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The William Harvey Research Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival

A family-friendly science festival for older secondary school children.

Barts and Queen Mary Virtual Festival 15th-16th June 2021

This year’s festival features short live virtual talks as well as fun website activities.

Download Programme: Barts and QM Science Festival Programme 2021 [DOC 17KB]

Welcome video by Professor Sir Mark Caulfield

Couldn't make the live talks? Browse our exciting website activities below.


This dashboard was implemented using a web-based programming environment known as a Jupyter Notebook. You can learn more about Notebooks from this video.

* This github repository (featured in the video) contains instructions for creating a simple Covid dashboard based on Public Health England data. The materials are aimed at students with an intermediate understanding of Python (up to objects), and can form the basis for a guided hackathon - teacher guidance is likely required to help with implementation and deployment as a Binder. Visit the DIY Covid-19 Dashboard Kit.
* Here is a simple dashboard built based on this tutorial (please be patient while the binder starts).
* An entirely Jupyter-based Python module for new starters, taught at Queen Mary University of London.
* The Jupyter project, home of Notebooks and the Jupyter Lab.
* Binders are an incredibly flexible and accessible way to deploy your (and your students') Notebooks online for free.

Researchers from the department of Experimental Medicine and Rheumatology are delighted to be participating in the 2021 Barts Science Festival. Highlighting their work on Rheumatoid Arthritis, they aim to improve your understanding of immune mediated diseases and how they are working to improve future treatment of the disease.  The video illustrates the way patients are managed currently and the researchers’ vision for the future. We hope you learn from the video, so after watching it please take the quiz.

If you would like any further information about Rheumatoid Arthritis, please see the following links:

Our robot ALICE will show you about how machines learn using lots of data. Scientists use data to develop new ideas and computers help them to do it faster.



Sorting: How quickly can you sort cats and other animals. Do you think a computer can do it quicker? Visit: 

How do computers learn?

Machine learning is linked to Artificial Intelligence. This is where we give machines data and they use it to learn for themselves. Computers can then perform a task without explicitly being programmed to do so. 

The data that is provided to the computer includes parameters or labels. We also give it an algorithm (which is a set of instructions: like a thought process) and it uses both the data and the algorithm to teach itself. 

Normally, we give computers explicit instructions which it cannot ignore. The machine only knows to do one action in response to another action. An example is: you press the S key on the keyboard and the computer types an S. 

When we give a machine an algorithm it can learn to decide what to do with the data to get to our end goal. Like knowing if the picture is a cat or not.  

Scientists have moved beyond using pictures of cats. Now, amongst other things, they are using computers to look at pictures of our bodies called scans. Computers are learning to do this very well and they are becoming a useful tool for doctors to understand problems with our body like diseases and health conditions.  


  • Machine Learning for kids: Teach a computer to play a game with you.
  • IBM Machine learning for kids: Choose from a variety of hands-on activities that introduce simple machine learning models to students through games and interactive projects.
  • The Royal Society: The Royal Society has a programme of work available about machine learning here and also links to the British Science Association Crest Awards if you want to take it further.


Previous festivals

June 2019

On 19th June 2019 schools across London attended the ninth edition of the festival, speakers were Dr Mohammed Khanji (Barts Health Trust), Dr Christopher Primus (Queen Mary) and Centre of the Cell. Exhibitors included Community Smiles (Dentistry), Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre and Barts Bioresource. Read a full report here

Want to know what Moorfields thought of the festival? Read the article here

June 2018

On 20th June 2018 students from schools across London attended the eighth edition of the festival which was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Barts Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), the NHS Trust and Trials Connect. Exhibitions at the festival included a peak flow meter where visitors could test their lung capacity, a stand measuring heart size and a knitted retina.

June 2017

On 21st June 2017 students from schools across London attended the seventh edition of the festival which was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Barts Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), the NHS Trust and Trials Connect. Exhibitors at the festival included Let’s Talk Hearts (free heart talks for the general public supported by the BRC), the Centre of the Cell, Bart’s Health Trust, Sports and Exercise Medicine (QMUL) and the UCL Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology. Students joined in on visual and hands-on demonstrations of how some brainpower cells (mitochondria) work and how ultrasound is used to diagnose arthritis and see the ‘inside’ of our joints using medical equipment.

June 2016 

The 2016 festival was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Barts Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and Trials Connect and received a generous grant from the QMUL Alumni Annual Fund, which aims to provide additional funds for students and staff who wish to improve the student experience, encourage community engagement and promote academic achievement.

Exhibitors at the festival included Let’s Talk Hearts (free heart talks for the general public supported by NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Barts the Farr Institute) with a demonstration on how to extract DNA from a banana, and Venture Thinking (the organization that supports Tim Peake the astronaut) using paper and straws to show what healthy bones look like.

Talks included a panel of volunteer patients from Trials Connect speaking about their experiences of taking part in a clinical trial. Trials Connect is an educational project in lifelong and shared learning. Inspired by the work of the it draws on the experience and professional expertise of current and previous clinical trials patients.