OXFORDSHIRE’S celebration of science got off to a big bang over the weekend.

This year’s Oxfordshire Science Festival began by taking over Bonn Square, Oxford, on Saturday.

Families descended on the city centre to have a go at free hands-on activities and demonstrations.

The festival, which runs until Sunday, March 23, will see theatres, museums and schools host events, from live experiments to an award-winning dramatic interpretation of Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider.

Adrian Thomas, who works at Siemens Magnet Technology in Eynsham, was demonstrating the effects of liquid nitrogen on different materials.

He said: “We are demonstrating how low temperature affects properties, as we have to operate magnets at these temperatures.

“We enjoy the science we work with and enjoy sharing it with people. We want to make sure there is a future generation of scientists to carry on.”

Eight-year-old Joseph Watkiss, from Summertown, said: “It is fun. I may want to do science when I grow up.”

Comedian Robin Ince, Radio 4 broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili and Oxford physics professor Frank Close will be among those trying to enthuse young and old with their love of science during the two-week festival.

Renee Watson, the festival’s organiser, said: “One of the big changes this year is that we are spreading out across Oxfordshire. We have done a lot of things in the city centre but this year we have got some really massive events in other parts of the county.

“There are more than 100 events to choose from and we are really trying to make it something for everyone.

“Last year we got just over 30,000 people visiting the festival. We are hoping to get more this year.”

Other highlights will include Bonn University’s award-winning Particle Physics Show coming to Oxford University’s physics department, in Parks Road, from March 18-20.

The show is an interpretation of the work at the Large Hadron Collider at Cern in Switzerland.

Abingdon’s Atom Festival will begin on Thursday, March 20, with Converscience, which has been billed as an evening of wit and science at St Helen and St Katharine School, featuring Mr Ince and Prof Close.

Friday evening will see Jim Al-Khalili give a talk about the growing science of quantum biology at Abingdon School’s Amey Theatre.

To see the full programme or buy tickets, go to oxscifest.com