WREXHAM Science Festival has kicked off with a talk from Blue Peter’s science expert Steve Mould.

The festival started on Thursday at Glyndwr University and runs until Friday, July 22. There are over 40 science-themed events taking place, many of which are free.

Comedian and scientist Steve has been the regular science expert on Blue Peter since 2008, and is half of Edinburgh Fringe double act Mould and Arrowsmith (with Gemma Arrowsmith).

He also runs a monthly night of science and comedy in London called Festival of The Spoken Nerd.

Speaking before his talk on Thursday, Steve told the Leader he was pleased to be opening the festival, though slightly out of his comfort zone.

He said: “It’s nice to be asked to come and do it, but one of the themes of the festival is chemistry, and I’m a physicist. I thought ‘how hard can it be?’,” he laughed, “So I’ve been learning a lot of stuff, and it will be fun telling people about what I’ve learned.

“I’ve bought my trolley full of chemistry stuff.” he said.

Amongst the high-tech materials Steve had to show off were liquids that behave like elastic, instant snow, instant worms, a ‘super absolvent’ that holds four times its weight in water, flexible visual displays and something called D3O.

“It’s like putty you hold in your hand, but hit it and it goes rigid,” Steve explained, “It might be used in high tech sports wear.”

Steve has recently been taking science around the musical festival scene, including Glastonbury. He is a veteran of the science festival circuit, and was impressed with the Wrexham festival at Glyndwr.

“There’s some great people speaking, looking through the brochure. This is a lovely venue as well,” he said.

On the subject of educating people about science he said: “I think it’s vital. Science is the best method we have for finding out how things work.

“We’re living in a technological age and if you understand how something works you can make better decisions about everything, including political decisions. And as much as anything, it’s just fascinating.”

The festival is celebrating 2011 as both International year of Chemistry and International year of Forestry. Visit www.wrexhamsf.com for a full programme of what’s on.