ATOM Festival of Science and Technology
1 April 2019
The ATOM Festival of Science and Technology 2019 was an inspirational success, showcasing the rich variety of STEM related organisations and opportunities around Abingdon and the Science Vale.
From discussion panels on diversity in STEM, to the ATOM STEM zone at the Larkmead School Careers' Fair and even a Science Stand-Up comedy night, there was something for everyone, scientists or not.
Abingdon School and the Abingdon Science Partnership provide a tremendous amount of support to the Festival, with two members of staff on the Festival committee and the Amey Theatre and Yang Science Centre used for some of the Festival's key events. This year, these included the headline talk by mathematician and BBC science personality Hannah Fry and the ever popular Family Science Fair and Family Science Show on the final Sunday.
One of the key features of this year's Festival however, has been the growing involvement of all schools across the town, with events at Our Lady's, St Helen and St Katharine, Larkmead and Fitzharrys. Eight local primary schools were also represented in the Primary Science Fair in the Amey Theatre, supported by Oxford University's Physics Department.
One school, Borlase's Grammar School, even travelled from Marlow in Buckinghamshire to take part in the ATOM Reaction Engines Apollo 50 Water Rocket Challenge at Larkmead School.
Many of these events could not take place without a lot of voluntary help and a significant amount of this came from Abingdon School staff and pupils. Our Science Ambassadors provided their usual help at the Family Science Fair, but one of this year's most innovative additions to Festival activities was, undoubtedly, the fantastic team of Science Buskers from Abingdon School, St Helen's and Larkmead.
Dressed in their distinctive purple ATOM shirts, they simply popped up and engaged the public with intriguing, science demonstrations whether they liked it or not!
ATOM is rapidly becoming the go-to science festival for scientists to promote and explain their work to the public, now up in the top three alongside Cheltenham and Edinburgh according to some of our feedback.
This is an amazing achievement, but shouldn't really be a surprise to any of us that live and work here right at the heart of science!