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Cambridge Science Festival returns and will offer hundreds of free events

By Adrian Curtis

Working on a skeleton (Cambridge Science Festival talk), sourced by Becky Wieczorek
Working on a skeleton (Cambridge Science Festival talk), sourced by Becky Wieczorek

A Nobel laureate, celebration of Douglas Adams and interactive family entertainment are on the bill

A VR attraction at a previous Science Festival
A VR attraction at a previous Science Festival

This year's Cambridge Science Festival is aiming to 'make sense of the world we live in' with hundreds of free events and hands-on experiences for people of all ages.

The 24th annual two-week science extravaganza runs from March 12 to March 25 and stages more than 320 mostly free events, including talks, films, performances and a Douglas Adams exhibition.

The festival includes an impressive line-up of who's who from the science world and beyond this year.

They include such luminaries as geneticist, director of the Francis Crick Institute and Nobel Laureate, Sir Paul Nurse, chief medical officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, Professor Sir David John Spiegelhalter, Professor Andrea Brand from the Gurdon Institute, Science editor for the BBC Radio Four Today programme, Tom Feilden, broadcaster and alchemist, Dave Coplin, and many more.

Top picks during the first week include a panel talk exploring how ready we are to deal with the future and the next strain of infectious diseases.

During the second week, there are several talks tipped to get booked up fast. Dr Kourosh Saeb Parsy will review how organ transplantation is being transformed by biomedical advances, while Dr Milica Gaレic explains how researchers in machine learning are teaching computers to talk.

Several exhibitions are also being held, including a celebration of Douglas Adams's papers and artefacts in the beautiful surroundings of St John's College Old Library.

This exhibition follows his life and career from Brentwood School to Hollywood, from a bachelor's degree to Doctor Who, from aye-ayes to IT, and from hitchhiking in Europe to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Children and adults are invited to hands-on events and demonstrations being held at the Guildhall and various University of Cambridge departments on the first weekend (March 17-18).

The festival moves to West Cambridge during the second Saturday (March 24) for a multitude of hands-on, interactive events at the Cavendish Laboratory, Institute for Manufacturing and the Institute of Astronomy, among others.

On the Sunday, the Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology will be the headquarters for the science festival on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Families can discover how life-changing research, conducted in the labs, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies on the site, is developing new treatments and medicines to benefit society.

Dr Lucinda Spokes, Science Festival co-ordinator, said:"The aim is to spark scientific debate and inspire young people to take an interest in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine - we trust ?the programme this year will do just that.

"Through the huge range of events, we are addressing some of the most important questions facing us personally and as a society, including our health, impact on the world around us, and what the future might hold.

"A festival of this magnitude would not be possible without the help from many people; we thank all our scientists, the festival goers, supporters, partners and sponsors, without whom the festival would not happen.

"We very much look forward to welcoming people of all ages to join us in March to explore Cambridge science."

For more details of the events, visit the Science Festival website.


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