Family Fun Day: Surprising Senses

Arrive any time between 11.00am and 4.00pm, Sunday 30 October

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Hand touching an electric ball

    Every human experience has a mix of images, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures.

    Credit: Katherine Leedale
  • Type

    Family Fun Day
  • Audience

    Ages 6+


Standard £14

3 – 18 year olds £7

Discounts for Ri Members and Ri Young Members

Event description

If you are looking for the May 2017 Family Fun Day, please click here.

 It’s time for Family Fun Day, where we fill the Ri to the brim with a sensational set of demonstrations, experiments and talks. This time, explore the limits of the human senses and get your hands, noses, tongues, eyes and ears ready for an unforgettable experience.


Charles Spence: multisensory flavour perception
12.15pm, 2.00pm, 3.30pm
Our experience of food comes from a lot more than just our sense of taste: it involves what we smell, see, hear, and much more. Join Charles Spence to learn how these senses come together to help us enjoy our food, and see the surprising things that happen when we play with the senses while eating. You’ll never eat crisps in the same way again!

Alison Fairbrass: listening out for bats
11.30am, 1.15pm,
Bats occupy a world that is almost hidden to human senses – they fly mostly in the dark, and communicate with sounds too high pitched for us to hear. How then have we managed to learn anything about them? Alison Fairbrass will show us how bats navigate in the darkness using sound, how scientists study them, and also how you yourself can use your ears to help global bat conservation efforts. 

Hands-on activities and demos

Explore all your five senses with a range of activities and demos around the building. How important is smell to your sense of taste? What happens to sound in a vacuum? How do your genes alter your sense of taste? Find out all these interesting questions and more! Pick up a guide when you arrive to make sure you visit all that is on offer. Also joining us on the day will be:

Royal Veterinary College
Did you know that some animals see colours that we can’t detect? Or that some even have electric sense? Come and find out how vision, smell, touch, taste, hearing and even some unusual senses are important to animals, with the Royal Veterinary College. 

Emotion Robotics
Learn about the exciting robots developed by the Emotion Robotics team, which use artificial senses to interact with people and the environment. Meet Pepper, the friendly social companion robot and Nao, the classroom teaching assistant.

Pankaj Chandak
Pankaj Chandak is a transplant surgeon at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital. He works on the cutting edge of medical technology, making what was thought impossible possible - transplanting adult kidneys into children, reviving damaged kidneys and allowing anybody to be a compatible donor. To do this, he uses advanced imaging techniques, 3D printing and surgical robots that complement and augment his finely-tuned senses.

Action on Hearing Loss
Learn about the important work done by this charity to create a world where hearing loss doesn’t limit or label people, where tinnitus is silenced – and where people value and look after their hearing. Try out and test how good your hearing is.

Please note

All children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a ticket-holding adult.

We advise booking tickets in advance because we have been known to sell out up to a week before the event.

A researcher from Jade University of Applied Sciences, Germany, will be conducting a small research project during the day. For this, they will ask a few people to fill out a short survey; participation in this project is completely voluntary.

Become a member

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