Five things to do this week: 23 - 29 July 2016

Looking for the best things to do this week? Don’t waste away being bored on the sofa… here’s our pick of ways to exercise your grey matter and nourish your neurons. This week - the return of Robot Wars.

22nd July 2016
Robot Wars © BBC/Mentorn Media Scotland/Alan Peebles

#BrainFood brings you the best shows on TV and radio, science apps and books to activate your mind, and fun events to visit. This week – the return of Robot Wars, life in the darkest places, and rediscover graphene.


Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond © Angela Moore/Museum of Science and Industry
© Angela Moore/Museum of Science and Industry

Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond

Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, 23 July 2016 – 25 June 2017, free

Ever since it first arrived in 2004, graphene has been hailed as a wonder material, boasting incredible strength, flexibility and conductivity. Now, explore the cutting-edge of graphene research in the city where it was first discovered. This new exhibition features an immersive recreation of a white room at the National Graphene Institute, a specially commissioned art installation by Random International, and the opportunity to imagine your own graphene products of the future.


Life in the Dark © Danté Fenolio
© Danté Fenolio

Life in the Dark

Danté Fenolio, Johns Hopkins University Press, hardback, £26

In the depths of the oceans, a translucent squid drifts through darkness. This is one of the otherworldly creatures featured in a beautiful new book from zoologist and wildlife photographer Danté Fenolio. He sheds a light on the animals that live in our planet’s shadows, whether that’s at the bottom of the oceans, beneath the ground, or even inside other organisms.


Robot Wars © BBC/Mentorn Media Scotland/Alan Peebles
© BBC/Mentorn Media Scotland/Alan Peebles

Robot Wars

BBC Two, Sun 24 July, 8:00-9:00pm

It’s back! The crunch of metal on metal. The blast of flamethrowers. The sorry sight of yet another mechanical marvel being dismantled by Sir Killalot. Last seen on our screens in 2004, Robot Wars returns with 40 teams of amateur robot-building enthusiasts, an all-new arena, and presenters Dara O Briain and Angela Scanlon. 3, 2, 1, activate...


Science(ish) © Radio Wolfgang
© Radio Wolfgang


Radio Wolfgang, listen online

In this quirky and entertaining podcast, TV presenter Rick Edwards and science writer Dr Michael Brooks delve into the science behind popular culture. Recent episodes include an exploration of the surprising link between sleep paralysis and alien abduction, and a look at whether the 'pre-crime' world of Minority Report could ever become a reality.


UVLens © Spark 64
© Spark 64


iOS/Android/Windows, Spark 64, free

If, like us, just looking at the Sun turns you the colour of an angry lobster, this is the app for you. Enter your postcode and UVLens will tell you when it’s safe to be outside and how long for, with the advice tailored to your particular skin type. Let’s just hope it stays sunny long enough for you to use it…

For more fabulous apps, check out our list of the top 10 science apps for Android and iOS.

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