Get hands-on to learn more at month-long Singapore Science Festival

Dr Michelle Dickinson conducting a science experiment as part of her NanoGirl Science Show.
Mr Joe Davis and Dr Michelle Dickinson from NanoGirl Science Show demonstrating a science experiment.
Mr Joe Davis and Dr Michelle Dickinson from NanoGirl Science Show demonstrating a science experiment. PHOTO: SINGAPORE SCIENCE FESTIVAL

SINGAPORE - Does steam have what it takes to crush a tin can? The public will be able to try this out for themselves with Dr Michelle Dickinson, in her NanoGirl Science Show during the Singapore Science Festival 2017.

First organised in 2001, the month-long festival returns from Thursday (July 20) to Aug 19 at Science Centre Singapore, with the theme "Future Health".

At a media preview on Wednesday (Jul 19), Associate Professor Lim Tit Meng, chief executive of Science Centre Singapore, said: "Science and technology have played an important role in the advancement of healthcare, and will have the potential to improve our everyday life."

After all, he said, "if we have interesting programmes and initiatives, but our people are not healthy, we cannot execute them", adding that healthcare is not just about medicine and cures, but also has to do with lifestyle and an understanding of the environment.

A highlight at the festival will be the NanoGirl Science show. Its debut in Asia will see Dr Dickinson showcasing experiments on stage aimed at making science concepts come alive for the audience.

Dr Dickinson, who is a senior lecturer in engineering at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, said that her show aims to get audience members "engaged" and be literate in science for the future.

The best way to learn about science is to be hands-on, she said.

"You will remember concepts from the time you blew something up, and not from reading it in the textbook."

Members of the public can also expect fun and wacky projects to be showcased at the first-ever Singapore Maker Extravaganza, which is part of the festival. It aims to highlight the growing maker movement in Singapore.

One of the participating teams will be students from the Association of People with Special Needs (APSN), who will display potted plants housed in used plastic bottles.

Student Chong Jun Fong, 15, from APSN said: "Our teachers are constantly promoting recycling, so we are using used drinking bottles instead of buying new pots for our plants."

To coincide with Racial Harmony Day, which falls on July 21, the students will also include in their potted plant miniature models of places of worship made from a 3D printer.

The event will culminate with the one-north festival at Biopolis on Aug 18 and 19, where the public can take part in talks, workshops, and guided tours to an Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) laboratory.