See science come to life at the Summer Science Exhibition 2023

10 April 2023

Three hundred scientists over six days; varied programme of exhibits, talks and activities exploring everything from the vastness of the cosmos to micro robots. Free to attend.

Join the Royal Society for a festival of discovery at this year’s Summer Science Exhibition (4 - 9 July 2023), the annual extravaganza showcasing the UK’s most exciting research, lectures, and late-night events – no two days are the same.

From intricate robots designed to access the smallest parts of the human body, to the sights (and smells) of the cosmos – this year’s exhibition will bring together more than 300 scientists over six inspiring days.

Meet world-leading researchers from universities and science institutions across the UK and explore their research across the flagship exhibitor zones.

Take part in a varied programme of free events for all ages across the week, with workshops, activities and talks from well-known faces like Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the former Deputy Chief Medical Officer, and Dr Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut.

Discover the Healthy Living and Healthy Planet zones and find out how we can protect the Earth and ourselves.

Immerse yourself in an evening of space science, tasting menus and talks for over 18s, with the return of the adults-only Summer Science Lates on Tuesday 4 July.

Step back 100 years and experience the curiosities showcased in 1923 at a Royal Society Conversazione, the Summer Science Exhibition’s predecessor. 

For journalists, the week will begin with a press preview, your chance to meet the researchers and hear more about their work.

The Summer Science Exhibition takes place at the Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG from Tuesday 4 July 2023 to Sunday 9 July 2023. The event is free and open to the public. 

The full programme for the Summer Science Exhibition will be launched on Wednesday 19 April 2023, with more details to be revealed on our website. Twitter Hashtag: #summerscience

At Summer Science 2023

Meet the researchers at the forefront of UK science, 4 - 9 July

This year, nine groups are bringing their research to the Royal Society:

  • From Mars to humans – Can the technology used to search for life on Mars help detect diseases within our own bodies? Drive a replica Mars Rover and meet the teams from the universities of Edinburgh, Nottingham and Southampton developing non-invasive technologies that might help diagnose and monitor bone disease in older people without requiring repeat exposure to x-ray radiation. 
  • Drumming for health – Can you drum your way to a healthier life? Your feet might thump to the beat of the music during a run, but drumming yourself fit could be another way to workout, according to research led by the University of Essex, with the University of Chichester, Kings College London, and Hartpury University. Meet professional drummers and pick up the sticks yourself while watching your heart rate and oxygen levels respond. 
  • Virtual audio: illusion or reality? – We all process sounds in a way unique to us. This team from Imperial College London is attempting to personalise virtual audio, using the shape and size of our head and ear canal to make it indistinguishable from real life. The work could also help improve hearing for people with a sensory impairment. Get your own head scanned and learn just how much your ears may deceive you. 
  • Gene-ius fish: diving into human mental health with zebrafish – We share roughly 70% of our genes with zebrafish, so could they offer insights into the human mind? The team from Queen Mary University of London are using gene editing techniques in zebrafish to better understand mental health conditions like schizophrenia, ADHD and addiction to improve existing treatments and develop new drugs. 
  • Sensing volcanoes – What if you shared a postcode with a volcano? Meet the teams from the universities of Oxford, East Anglia and the West Indies, studying the sights, smells, sensations and sounds of past eruptions to understand when another might be imminent and mitigate its impact. Visitors can hear seismic shifts and smell the scents of an active Caribbean volcano, then play the game, ‘The Floor is Magma!’, to test their decision-making skills.
  • Micro-robotics for eye surgery – Get to grips with the robotic tools that can help surgeons operate inside the eye and the tiniest structures of the body. These robots from King’s College London move like an elephant’s trunk, flexing and altering shape to mimic the dexterity of the human hand. Watch the robot at work and see how you compare.
  • Revolutionising rehabilitation – Serious illness or injury can be life-changing but needn’t be life-limiting. The National Rehabilitation Centre, led by Loughborough University and the University of Nottingham, is looking at innovative technologies that could transform personalised rehabilitation. From lab-grown muscles to aid tissue recovery, to self-powered clothing that can help monitor activity and maintain independence, the technology is as varied as individuals’ motivations to recover.
  • ChromaDose: improving chemotherapy for children – Individual responses to a given treatment dosage can vary greatly. This is particularly true in chemotherapy for childhood cancers, where too high a dosage can also increase the risks of longer-term health effects. The ChromaDose team at UCL in partnership with the University of Newcastle are developing bedside blood-testing tools alongside young people and health professionals, to help personalise treatment, improve outcomes, and reduce side effects and costs.
  • Measuring electricity by counting electrons – From your iPhone charger to your hair straighteners, electricity powers our lives. Meet the researchers from the National Physical Laboratory attempting to measure electricity to make a universal standard of electrical current that can be used by scientists and engineers anywhere in the world. Create your own perfect standard of electrical current by moving electrons through a circuit at your control. 

Gravitate over to the Royal Society Lates for a night of space science, 6 - 10pm, Tuesday 4 July

The ever-popular adults-only Lates returns on Tuesday 4 July, exploring all things space. Grab a themed cocktail before tingling your tastebuds in a food workshop or discover the mysterious aromas of space with AromAtom. Hear from scientists involved in the James Webb Telescope and the JUICE mission in lightning talks. Get arty in a drawing workshop or pick up needle and thread and contribute a panel to an astronomy-themed quilt with the Royal Astronomical Society.

Travel back 100 years to experience a Summer Science Exhibition from the Roaring Twenties, 4 - 9 July

Head back through time and discover the rich history of the Summer Science Exhibition with artefacts from a Royal Society Conversazione held 100 years ago. View the scientific curiosities and breakthroughs that wowed guests in 1923, from armoured dinosaur skulls to a ‘levitating’ magnet, and see if our thinking has changed.

Meet the next generation at the Young Researcher Zone, Wednesday 4 - Friday 7 July

The Young Researchers Zone showcases science being undertaken by school students across the UK as part of the Royal Society’s Partnership Grants scheme. Hear from students at Northfleet Technology College who are investigating the biodiversity of their local nature reserve; join students from Tynecastle High School to discover how exams effect sleeping patterns in school children; and meet the students from Ribblesdale High School exploring what a net-zero primary school could look like.

Explore the science of Healthy Living and a Healthy Planet across two themed zones, 5 - 9 July

A host of leading organisations, speakers and famous faces are coming together to explore these societal challenges:

  • Healthy Living – Learn about how to keep your brain healthy with researchers from the UK Dementia Research Institute and hear from the Design Age Institute about how they are using cutting edge design to meet people’s needs as they age.
  • Healthy Planet – Explore the biodiversity of St James’s Park with a team from the Royal Parks and meet the scientists tackling the challenge and impacts of climate related flooding in the UK and globally. Find out how the minerals and metals that are so critical to our future green energy technologies could be part of the sustainable world they will power. At the weekend, meet the University of Oxford’s travelling exhibition, Meat Your Persona, exploring how what we eat and drink, and how we produce it impacts on the planet and our health.

Can’t make it? We are kicking off the week with an online lecture from Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the 2022 Royal Society David Attenborough Award winner. On Sunday 9 July 2023 we will offer a live streamed session, Summer Science Live, directly from the Summer Science Exhibition floor, with interviews and hands-on demos that will give you the opportunity to see and experience the buzz of the live exhibition.