IF you have ever wondered what history looks like from inside a giant dinosaur, or whether worms are really secret superheroes, then you will be relieved to know that Oxford has it covered with IF Oxford – which kicks off across the city on Friday.

IF Oxford is an 11-day festival of events for everyone, to encourage us explore science, ideas and creativity.

Shops, theatres, churches, schools, museums and pubs across Oxford are all taking part by hosting events, experiences and exhibitions to motivate us to experiment with hundreds of innovative ideas, and open our minds to things we didn’t even knew existed.

From exploring the city’s geology with a trowel, to uncovering the secrets of the human body through a microscope or peering into the far reaches of the galaxy; there’s something to intrigue and inspire visitor of all ages, whatever their interest.

Through comics and computer games, theatre and dance, curious children can explore the mind and stretch the imagination, hold a rock from the moon, relive history inside a giant dinosaur and discover the role diamonds play in their hand-held technology. 

Children and young families are spoilt for choice with events ranging from rhyme-times to theatre shows, and hand-on activities from building a robot or having a go at cutting edge surgery.

At Oxfordshire County Library on Friday, the first day of the festival, there is a Rhymetime session-the first in a series of Rhyme and Storytimes during the course of the festival that include exploring the animal kingdom, and the chance to discover machines and technology in robot-themed rhyme. 

This weekend there are dozens of activities and events for all the family. At the Westgate Wonderlab, shopping bags give way to science and ideas on Saturday.

Iggy is a dinosaur whose giant belly opens to reveal a team of Victorian dinosaur experts debating the newly-discovered fossil record at a fun-packed banquet.

In this fun family theatre show from Emerald Ant, pink puddings spin, pigeons fly from pies and there’s mayhem and more as the story of evolution unravels. 

You can also explore the universe inside our bodies at a family dance performance at St Michael’s Primary School, Marston in which giant inflatable cells come alive to music, while there’s codebreaking and puzzles inspired by mathematician Ada Lovelace and friends at the History of Science Museum.

The Explorazone takes over Oxford Town Hall on Sunday and visitors are invited to imagine what would life be like in a future city with driverless vehicles and cameras that can spot invisible things thanks to quantum technology.

There’s also the chance to use augmented reality to transform the room into a scale model of the universe with a pair of ‘magic’ glasses. 

In a zone run by gaming students from City of Oxford College visitors can investigate the effects of colour on emotions; ask whether worms are really secret superheroes with the Oxford Brookes Department of Biological and Medical Sciences and take part in a robotics challenge to make a miniature sun with the UK Atomic Energy Authority. 

Children are also taking to the stage during the festival, as the winning entries to this year’s IF Oxford Poetry of Science 2019 are presented by the competition finalists aged from 5-14. 

A further highlight of the afternoon is the chance to brainstorm new species from evil cyborg sea monsters to the wonderful and whimsical with US comedian and cartoonist Mike Capozzola 

A full programme of all the events across the entire 11 day festival is available at www.if-oxford.com


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