This weekend sees the big family Explorazone Digital ‘day-out’ event kick off thanks to IF Oxford, the city’s science and ideas festival.

Virtual visitors of all ages and interests are invited to Explorazone Digital on Saturday (October 17), where you can wonder virtually in the spacious science centre, stop at the booths that catch your eye, enjoy science and ideas, quizzes and questions, games and topics from diamonds to volcanos.

Using your own device as a portal, you can stroll through an airy, sunny atrium where people wander mask-free, unconcerned about catching an infection.

Last year’s Explorazone has gone virtual

At the ‘Blue Sky Science’ booth you can hunt for microplastics at home with researcher Rowena Fletcher-Wood or discover the secrets of a bright orange stream running through a forest as Niall Marsay of the Environmental Chemistry Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry investigates new ways to keep our water clean. You can even try some hosted chemistry experiments at home.

Elsewhere in the hall at the Information Engines booth, take a moment to play Maxwell’s Game, a new Atari-style ‘ping-pong’ in which the red and blue balls represent hot and cold particles, and see where you rank on the leader board.

Oxford University Department of Materials, who have developed a new way of measuring time, are behind the game. Join the team and chat about their work.

As you browse the various activity booths you can fill up a ‘virtual swag bag’ with goodies and try-at-home experiments. Meanwhile, order a dental kit to help Engineer a Great Smile or get a big box of experiments posted to you direct from the Curiosity Box.

Last year’s event was no less ambitious

Join the hourly presentations of everything from poetry to a family dance routine inspired by the movement of water molecules.

Head into the auditorium where the Explorazone Digital’s finale ‘Inside the COVID Brain’ (7pm) takes visitors on a live tour with the help of a powerful brain scanner to understand the effects that coronavirus can have on the human body.

Hear the experience of a COVID survivor and ask questions about the latest research. 

Although the Explorazone Digital bursts into life on 17 October, it’s a digital ‘plus’ arrangement where, as well as browsing the ‘Video Vault’ and chatting in real time throughout the day, you can order kits that will arrive by post, download activities or follow coding instructions to create things in the real world.

And although the events in the virtual auditorium are programmed for Saturday, the booths and auditorium presentations can still be visited on demand at any time until 16 November.

Book your tickets at https://if-oxford.com/event/explorazone-digital/

IF Oxford runs until October 31. For the full programme go to www.if‑oxford.com

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