TechFest in September returns to add family fun to the British Science Festival

Snot, microbes and robots have long been childhood favourites and this September will see children get the opportunity to learn more about them as part of a programme of family fun science events.

Aberdeen's popular annual science festival TechFest in September has this year teamed up with the British Science Association and the University of Aberdeen to host the largest public science festival in Europe.

The British Science Festival (BSF) - which has been held in a different city almost every year since 1831 - will bring more than 350 of the UK's top scientists, engineers and commentators together to discuss the latest developments in science and technology with the public.

The wider programme at the Festival, which is being jointly supported by BP and Shell U.K. Limited, will showcase some of the most cutting-edge and controversial research in science. However, many of the family events have a more whimsical edge to their attempts to inform and there is something for every age group.

All of the TechFest events are taking place at venues on Aberdeen's beachfront including the Beach Ballroom, Beach Leisure Centre and Satrosphere Science Centre. Here are a few examples:

Taking inspiration from children's natural fascination with the gloopy green substance that lives up their nose, Isabel Crane of the University of Aberdeen will look at the Secret Life of Snot (Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September, 9.30-16.30). Come crawl through our giant nose and get up close to the green stuff itself by making your own snot to take home.

Life with microbes: The good, the bad and the ugly of the bug world (Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September, 9.30-16.30) is a drop-in workshop, hosted by biotechnology company NovaBiotics, where participants learn how and why we share our lives with a bewildering array of microbes. Become a bug detective to discover how to tell the 'good bugs' from the 'bad bugs'.

Bee bots are programmable floor robots designed to introduce children to control technology, directional language and programming. The interactive workshop Bee Bots and Robolab (Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September, 9.30-16.30) will offer the chance to complete a series of challenges and activities, programming the robots to move and respond to light and touch sensors.

At Shell: Energy find out how much energy you can create by dancing, change gas into a liquid and use it to power a car and get involved in energy challenges and competitions and win prizes.

Moving Materials (Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September, 9.30-16.30, Beach Ballroom) will simulate the movement of oil from the North Sea by challenging you to build pumps and pipelines from simple materials. Specialist workshop leaders will be on hand to explain the process at this drop-in workshop hosted by BP.

To take part in events at the Beach Ballroom, Beach Leisure Centre and Satrosphere just turn up on the day where you can buy a wrist band which gives you access to all events happening at the beach on the day you book. Passes can be bought for individuals or groups of four. No advance booking is available for these events.

Bookings for the full Festival programme can be made online at www.britishsciencefestival.org , by telephone on 08456 807207 or alternatively you can drop into the Music Hall on Union Street to book through their Box Office.

As part of the Festival there are also programmes for secondary and primary schools. For details please contact TechFest-SetPoint or the British Science Association.

TechFest SetPoint Managing Director Sarah Chew said: "We are delighted to be working with the British Science Festival this year. With events, workshops and shows across the schools and public programmes, there is sure to be something for everyone.

"One of our aims is to ignite an interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and encourage young people to go on to follow a career which utilises these skills.

"Our programme will demonstrate that these subjects are not only fun but crucial in determining how we live our lives now and in the future."

BP's Corporate Responsibility Manager Lynne Staples-Scott said: "This Festival will really bring science, engineering and technology to life for young people and their families and offers us the opportunity to demonstrate innovation in our own industry in an engaging way. I am really excited about the programme and the family weekend is shaping up to be one of the best we have ever had."

Glen Cayley, Shell's Vice-President-Technical, said: "Aberdeen is a centre of science excellence, so we are really proud to have helped bring this amazing event to the city. Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are vital to so many industries around the world.

"We hope that we can inspire young people to follow STEM subject and careers when they visit Shell's Energy exhibition at Satrosphere and hear about our innovative approach to meeting the world's growing energy needs."