THIS year’s Otley Science Festival will be taking place from November 9 to14 and will be like no other that’s ever been done before!

As with many large scale events that have fallen foul of the coronavirus pandemic, the members of the Otley Science Festival committee were adamant that this would not happen, and have been working hard to deliver as full a ‘Covid friendly’ Science Festival 2020 as they can.

Some events will be on-line only, with others planned to be blended with a limited live audience, socially distanced, in Otley Courthouse but also being transmitted on-line. Events include:

Monday 9th, 7.30pm: Zap! (online and live). Watch as local TV Scientist Marty takes a sparky journey through the story of electricity. From the Ancient Greeks, through Faraday’s genius, this show aims to put the awesome back into electricity.

Tuesday 10th, 7.30pm Science Café (online and live). Now in its 13th season, the Otley Science Café promises to bring the usual eclectic mixture of scientific topics delivered in bite sized chunks. Speakers include: Siân Estdale BSc, MPhil, PhD Head of Scientific Affairs, CTTS, Covance Laboratories Limited talking about ‘A brief history of biopharmaceutical – scientific drivers for adoption of large molecule therapeutics’, and Professor Lorna Dougan, Professor of Physics at the University of Leeds with her presentation on the Bragg Centre Creative Labs, and their Innovation through collaboration.

Wednesday 11th, 7pm Science Festival online virtual quiz hosted by Otley Courthouse. The quiz will be loosely science-themed but being a clever scientist won’t help you.

Thursday 12th, 7.30pm: The World according to Physics with Professor Jim Al-Kalili (on-line only). Join Prof. Al-Khalili as he tells about his latest book, The World According to Physics that shines a light on the most profound insights revealed by modern physics.

Friday 13 November, 12.30pm Science Lunch: Colin Speakman on John Phillips (online and live). Enjoy a lunchtime talk given by local author, Colin Speakman on one of Yorkshire’s forgotten geniuses. John Phillips was not only a ground-breaking geologist but also a cartographer, astronomer, meteorologist, artist and railway guide writer.

Friday 13th, 7.30pm: Why becoming a more sustainable society matters: An evening with Environmental Scientist Prof Tim Benton (online & live). An opportunity to listen to and then get into discussion with one of the UK’s top environmental scientist on the most important issues of today. Professor Tim Benton, University of Leeds will talk about how climate change impacts are societies with more people movement, more anti-immigration, more nationalism – more societal risks.

Saturday 14th: Science Film Day (live only)

10am and 2pm, family film – Wall-E, Cert U, 103mins; 7.30pm – Radioactive, Cert 12A, 111mins.

There will be no charge for on-line participation in any events, but it will be necessary to book to join. There will be a charge for attending in person in the Courthouse.

As usual, there will also be shows for schools. These will run on Tuesday and Wednesday of the week and schools will be able to join the live shows on-line. Full details have been emailed to all schools in the local area and can also be found at

All events take place at Otley Courthouse (Courthouse Street, Otley, LS21 3AN) and tickets for online and live events must all be booked online and in advance via