Banbury Museum's exhibition on optics is a focus in a week of science, writes SYLVIA VETTA

This week is National Science and Engineering Week and the British Association for the Advancement of Science is eager to promote interest in the subject, particularly among young people.

The hope is that some will go on to become scientists and others will have sufficient knowledge to debate and value scientific progress.

The association said: "Research has shown that doing science experiments scores highly with both teachers and students."

Many can describe a favourite experiment - "one that first made them want to continue learning about the world around them through science".

As part of National Science and Engineering Week, Banbury Museum is mounting a show called Light and Optics, which is designed to give young people that opportunity.

There are 16 hands-on experiments, using lenses, lighting and luminosity in colour and optics and shows how your brain influences what you see.

For example, visitors can create a large soap film or bubble wall and watch how colours mingle and change. Or in the ghost experiment two visitors can sit either side of a half-silvered window and by altering the illumination on their faces their reflections merge to give a composite face.

There are also illusion discs - three spinning discs with patterns that fool the brain - and the light house - prisms and lenses in parallel beams of white light to explore optics. Plus there is a spectacular high-voltage electrode in the middle of the globe that makes the gas glow. Visitors can touch the globe to draw a stream of glowing gas towards them.

The exhibition continues until April 15, so you have plenty of time to go and try the experiments.

For more on National Science and Engineering Week, click on to There you can vote for the nation's favourite experiment, watch video clips of the 'punk scientists' and then vote on line for your favourite. There is an incentive to take part. All entrants can enter a draw to win an Xbox 360.

If you want to try experiments in school or at home you can print out the challenge packs.

For more information on Light and Optics go to the museum website.

The exhibition should enhance your enjoyment of the Luminox display in Broad Street, Oxford, tonight and tomorrow. Luminox is the large-scale fire installation created by French artists Carabosse.