NI Science Festival: 10 Things Not to Miss

With over 100 brain-tingling events, we handpick the highlights of a packed programme running from February 18 to 28

The second year of the NI Science Festival, will be kicking off in various venues across the province this week. When speaking to event organisers, they were just as surprised as anyone when over 50,000 attended the first event last year and, judging by tickets sales so far, 2016 is looking to be just as popular, if not more so.

With a history of greats, from Bell to Burnell, it is events like these that prove science is still well and truly alive in Northern Ireland. What makes the NI Science Festival special however, is the clever mix of culture, science, arts and innovative ideas - appealing to even the least scientific among us (guilty as charged).

In fact, there's so much packed into the 10-day programme that you might find it hard to know where to begin. Luckily we've saved you the trouble and handpicked ten (not yet sold out) highlights to help you experience every sense of the celebration.

Tales of the Unexpected

Saturday, February 27: 8 - 10pm at the Black Box, Belfast

Age: Adults

This event invites audiences to kick back and enjoy an evening of sciency shorts, animations and radio pieces, hosted by Jonathan McCrea from Newstalk’s Futureproof and RTE’s The Science Squad. Why not give your brain a break from that Netflix series and feed it something more stimulating?

See the event's Facebook page to stay up to date with what's being shown.

LaTe LaB 2

Friday, February 26: 7 - 11pm at the Ulster Museum

Age: Adults

To celebrate the final few days of the festival, the Ulster Museum will be opening its doors for an evening of scientific experiments, live music, beers and cocktails … Who knows what type of reactions could result from that combination?

Gulp: The Science of Food

Sunday, February 28: 8 - 10pm at the Crescent Arts Centre

Age: Adults

For anyone brave enough, a nine-course foodie 'experience' is on offer at the Crescent Arts Centre during the festival. Up on stage, guests will have the opportunity to sample centipedes, pigs brains and dry ice-cream. Yes, 'Gulp' could not be more appropriate.

Space Camp

Saturday, February 27: 10am - 4pm at the Tower Museum, Derry~Londonderry

Age: Kids and parents

Hands up; who wants to be an astronaut when they grow up? At this event your little space cadets can relive the moment Commander Tim Peak left the earth's stratosphere last year on a special mission to the International Space Station, and take part in a host of other cosmic activities.

Level Up Human

Thursday, February 25: 8 - 10pm at the Black Box, Belfast

Age: 18+

Have you ever really thought about evolution? Recorded live as part of a new podcast series, Simon Watt from Ready, Steady, Science! alongside comedians Matthew Collins and Lorcan McGrane let imaginations loose as they explore the idea of evolution and what the alternatives to being human might be.

Ada, Ada, Ada

Saturday, February 20: 8 - 10pm at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

Age: 14+

This unique theatre production, being hosted at the Crescent Arts Centre, will be focused on Ada Lovelace, a woman who invented the first complex computer programme in 1843. A one-woman show that's set to be inspirational and memorable.


100 Years of Einstein

Saturday, February 20: 11am - 1.30pm at the Hilton Hotel, Belfast

Age: All

A science festival wouldn’t be a science festival without Einstein, right? This series of lectures looks at the life of the pioneering physicist through the theories that forever changed how we perceive the universe. Plus, lunch is provided. Sold.

Artist-in-Residence: Gemma Anderson

In what seems quite an 'out there' move, organisers of the festival have invited an artist-in-residence to feature as part of the festival. Belfast-born artist, Gemma Anderson, will not only exhibit some of her work at Queen’s University but also give a talk, which is sure to bring more clarity to the idea of art and science co-existing. For further details see the link above.

Bright Club Belfast

Thursday, February 18: 8 - 10pm at the Black Box, Belfast

Age: 18+

Never mind art and science, how about science and comedy? Yes, the boundaries are being shifted again by festival organisers with an evening that pits some of the top minds of Northern Ireland's universities against those delivering lessons of their own on the local stand-up circuit.

Dubbed 'a thinking person’s comedy night', there's a good chance you'll learn as much as you'll laugh with this returning event at the Black Box café.

The Hungry Games

Age: All

Another one for food enthusiasts, The Hungry Games will run on the final few days of the festival at St.George’s Market; providing live cookery demonstrations, fun nutritional facts and, most excitingly, tastings from the project Love Food Hate Waste.

The NI Science Festival features over 100 events across Northern Ireland between February 18 and 28. For full programme details and booking information visit For more creative events taking place throughout March visit

Images courtesy of NI Science Festival.