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The 20th Cambridge Science Festival looks ahead to the future of science

28th January 2014
Nat Bowers

Held from Monday 10 to Sunday 23 March at the University of Cambridge, UK, the 20th annual Cambridge Science Festival will attempt to answer many intriguing questions: What’s new in space? Why do coincidences happen? Can science make cyclists go faster? Why do cats make us sneeze? The Science Festival hosts over 250 thought-provoking talks and hands-on events for everyone.

This year’s Science Festival participants include: University of Cambridge Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz; Lord Rees, Astronomer Royal; writer Simon Singh; Professor Michael Green, recent winner of the Fundamental Physics Prize; statistics whizz Professor David Spiegelhalter, neuroscientist Professor Barbara Sahakian; Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England; Professor Tony Purnell, Head of Technology for British Cycling; Professor Mark Miodownik of the BBC’s Science Club; and Professor Molly Stevens, one of The Times top 10 scientists under the age of 40.

The 20th science festival welcomes the return of science comedian Robin Ince, who will take a light-hearted look at art vs science. Stand-up mathematician, Matt Parker and the Naked Scientists, who will start an interactive journey through the workings of our nervous system, will also be present this year. For the first time, the Cambridge Science Festival will include the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, home of Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Clinical School. Visitors to the campus will be able to explore the latest, ground-breaking medical research being carried out in Cambridge and how this is translated into new treatments and new drugs. With over 250 events, most of which are free, there’s surely something for everyone.

Other events throughout the Festival include: an exploration into what’s new in space, following the launch of the Gaia satellite in 2013; a talk by Professor Barbara Sahakian about overcoming stress and anxiety and why they are on the increase; a range of talks for all ages and families during Science on Saturday, exploring the brain by messing with the senses, why rodents rule the world, the dark world of caves and how the bicycle got it spokes; the latest in stem cell research, including Professor Robin Franklin talking about his work on central nervous system regeneration; and a discussion focusing on 21st Century families helped by assistive reproduction technologies, same-sex parenting and single parent families, as well as the role of the family in child development.

Shelley Bolderson, Science Festival Coordinator, commented: “The Science Festival has grown significantly since its modest beginnings 20 years ago and today is recognised as being one of the most exciting Science Festivals in the world. Last year, we welcomed over 30,000 local, national and international visitors and we hope to meet many more newcomers this year. The range and diversity of subjects covered during the two weeks is astonishing and incredibly exciting for anyone who wants to discover the world around them.”

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