What is British Science Week? A celebration of science for all ages.

Despite its name, British Science Week (BSW) is a 10 day festival celebrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But how did it start?

This festival is organised by the British Science Association (BSA), founded in 1831, and grew from annual meetings they held across the UK to bring scientists together to discuss their ground-breaking work and, more importantly, present it to the public.

Major scientific advances were announced at these meetings:

  • Joule’s experiments on the mechanical equivalent of heat in the 1840s;
  • Bessemer’s steel process (1856);
  • The discovery of the first of the inert gases, Argon, by Rayleigh and Ramsay (1894);
  • The first public demonstration of wireless transmission over a few hundred yards by Sir Oliver Lodge (1894);
  • J.J. Thomson’s discovery of the electron (1899).

It was at these meetings that the term ‘scientist’ was coined, and the ‘dinosaur’ named.

From the 1980s the meeting grew into a festival that lasted a number of days, and started to include evening ‘science meets arts/comedy/theatre’ events and activities for schools, families, and community audiences. The first official British Science Week launched in 1994 and has since inspired the growth of countless other science festivals – from large and established ones (Cheltenham, Edinburgh and Manchester) to smaller and newer events (Aberdeen, Brighton and Winchester).

OKIDO and the BSA believe that science is for all ages, and each year we partner with them to help create their Early Years Activity Pack as part of their resources. It is never too early to introduce children to new learning opportunities, and science isn’t all about lab equipment and complex equations; it can be found in all sorts of activities.



Other Resources

Want some extra activities to boost your British Science Week? Why not try: