Insanity: Royal Holloway Science Festival


The Royal Holloway Science Festival, an annual event held across campus, was hosted last weekend on Saturday, 7th March. Insanity went to cover the event, and see what makes this festival one of Royal Holloway’s biggest events on the calendar.

There was a vast array of stands from different departments and societies, namely physics, biology and psychology. As well as this, external companies, museums, charities and science-based organisations had stands displaying their area of specialisation. One such stand was the Chelsea Physic Garden, a very old botanical garden in London. They showed us some interesting items from their stall. These included the plant Velcro is made from, some cork and some bamboo. They also told us that paper was originally made by wasps inside their nest. “We’re trying to show the connection between our lives and the natural word” said a representative of the Physic Garden. “We’ve had quite a lot of families visit us, but it’s really a mixture of people”.

Outside the Windsor Building, visitors got the chance to hold a bird of prey at the end of their arm. This proved very popular with both parents and children alike. There were also a number of different food outlets outside, giving visitors the ability to enjoy hot food outdoors in the beautiful spring sunshine.

Insanity also talked to an ambassador for Bloodhound SSC, who are trying to break the current land speed record – a record they hold – and hit 1000 miles per hour in a car. The current record is about 760 mph, and even transatlantic jet planes currently only fly between 650-750 miles per hour. Their aim was to “interest schoolchildren in science and engineering”, stated ambassador Clive. “We’ve got people building K’nex models, and we’re trying to get them to build something that looks like the real car”. Parents and children seemed to enjoy this activity particularly, as once their models were built, they could launch them across the floor via air cannon.

The Geology Society also had a stall inside the Windsor building, which was running a Fossil Trail. “6 different fossils are located in buildings across campus. When children find them, they talk about them, draw them and write the name of the fossil” said stall attendant Rebecca Thompson. “It’s basically like an Easter Egg hunt”.

The Science Festival was not just confined to the Windsor Building. Many activities and stalls were also located in the Bourne Building, where there are functioning laboratories. A stand that was running here was the Medicine Makers, who had a “steady stream of people” coming to inspect their stall. They showed people how painkillers worked inside our body, at the molecular level. Children could build their own model of a painkiller’s chemical composition, then attach it to the long strand of ‘protein’ with the other children’s creations.

Insanity Radio were at the event all day, conducting interviews, playing music and broadcasting the news for visitors to listen to across campus.

Written by Alice Barnes-Brown

Interviews conducted by Alice Barnes-Brown, Cheylea Hopkinson and Alika Hagon.