Dubai Science Festival 2016

Moonshot Thinking | November 1-7

The 2016 edition of the Dubai Science Festival takes place from November 1-7 with Dubai Science Park as the festival's strategic partner and in association with GEMS Education's Innovation Research and Development. 


The keynote speaker is Michael Shermer, American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and Fellow of the Linnean Society of London.  The keynote performer is cyborg artist, Moon Ribas.


The chief guest is Dr Abdullah Al Karam, Director General of Dubai's Knowledge and Human Development Authority. 


The theme of this year’s festival is Moonshot Thinking and the festival takes place at Mohammed bin Rashid Academic Centre, Children’s City, and various other schools, universities, and science venues in the city.


All workshops, panels, talks, and shows are free to attend. The aim is to celebrate science through the arts and promote scientific literacy and STEAM education.


Click here for the 2016 schedule of events and to register.


Please see below for more details of the various events this year.  


Click here for the full programme of events and click here to register.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

2016 Science Festival hIGHLIGHTS

See below for highlights of this year's festival


Critical Wonder Conference
Keynote Conference
Theme: Moonshot Thinking
We are a species of moonshot thinking . We have set our minds to magical, seemingly impossible ideas and have brought them to reality through innovation, science, and technology. This sets others on fire.
Join the speakers as they share the best of human progress and all the amazing, ambitious, and audacious things we have accomplished.
Science Debate: De-extinction
Motion: This House believes De-extinction is a good investment of scientific resources
We are now on the threshold of reviving extinct species and re-introducing them to the wild. Can it be done responsibly? Should it be done at all?​ Join us as we discuss the science behind de-extinction and debate the ethical and environmental repercussions of the creation of species by humans.
Debate: Science and a safer world
Motion: This House believes that Science has made the world a safer place
Technology is growing at an exponential rate. Science is having a radical impact on all aspects of human life. How will this impact society and our future. On the one hand, science gives us modern medicine, genetics, robotics, nanotechnology, and on the other hand science also gives us nuclear devices and other weapons of mass destruction. On the whole, has science made the world a safer place?
Panel Discussion: Science & Art
Science and Art: The Future of Education
Technology is growing at an exponential rate. What impact will this have on Education? How will Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality disrupt the way teachers teach? What impact will Big Data, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of things have on students and the teaching and learning process? Join the panel as they discuss how education will have to change in the coming years.
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Wednesday 2 November 2016
Science Talk: Fascinating Fossils
Guest Speaker: Nirmal Rajah (Fossil Hunter & Education Coordinator, Mleiha Archaeological Centre )
Topic: Fascinating Fossils
What are fossils? How do we know how old they are? Where can we find them? How do we extract them? Join Dubai’s pre-eminent fossil hunter, Nirmal Rajah, as he takes us on a scientific journey into the past and delves into the world of dinosaurs, ammonites, and other pre-historic creatures.
Science Talk: Medicine Past & Future
Guest Speaker: Adam Griffin (Occupational Therapist, Science Boffin)
Topic: Live Long and Prosper: Science and medicine past, present and future.
The often brutal, occasionally brilliant relationship between science and medicine
Science Talk: Deadly Dinosaurs
Science Talk: Wonders of Mleiha
Guest Speaker: Ajmal Hasan (Educational Manager, Maleiha Archaeological Centre)
Topic: The Wonders of Maleiha
Take a trip back in time and learn about the evidence of ancient settlers in the UAE during the ­Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, Iron and pre-Islamic periods and the sites where they lived and died.
Cafe Scientifique: Edge of Space
Science Performance Poetry
Science Talk: Forensic Psychology
Guest Speaker: Dr Kirin Hilliar (Forensic Psychologist) Topic: Forensic Psychology
Learn about ‘forensic psychology’: the application of psychological principles to all areas of law and the legal system. Discover what it is, what it is not, how it is used in the courts, jails, support services and police, and how it can help make society safer.
Astronomy: Star Party
Astronomy Stargazing
Join us as we view the rings of Saturn, the red spot of Jupiter, the polar ice caps on Mars, the Orion Nebula, the Andromeda galaxy, and various other astronomical objects like the Orion Constellation, and the brightest stars in the night sky, including, Sirius, Betelgeuse, Procyon, Aldeberan, Vega and many more.
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Thursday 3 November 2016
Panel: Space Exporation
Space Exploration in the 21st Century
Dubai and the UAE are at the forefront of space exploration in the MENA region. We now have private companies involved in sending rockets to space. SpaceX and Virgin Galactic will revolutionise commercia
Science Talk: Mars One Project
Guest Speaker: Mikolaj Zielinski (Mars One Candidate Astronaut) Topic: How to Colonise Mars
Mars One will establish the first human settlement on Mars in 2023. Join us as we discuss this next giant leap for humankind with Dubai resident, Mikolaj Zielinksi, who is in the Mars One shortlist to be one of the first settlers on the Red Planet.
Panel: Science and Innovation
Panel: Science, Wonder, Awe
Science Wonder and Awe: The Technological Singularity
Technology is growing at an exponential rate. Everything around is a product of science and the scientific method. Join the panelists as they discuss what makes science amazing and why it’s important to be scientifically literate in the 21st century age of information.
Cafe Scientifique: Science & Justice
Debate: Status of Pluto
Motion: This house believes that Pluto should be reinstated as a planet
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flyby has rejuvenated Pluto's public image, and researchers are learning new things about the dwarf planet -- such as the fact that it is actually larger than previously thought. Discover the reasons why Pluto should or shouldn’t be re-classified as a planet.
Debate: Nuclear Energy
Motion: This house believes that Nuclear Energy is safe and beneficial for humanity
Later in 2016, a nuclear power reactor will open in the US for the first time in two decades. How safe are nuclear power plants and what role can nuclear energy play in combatting climate change? Find out the facts at this debate.
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Friday 4 November 2016
Astronomy Art Exhibition
Panel: Science, Art, STEM, STEAM
The STEM to STEAM movement has been taking root over the past several years and is surging forward as a positive mode of action to truly meet the needs of a 21st century economy. Join the panel as they discuss the importance of integrating strategies from the Arts into the teaching of STEM.
Keynote: Science of Music
Speaker: Ron Malanga
Debunking myths about: talent, musical thought, rhythmic precision, intonation accuracy, harmonic awareness, personal expression, graceful technique, intelligent listening, playing by ear, improvising, reading, writing, composing, etc.
Science Show: Mad Science
Mad Science: Fire and Ice Show
Prepared to be amazed by the impressive science demonstrations in this spectacular show! From foggy dry ice storms to a Mad Science burp-flavored potion, audiences will be astonished by what they see, hear, and ugh... taste! Ever see scissors sizzle and shiver? Ever taken a bubble shower? Here’s your chance!
Solar Viewing
Sun-gazing using Solar Filters | Lead Astronomer: Steven Bonnar
The solar viewing sessions allow for safe telescopic observation of the sun using special solar filters to view sunspots. (Never look at the sun with the naked eye.)
Chief Guest: Dr Abdullah Al Karam
Speaker: Dr. Abdullah Al Karam, Director General, KHDA | Science in the UAE
Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), is responsible for a wide spectrum of education in Dubai’s private sector, spanning early learning, school, and higher education and training Institutes.
Science Talk: Elon Musk's Vision
Speaker: Lara Matossian, SciFest Dubai Founder and CEO outlines the vision Elon Musk has for our species and what makes a unique role model for entrepreneurs around the world.
Science, Scepticism, Enlightenment
Keynote speaker: Rohan Roberts, Director of SciFest Dubai, outlines the importance of scientific literacy and how the values of the Enlightenment are important more than ever today.
Cyborg Artist: Moon Ribas
PechaKucha: SciFest 20x20
PechaKucha is the Japanese word for chit-chat. PechaKucha, now in over 800 cities, was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as a quick and simple way to network, and showcase ideas to the public. 20 seconds x 20 images PechaKucha is a short, concise presentation on auto-forward. Listen to six inspiring UAE-based science professors talk about their area of science research and explain why it’s important for us to know about it.
Cafe Scientifique: Cyborgs and A.I.
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Saturday 5 November 2016
Planetarium Show
Oasis In Space
One of Spitz’s most popular and widely distributed full dome shows , Oasis In Space transports the audience on a starting and beautiful voyage through our universe , galaxy and solar system in search of liquid water – a key ingredient for life on Earth .
Workshop: DNA Extraction
Workshop 3C: DNA Extraction
Ages: 12-14 years old - Max: 30
DNA is the life molecule in all living species on earth. Learn how to extract DNA from living cells.
Science Storytelling
Science Stories come in many forms, and there are many different mediums one can use, each with its own merits. The Science Stories in this series have been selected for a younger audience and capture the magic and wonder of science in general and astronomy and space in particular.
Science Show: Cool Science
Cool Science Dragons’s Breath
Exciting experiments with Lycopodium powder which ignites when dispersed into a flame and it’s only flammable when dispersed in air.
Science Magic Show
Magic Show
Fusing the showmanship and mystery of street magic with the raw power of science, Magician Taher Kathawala exposes the marvelous mechanics behind these seemingly miraculous feats. But here's the difference between science magicians and regular magicians. Taher will reveal the tricks behind his magic and explain them through science!
Film: Treasures of Ariyalur
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Sunday 6 November 2016
Science Storytelling
Planetarium Show
Science Show: Mad Science
Workshop: Cosmic Citizenship
Title: Cosmic Citizenship
Today’s youth are already Global Citizens. This workshop explores how students of today
Workshop: Intelligent Optimism
Title: Intelligent Optimism
Explore the evidence for how Science and Technology are helping to make the world better than it has ever been.
Workshop: The HUMAN Project
Title: The HUMAN Project
What is the future of the Human species? Where are we headed? How will exponentially growing technologies and the approaching Singularity impact us all?
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Workshop: Jason Silva | Deep Think
Workshop: Astrophotography
Workshop: Science of Music
Workshop: Let's Discover Science
Workshop 1B: Let’s Discover Light it up!
Ages: 5-8 years old - Max: 26
What colour is light? Why do we see rainbows? Explore sunlight to discover how many colours are hidden in it and why it looks white, find out how to use solar energy and investigate damages that sunlight can cause while learning about UV rays.
Wokshop: Science Made Fun
Workshop 1C: Science Made Fun Chemistry in Action
Ages: 5-10 years old - Max: 30
Roll up your sleeve and put on some goggles, we're about to explore the world of chemical reactions! Build a bubble city, learn about gases & density, make a snowflake, and get icky sticky with our non-newtonian fluid Oobleck!
Workshop: Rock it Science
Workshop 1A : Rock it Science A Journey into Outer Space.
Age: 8-12 years old Max.. 30
Learn about space through fun experiments and story-telling

Workshop 2A: Rock it Science Making Alien Slime
Age: 8-10 years old Max. 30
Children make their own gooey alien slime by carefully measuring and mixing ingredients.
Curiosity Lab: Science & Wonder
Workshop 3A: Curiosity Lab Under Pressure
Age Group: Ages 6 to 12 Max: 30 participants
An overview of the science behind getting rockets off the Earth and into Space. We start with Sir Isaac Newton and his seemingly simple laws of motion and end with some of the tricks and techniques more recent scientists have come up with to make our rockets soar.
Workshops: School-based
Science Talk: Michael Shermer
Speaker: Michael Shermer | Science, Skepticism, Critical Thinking
Michael Shermer is an American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and Editor in Chief of its magazine Skeptic,. Shermer is also the producer and co-host of the 13-hour Fox Family television series Exploring the Unknown. He is a columnist for Scientific American magazine and is a scientific advisor to the American Council on Science and Health
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Monday 7 November 2016
Science Excursion: Mleiha
Mleiha Archaeological Centre
Venture deep into the deserts of Sharjah and uncover the secrets of the region’s ancient Bedouin culture through intriguing information, exhilarating recreational activities and breath-taking natural landscapes. Discover something unique every time with our ongoing excavation programme, which ensures there’s always a new treasure waiting to be unearthed.
Teacher Training: STEAM Education
The STEM to STEAM movement has been taking root over the past several years and is surging forward as a positive mode of action to truly meet the needs of a 21st century economy. STEM alone misses several key components that many employers, educators, and parents have voiced as critical for our children to thrive in the present and rapidly approaching future. This session focusses on the importance of integrating strategies from the Arts into the teaching of STEM.
Teacher Training: NeuroEducation
Neuroeducation is the conflation of Psychology, Pedagogy and Neuroscience. We have learnt more about the human brain in the last 5 years than we have in all the previous centuries combined. Brain mapping and brain scanning technologies are growing at an exponential rate. Join us as we discuss its impact on learning and education.
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Online Submissions
Sci-Fi Writing Competition
Astronomy Art
Registration closed.
SciFest Science Projects
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Click here or on the image below for the Full Programme of Events and for registration


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Science Talk: Elon Musk's Vision

Speaker: Lara Matossian, SciFest Dubai Founder and CEO outlines the vision Elon Musk has for our species and what makes a unique role model for entrepreneurs around the world.