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Discovery Zone

  • Saturday 2 June 2018, 11.00AM to 4.00pm
  • Free admission
    No booking required
  • Parliament Street (map)
  • Wheelchair accessible

Event details

Find out about some of the exciting research being carried out in York. With lots of hands-on, interactive activities, this fun event – held right in the heart of the city - is suitable for all the family.

Why not come along and talk face-to-face with researchers about how their cutting-edge work will improve the world we live in?

York Memory Games

Have a go at new smartphone memory games and contribute to scientific research. Join researchers from the University of York’s Department of Psychology and find out about the York Memory Games (YORMEGA) project which aims to understand what limits our memory and how we might do better at preserving it. By playing the games, you’ll be able to help with this research.

To play at home, go to the YORMEGA site.

Eat Bugs

Would you eat bugs for a sustainable future? Would you drink a cricket smoothie? Would you eat a mealworm burger? Feeding the planet sustainably is one of the biggest challenges facing society today. Insects are high in protein, easily and sustainably produced, and very tasty. So come along, meet scientists from Eat Bugs Outreach and see what all the buzz is about!

Skeleton Stories: Bodies of evidence from prehistory to present

From tracing our earliest human ancestors, to the use of forensic anthropology at crime scenes, anthropologists and archaeologists are continually unravelling the mysteries of the human skeleton and its stories. Come along to the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO)’s hand-on session to explore how your diet, lifestyle and age, where you are from, and even your illnesses can be identified using new and existing scientific techniques.

Have a go at building a skeleton and discover how 3D printing and imaging is transforming science - you’ll even be able to create a 3D scan of yourself.

Analysing the Past: The chemistry of a bog body

Advances in science and technology help us every day, but how can we use them to understand the past? Join researchers from the University of York’s Department of Chemistry to find out what we can learn from analysing a 1,000 year old body preserved in a bog - from its age, to its last meal.


How to Make Prehistoric Cheese

Early European farmers had a ready supply of milk, but ancient DNA tells us that they could not digest it. For them drinking milk led to unpleasant symptoms and digestive problems. To overcome the side-effects of drinking milk, early farmers processed it into cheese. Come along and experiment with making cheese, using the prehistoric technologies they used and find out why the ‘Palaeodiet’ is a modern myth.

This event by researchers from the University of York’s Department of Archaeology is part of the AHRC- funded Counter Culture project. Find at more at or watch a video of ‘Neolithic’ cheese for Stonehenge here.

Life on the Edge of Survival: Meet the archaea superbugs

Find out about archaea - microbes living in volcanos and hot springs in extreme conditions where no other terrestrial organism would dare to live. Join researchers from the University of York’s Department of Biology and discover how these very ancient microbes can give us insights into how life started on planet Earth.


Bacteria: The good, the bad and the ugly

Bacteria have a bad reputation as disease causing microbes. However, most bacteria are beneficial to the organism they inhabit or good for the molecules that they produce. Join researchers from the University of York’s Department of Biology to learn about good and bad bacteria, and to see the microbes growing on your hands!


Test your knowledge of bio-based products

How can we move from our ‘throwaway society’ to a world without food waste? EU-funded project, Agrimax is developing and demonstrating the production of bio-based products from crop and food-processing waste. Test your knowledge of bio-based products - from functional foods and active packaging to biodegradable materials, fertilizers and biofuels - by playing our game; match the correct feedstock to the bio-based product! Find out more:


Light Painting

Sometimes paints are just too messy! Join the Institute of Physics and ‘paint’ with light instead. Great fun and educational for kids of all ages.

Monkey Hand Illusion

Join researchers from the University of York’s Psychology Department to experience the monkey hand illusion. This uses science to make you feel as if you have a monkey’s hand. While looking at a fake monkey hand in front of you, both the monkey hand and your (hidden) real hand are brushed at the same time. Because what you see and feel are the same (a hand being brushed) you experience this as a single event - the fake hand feels like your own! Help researchers understand if children and adults experience the illusion in the same way and further our understanding of how the brain adapts to bodily changes over a lifetime.

Edible Experiments

Find out why foods taste the way they do - and why two foods interact with surprising results. Watch scientists carry out a variety of experiments around sweets and chocolates and learn more about chemistry in a fun and informative way.

The Future with Fusion

Find out about the power source of the Sun – fusion - and how we are trying to harness this here on Earth. Discover the challenges of creating a fusion reactor, take part in hands-on activities with Lego models and plasma balls, and meet scientists from the University of York working on fusion at the moment. Could fusion be the clean, long-term energy solution we need?

To the Stars...

Join the University of York's Astrocampus for hands-on activities themed around astronomy and space science.  Handle a genuine meteorite from space and have a go at making your own; find out who the coolest person in the room is - literally, with our infrared camera; or make a UV bead bracelet to find out when you're at risk of sunburn.

Choose your Future!

Sociologists from the University of York present an interactive game of futures – Presenting Choices. Take a look at historical scenarios that depend on an aspect of science or technology then make a decision about what you would have done. Would you have televised the coronation? Paved your front garden? War-proofed a farm? Take part in the game, gain different kinds of expert advice and see the consequences of your decisions. Ultimately the history of the 20th century is in your hands!


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