A "NEUROCOCKTAIL bar" at an Oxford pub will be one of dozens of quirky events at this year's Oxfordshire Science Festival.

Neuroscientist Elizabeth Tunbridge's mixology masterclass-cum-science lesson will be among a heady cocktail of dance, drama, music and science in a fascinating fortnight.

The 25th annual Oxfordshire Science Festival from June 23 to July 3 aims to inspire people of all ages about the wonders of science and discovery.

But Dr Tunbridge's event is definitely aimed at over-18s.

On the evening of Thursday, June 30, the Oxford University lecturer will take over the top floor of St Aldate's Tavern in Oxford for a heavy evening session of libations.

She and a team of lab assistants will teach visitors how to make a strawberry cocktail that extracts the fruit's DNA into a visible form, while explaining the science behind why alcohol is so pleasurable and why some of us find it so addictive.

She explained: "We will be mixing and drinking cocktails to lubricate a discussion on why drugs of abuse like alcohol are pleasurable and how, by hijacking the brain’s pleasure pathways, they can become addictive.

"I think it is really important that people are aware of what's going on in my work – after all it is funded by public money.

"I get something out of it as well: as a result of doing things like this in the past I've had ideas about where I can take my research."

Dr Tunbridge, who lives in East Challow near Wantage, said she – like most scientists – loved talking about her subject and getting other people fired up about it.

If cocktails aren't your thing, a "science ceilidh" at St Ebbes School in South Oxford will invite visitors to "turn their body into a molecule and DNAce".

Oxford physicist Fran Day, meanwhile, will take a break from "studying particles that probably don’t exist" to stage an irreverent and stand-up comedy show.

A "danced lecture", a Periodic Table-themed "cabaret of the Elements" and a "gravestone geology tour" through Oxford will be among the other attractions this year.

World-famous speakers will include Oxford University professor for the public understanding of science Marcus de Sautoy, European Space Agency astronaut Leopold Eyharts and Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood, chairwoman of the Commons Science and Technology Committee.

The festival will include an Oxford Science Fair at Oxford Town Hall, a "street science" weekend in Cornmarket and Broad Street in Oxford and a "hands-on-health day" at Templars Square Shopping Centre in Cowley.

Festival managing director Saïd Hasnaoui said he was delighted to have partnered this year with charitable educational body Science Oxford.

He said: "This is enabling us to kick-start a new format of activities, with the ambition to build a major science festival over the next several years."

The festival is also being run in association with the University of Oxford, Diamond Light Source in Harwell, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford Academic Health Science Network, Siemens and Oxford's Nuffield Department of Medicine.

It will also encompass this year's ATOM science festival in Abingdon over the last week of June.

See the full listings at oxfordshiresciencefestival.com