keynes
• Engage the residents of Milton Keynes in the contribution of science to the local economy
• Showcase the scientific expertise that exists in Milton Keynes as a resource for business development
• Promote Milton Keynes nationally as a potential area for Inward Investment for ‘mobile’ science projects
Additional benefits include opportunities to:
• Strengthen the infrastructure for business and education links (by developing a format to enable businesses to participate more actively within local schools)
• Encourage stronger University/School links

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