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Explore Kew’s first Science Festival

Kew will host its first Science Festival from 5–7 August. Come and meet our scientists as they bring their science out of the labs and into the Gardens.

Celebrating ground-breaking scientific discoveries and the work of Kew scientists, this family friendly festival will showcase the importance of plant and fungal research and the need for conservation.

Visitors can get hands-on and interactive with Kew’s science in a way that will spark a lifelong interest in plants and fungi. Through onsite workshops and activities led by Kew scientists, researchers and students, the aim is to raise awareness of a wide range of important scientific issues.

Professor Kathy Willis, Director of Science says "Kew's first Science Festival will engage and fascinate in equal measure. It's all about getting science into the Gardens and showcasing the exciting work carried out by our scientists in a fun environment."

Explore and discover

The festival will feature over 15 interactive areas, giving all ages the opportunity to explore Kew’s scientific work in a hands-on way. From using a DNA sequencer that can fit in a hand – which reads DNA letters directly from the living organism to the computer screen, to cloning a cabbage and pollinating orchids with sewing pins, the exhibits will offer lots of fun ways to engage with staff.

Additionally, visitors can become citizen scientists and have their name included in a scientific paper by helping researchers measure and assess new plant species.

Plants that bite back

The Kew Science Festival is also hosting a special display and talks about carnivorous plants, from the Carnivorous Plants Society (4–8 August). Visitors will be able to meet the special plants that bite back and the experts who love them.

Printing and pressing

Younger budding scientists will be invited to try to make their own mushroom spore print, take part in the plant pressing ‘Olympics’ or go on a treasure hunt for the nearest relative to a cabbage...can you guess what it is?

The Kew Herbarium collection grows by around 35,000 new specimens a year. The 2016 Science Festival includes a unique demonstration of the mounting process used for botanical specimens allowing botany enthusiasts to explore the process and intricacy of this kind of work. 

Dr Paul Wilkin, Senior Scientist at Kew says, “I am very excited to be taking part in Kew’s first Science Festival with so many members of our young science team. I think the programme has great variety with something to entice the curious minds of every visitor. It’s a wonderful opportunity to make botanical science accessible to those who have supported Kew and have a desire to know what goes on behind the scenes here.”