Ever wished you knew more about science but don't know where to start? Well start here, at the Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition.
“I come here every year, and every year, my jaw drops”. That's the lead quote on the festival's website. It's unattributed, but it might easily have been from us — we swing by every year and always come home with a head full of wonders.
This free show brings together some of the most interesting science from around the country — everything from cancer research to high-energy physics. The exhibition is always well geared up for those without any scientific background, and gives the public a chance to chat directly to the people shaping our future.
Better yet, the whole shebang takes place in the Royal Society's plush headquarters overlooking The Mall. It's a beautiful building, lined with marbles and mirrors, and a joy to explore. Look out for the double-helix door handles on the way in.
The festival is always good at getting visitors involved. A section on space junk, for example, includes a game of debris-removal air hockey, with prizes for the best scores. Another corner gives people the chance to play with a surgical robot, literally at the cutting-edge. Throw in a heap of free events, and there's plenty here to fill an evening or two. Elsewhere you can watch a galaxy unfold in virtual reality, or touch a meteorite thought to come from Mars.
Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition is free and takes place 4-10 July. Monday and Tuesday offer evening opening, while other days close at 5pm or 6pm. No need to book — just turn up. 6-9 Carlton House Terrace SW1Y 5AG.