Medieval Science Fair Rules -- Masque of Courtly Love 9.1

Attention all natural philosophers, mathematicians, students of physics, astronomers, and astrologers. We would like to invite you to attend the March of Alderford’s Masque Science Fair on February 18, 2006.

Online Science Fair Pre-Registration ]

Our vision for the Science Fair is that it resembles a traditional school science fair, with two differences: it's for adults as well as youth, and the fair includes projects based on pre-1600 CE Western and Eastern civilization.

"Science" in the Middle Ages was intricately woven into religion, philosophy, culture, and myth, and wasn't necessarily the objective fact-finding that modern science at least pretends to be, even though it sometimes falls short. For example, a period-style demonstration of some scientific "fact" or principle that is *totally wrong* would be perfectly acceptable, as long as it is totally wrong in an historically accurate way. That does not mean the particular demonstration has to be documentable to period -- what we are after is the "feel" of period science, as authentic as we can make it, but still within the broader bounds of *Creative* Anachronism.

The emphasis of the fair is to have hands-on or at least be demonstrative exhibits, but papers and treatises can be presented in-persona to achieve that same quality and to involve the audience.

Ideas for Entries

  • Natural sciences (alchemy, zoology, chemistry, physics, medicine...)
  • Mathematical sciences (astronomy, astrology, math, geometry, geography)
  • Military sciences (siege engine theory, long-distance signaling...)
  • A re-creation of mechanical drawings in the style of Leonardo da Vinci
  • A design of a perpetual motion machine that is certain to work.(ummm...)
  • A scholarly treatise, similar to the Royal Society lectures, on how the wearing of a mask with a strong herbal scent can ward off disease
  • A scale model of a new kind of siege engine to bring His Majesty's enemies to their knees
  • An intricate pen-and-ink drawing of the cosmos as known to medieval man
  • Demonstration of a lodestone, Leyden jar, or similar principle
  • Exposition upon the new Arabic mathematics, the Al Gebra
  • Demonstrating theories of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Brahe, Galen, Plato, Bacon, Aristotle, etc.
  • Designs or models of scientific instruments such as: astrolabes, water clocks, armillary spheres, equatoriums
  • A treatise defending the geocentric view of the universe
  • A treatise arguing for a heliocentric universe
  • Application of humoral theories
  • Any potential heretical thoughts related to natural philosophy


Participants must check in by 11 a.m.
Judges' meeting 11:30 a.m. -12 p.m.
Fair runs 12-4 p.m.
Judges' scoring session 4-5 p.m.


Adult (18+)
Youth (under 18)
Group Entry - Adult
Group Entry - Youth

Evaluation Criteria

Entries will be evaluated in the following areas:

  • Scientific Thought/Hypothesis – To what degree is this a testable prediction?
  • How well a plan was developed to test hypothesis
  • Results/Analysis – Interpretation of data within historical context.
  • Visual Presentation/Display
  • Oral Presentation/Interview – Entrants will have 20 minutes to defend/discuss their presentation, and field questions from the panel of judges.


  1. Pre-registration for the science fair is strongly encouraged. Deadline for pre-registration is February 1, 2006.
  2. Entries may be entered the day of the event, but will depend on space availability and the discretion of the fair coordinator.
  3. Group entries are allowed.
  4. It is permissible for an entry to have been entered in any other competition, show, or display either in or outside of the Middle Kingdom.
  5. All entries will be evaluated in person by a panel of judges who will determine the Best in Show in youth and adult categories.
  6. At the fair check-in area, participants will schedule a 20 minute presentation time when they will be evaluated by the judging panel. This is to ensure that they get time with the judges.
  7. Participants may submit their entry for comment only, but it will not be eligible for the Best in Show prize. However, it may be awarded the Baronial Choice or Autocrat’s Choice prize.
  8. The decision of the judges is final.


Prizes will be awarded for Best in Show in adult and youth categories, Their Excellencies' choice, and Autocrat’s choice. Prizes will be given out during Court.