Visits play with a stethoscope

Your date with discovery starts here!

The Festival took place on 28-29 April 2018 and was our biggest yet, with a showcase of technological marvels celebrating the Year of Engineering, a new Hands-On Zone for families, an expanded talks programme and a range of interactive workshops. The Festival was an unforgettable weekend which included unique collaborations between Imperial scientists and artists, theatre performers, children’s TV stars and musicians.

Here is an overview of the variety of things that were on show at Impfest 2018. For more details on all of the interactive zones, inspiring talks, hands-on workshops and live performances, search through the full Festival programme.

Festival Zones

Our nine themed zones are open all weekend and contain hundreds of hands-on demos, interactive experiments and live performances running throughout the weekend.

The Queen's TowerEnginuity – Celebrate the 2018 Year of Engineering by playing quantum bingo, performing robotic surgery, and learning about the future of smartphones and tablets.

Hands On – Make and play with a lively array of science-inspired activities. OKIDO’s Messy Monster will also be on hand to help you learn all about the brilliance of breathing.

Green Futures – Explore Imperial innovations that are improving the health of our planet and ourselves. Discover the start-ups creating water from thin air, constructing low-carbon concrete and cleaning up the city's air-pollution.

Cure-iosity – Get arty with new dementia therapies, try your skills on the skins with a science drumming study, and explore all of the other ways in which we’re improving health and healthcare.

Aero – Pit your wits against an AI-controlled helicopter and experience a wind tunnel, with our celebration of 100 years of Aeronautics at Imperial.

Robot – Check out the latest innovations in robotics, from smart flying drones to high tech medical solutions and innovative artificial intelligence systems.

Superbugs - Grab a lab coat and discover the world of microbes. Try your hands at exciting experiments to investigate the inner workings of bacteria.

Reflection – Discuss the big questions facing science and what it means to you, while watching documentaries, listening to podcasts and exploring a special exhibition.

Discovering Worlds – Interactive games and experiments will take you on a journey of discovery, from the microscopic to the astronomical.


Satisfy your creativity and curiosity by dropping into one of our interactive Festival workshops. These workshops run Saturday and Sunday and you do not need to pre-book, but please check specific timings.

Science Performed

Science takes to the stage, screen and canvas in a series of performances, shows and exhibitions to be enjoyed around our Festival site. Please check timings and booking information.A plume of fire

The Greatest Hits Show, Presented by the Science Museum.  Experience science at its most entertaining and explosive, with rocket launches, liquid nitrogen and earth-shaking bangs! Timed sessions throughout Saturday and Sunday.

Of Blooded Things, Suzi Morris – Explore the power of viruses captured through this exhibition of paintings. Drop in Saturday or Sunday!

Journey of the Universe, Saturday 12:30pm – Sit down and explore our connection to the cosmos during a screening of the award-winning documentary, Journey of the Universe.

Mrs X, Saturday 15:00 – This short drama explores stories of survival and death, hope and fear, knowledge and confusion. Written by Nicola Baldwin and directed by Nigel Townsend.

Bright Club @ Imperial Festival, Saturday 4pm – Imperial researchers become stand-up comedians alongside head-line act Alex Lathbridge, as this live comedy show comes to Imperial Festival for the first time.


Hear from Imperial’s own superstars on a range of fascinating topics. Please check timings and booking information.


Stephen McGann

Talks on Saturday

Flesh and Blood, Saturday  12:30 – Join Doctor Turner from the BBC hit-drama Call the Midwife – actor Stephen McGann (pictured above) – for a lively discussion about the medical maladies that have shaped his life and that of his ancestors. Expect puss, pox and pestilence!

Psychedelic Drugs in Science and Medicine, Saturday 13:30 –Take a trip through new research showing that magic mushrooms may 'reset' the minds of depressed patients leading to reduced symptoms. With Robin Carhart-Harris, Head of Psychedelic Research

London's Polluted Air: An Opportunity in the Mist, Saturday 14:30 – Find out why a more holistic approach to reducing air pollution could reclaim our streets as places to live, explore, interact, discover and play.

Science of Star Trek, Saturday 15:30 – From cloaking devices to alien civilizations, from warp drives to transporters, find out from astrophysicist Roberto Trotta how sci-fi has boldly gone where no scientist has gone before – yet.

The Science of Fire, Saturday 16:30 – Join our Fire Scientist, Guillermo Rein, to explore how fires start, spread and destroy

Meet the writers, Saturday 12:30-16:30 – Meet the Imperial people behind the pen, who’ll be discussing their recent science books and programmes in a series of talks running throughout Saturday, organised by Friends of Imperial College.

A Day in the Life of…, 13:00-17:00 – Meet the scientists behind the science and the students behind the studies. Discover the highs and lows of a day in the life of drone developers, universe explorers and student entrepreneurs.


Talks on Sunday

Saturn: What Cassini Taught Us, Sunday 12:30 – Following the Cassini spacecraft’s final dive into the gas giant, reflect on one of the great space missions of all time and how we can hope to follow it up. With Mission Scientist Michele Dougherty

Trustworthy Robots, Sunday 13:30 – Robotic surgeons. An AI babysitter. Thrishantha Nanayakkara asks if we could ever trust robots with the things we care about most – our lives and our families?

Sensing Mars, Sunday 14:30 – Find out how listening to Martian tremors could help us understand Mars’ past habitability for life, and why our solar system neighbour turned out so different to Earth. With NASA mission scientist Tom Pike

What's changing our climate? Sunday 15:30 – A temperamental Sun and the Earth’s wobbly journey around it, violent volcanoes, melting ice caps, cow farts, car engines and Donald Trump. Jo Haigh discusses the likely candidates

A Day in the Life of…, 13:00-17:00 – Meet the scientists behind the science and the students behind the studies. Discover the highs and lows of a day in the life of drone developers, universe explorers and student entrepreneurs

Suggested guides

A volunteer guides a visitorBoggled by all the choice at Impfest 2018? Don't worry, here are our handy suggested guides to:

Imperial Festival for...families

Imperial Festival for...grown ups

Imperial Festival enthusiasts