TV presenter and anatomist Alice Roberts teamed up with 'Nao' the programmable robot to launch the British Science Festival at the Library of Birmingham.
The Festival, which runs from 6 to 11 September at the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston, forms part of Birmingham Year of Science 2014, a city council programme aimed at showcasing successes in the fields of science, technology and learning.
As well as talks by city academics, the launch event included activity sessions such as demonstrating non-Newtonian fluids by walking over custard and comparing the skeletal anatomy of homo sapiens and other animals to see if they are more like humans or chimps.
Ms Roberts, who is also an author and professor of public engagement in science at the university, was joined by VIPs and academics including Imran Khan, chief executive of the British Science Association, and Dr Nick Hawes, lecturer in intelligent robotics at the University of Birmingham.
She said: "Birmingham Year of Science 2014 and the British Science Festival are a celebration of the incredible science that is going on in the city and region.
"It's about bringing that to a wider audience, encouraging people to engage with it and emphasising science has always been part of Birmingham and is very much still today."
Other highlights of the festival programme include the Gadget Show, taking place at the National Exhibition Centre from 9 to 13 April, Marvellous Machines at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, from 10 May to 14 September, and the UKSPA 30th Anniversary Summit at the International Convention Centre on 10 and 11 July.
City council leader Sir Albert Bore said: "Birmingham has both a proud scientific heritage and an exciting future; from world leading research in life sciences and renewable fuel cells to a wealth of digital and technical innovation, I cannot think of a better host city for a year of science and the British Science Festival."