LEARNING about the importance of bacteria and finding out about new discoveries in the solar system are just a couple of examples of what is on show at the University of Southampton’s annual Science and Engineering Festival, which takes place from today until March 24.

The festival, which is part of National Science and Engineering week, will have two public open days.

Science and Engineering Day takes place today at the Highfield Campus from 10.30am to 4.30pm.

Families attending can learn more about the dark side of the universe, discover more about the human brain and how it works and also make a solar powered boat.

The Ocean and Earth Day  takes place at the National Oceanography Centre in Dock Gate 4, Southampton, on March 23 from 10.30am to 4pm.

It will focus on looking at fossils and sealife.

Visitors can also go to the aquarium and operate an underwater vehicle, and visit the research vessel the RV Callista.

There will also be a talk about why a Southampton-based researcher has wired up TV presenter Ben Fogle for his cross Atlantic swim.