The programme for the ever popular NI Science Festival has been launched, with MATRIX one of the main sponsors.

The festival is now in its fourth year, and this year’s programme will have 180 events across 11 days in February. These events all help to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) to young people and make them aware of the wide variety of careers that STEM subjects can lead to.

MATRIX is supporting the following events:

How Science Got Women Wrong

Friday 16 February, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

You may think science is perfectly objective, but in the study of people, it’s all too easy for bias and prejudice to creep in. For centuries, many scientists have told us that women are biologically inferior to men, that they are intellectually less capable, sexually more chaste, and naturally designed to be homemakers and caregivers. Science journalist Angela Saini, author of the critically-acclaimed book, Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story, has investigated the science behind the stereotypes and asks whether we need a radical overhaul of the way we think about women.

Smart Cities Space Hackathon

Friday 23rd Feb: 18:00 – 20:00
Saturday 24th Feb: 10:00 – 18:00
Sunday 25th Feb: 10:00 – 15:00

Code4good NI are organising a space hackathon based on the framework from Smart Cities Belfast which aims to harness new technologies and data science to support local economic growth and improve outcomes for citizens. Code4good would like to use this opportunity to not only promote the value of satellite data being used in government but also its benefits to the wider public and industry. The hackathon will encourage teams to use open data to deliver prototypes for public good that will meet the challenges set out in the smart cities framework. In partnership with Code for Good.

How Are Drones Used Within The Film Industry

Friday 16 February, 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Ka-Boom will take you on a journey of how they use drones within the TV and Film Industry. Having done extensive work for studios such as Sony, Disney, HBO, BBC, ITV and Channel 4 this event will give you an introduction into how and why these devices are used to capture aerial footage, including both their advantages and drawbacks.

SHeroes Assemble!

Saturday 24 February, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

A loud, messy and fun Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths  science fair for girls aged 12 and over. With interactive stalls, full of awesome activities, everyone is welcome to drop by for a chat and to find out why working in science and technology could be right for you.

Book tickets

Sixteen South Animation Masterclass

Tuesday 20 February, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Join some of the very talented creators and digital animators from Sixteen South for a talk and introductory workshop and hear about the process of creating quality television, with a heart, for children across the globe. The team includes James Law, Art Director of the Pinkalicious production; Ash O’Brien, Animator for the Claude production and Daniel Lazenby, Senior Designer for the Claude production.

Girl STEM Toy Hackathon

Saturday 24 February, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Girls as young as seven are being turned off maths, which explains why only 10% of jobs in STEM are held by women. What toy can we invent to help lay a foundation in STEAM for developing girls and boys? How can we attract more intuitive learners to the revelations of data oriented subjects and increase the number of women working in STEAM through play? Hosted by Little Citizens Boutique, the Girl STEM Toy Hackathon will mix up teams of designers, educators, entrepreneurs, students, scientists, engineers, parents, artists and punters to come up with a toy prototype that helps prepare children for our changing world. Teams will compete for a cash prize to create the best toy with the potential to bring it to market.
No experience necessary, just an open mind and a willingness to participate.

The Great QR Hunt

Thursday 15 – Sunday 25 February

This year at the NI Science Festival comes the first ever Great QR Hunt! Open to all, the aim of the game is simple. Hidden across several Festival venues are a number of QR codes. When a code is scanned, using a phone or tablet, players will receive a hint and a clue

Encouraging computational thinking: following instructions (algorithms), breaking tasks down (decomposition), deciphering what matters (abstraction) and using logic, once all QR codes are collected, the final riddle will revealed! For more information contact
Winner will be announced on Friday 23 February.

Lily’s Driftwood Bay

Saturday 24 February, 2.00pm & 3.45pm

The Belfast-based studio Sixteen South is best known for Lily’s Driftwood Bay, a preschool mixed-media animated show about Lily, a 5 year old who lives in a beach hut on the shore with her Dad. Every day, the sea washes up a curious new treasure, which sparks Lily’s imagination about what might be happening across the way on Driftwood Bay.
As part of this bespoke event, children will have an opportunity to watch a double length episode, “Salty Chicken”, which features Dolly Parton. This will be followed by Lily’s Driftwood workshop where little ones will have the opportunity to make crafts from sea treasures and meet the wonderful people from Ulster Wildlife as they share some of their seashore, before a personal meet and greet with the Lily costume character.