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Calling budding astronomers, chemists, magicians

Media release for immediate release 14 June 2006

Calling all budding astronomers, young chemists, apprentice magicians, and aspiring weather forecasters

Dunedin is the perfect place to head for the July school holidays where the New Zealand International Science Festival 2006 (1-9 July 2006) shows science as you've never seen it before – including magic shows, extraterrestrial life, 'Planet Science', and even colossal squid encounters.

The Otago Daily Times International Science Festival Headquarters at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery is the "hub" of the Festival from 1-9 July 2006, and a great place for the young and young at heart to start their journey into science.

"Planet Science" is a series of science workshops suitable for ages 6–11, and includes hands-on events such as making your own kaleidoscope, the Planet Science School for Weather Wizards, and building your very own nano-rover rider for exploring distant planets. All "Plant Science" events take place at the Festival HQ.

Young astronomers will be reaching for their telescopes after the special one-off session for kids and their parents "Is there really life in outer space?" on 3 July at the Festival Headquarters (11am–12.30pm). This session will be taken by Dr Jill Tarter of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), a leading world expert on life in the universe who can answer your questions on extraterrestrial life.

Professor Richard Wiseman will be presenting "The Psychology of Magic" especially for kids and parents from 11am–12.30pm on Friday 7 July at the Festival Headquarters. Dubbed 'the thinking man’s ghostbuster' by The Times (London), Professor Wiseman started his working life as an award winning magician – and may throw in a few tricks of his own to explain how magic works.

For those who are spending the holidays in Central Otago, an afternoon of fun and entertainment with Jill Tarter (3 July) and Richard Wiseman (7 July) will be beamed in live via video-link from 1pm until 2.30pm.

You can ask your questions to these world experts on the video link which can be accessed at Mt Aspiring School in Wanaka and Roxburgh Area School.

Young writers, and those who like to know the inside word on what is happening, will get their first chance to read the festival's first science blog by New Zealand journalist Kim Griggs, online at the festival website www.scifest.org.nz during the festival.

Ticket sales and the festival programme are now available from the festival office or go online to www.scifest.org.nz for more details.

Take part in the SBS "Born Lucky" mass experiment now by going online to www.scifest.org.nz or pick up a hard copy from any branch of SBS nationwide.

ENDS

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