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Doctor Who talk at the Cambridge Science Festival on its final weekend

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Marek Kukula and Simon Guerrier with a dalek
Marek Kukula and Simon Guerrier with a dalek

The Cambridge Science Festival will soon draw to a close, but before it does there are still plenty of fantastic events taking place – one of which concerns Doctor Who.

The Doctor Who talk is at Anglia Ruskin University and is presented by Dr Marek Kukula, public astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, and writer Simon Guerrier.

Simon has penned Doctor Who books and plays, which led him to take a GCSE in astronomy.

Together, the pair wrote The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who and their talk will use clips from the series to show how the Doctor – even when not trying to be educational – makes us think like real scientists.

“We decided that we would bring our backgrounds together,” said Marek, “and write a book which used Doctor Who to explore science in the real world.

“The event is taking the book as a starting point – we wanted to do something a little bit different with it. It was over a conversation in the pub where Simon and I both realised we had come into our careers because of Doctor Who.

“We wondered what it was about it that inspired kids to take up careers in the future – so that’s really what the talk’s about.”

Engineering solutions to medical problems, another presentation taking place this weekend, will be held at UTC Cambridge on Robinson Way.

The talk comes courtesy of Ewen Kellar, a chemist who also likes to provide live experiments and noisy demonstrations.

“I work for an engineering consultancy and my background is working with adhesives,” he explained. “On this talk, I was asked to look at adhesives but from a bit more of a medical perspective. One of the things that becomes immediately apparent if you start thinking about it is that engineering and medicine are much more closely linked than you might think – in a whole myriad of different ways.”

Ewen continued: “So what my talk is really setting out to do is open people’s eyes to different aspects of this relationship through a number of different examples. I’m trying to bring in a lot of new technology, as well as very traditional things, and show what doctors and the medical profession are doing.

“Examples will include things like hip and knee implants – showing what these actually look like, using animations.”

‘I’m Involved with Research at the University of Cambridge, I’m Only Three!’ is the curious title of the stand that PHD student Kitty Jones will have set up on Sunday, also at UTC Cambridge.

“It’s basically to find different families interested in taking part in research because they’ll have seen a lot of different research at the science festival,” said Kitty.

“So if they’re interested in being part of the research study themselves, then I’m there talking about my own research.”

Elaborating on the title, Kitty said: “It’s true – I’m looking for families who have kids aged three, four and five, and I interview the children.”

Kitty is a first-year PHD student at Corpus Christi, studying psychology at the Centre for Family Research.

Discussing what youngsters will learn on the Sunday, Kitty said: “I think children will learn all about science and how research is really fun and interesting – and how from any age you can be excited about what’s going on in the world around you.”

Doctor Who Made Me into a Scientist, Saturday, March 25, 2-3pm. Booking required. Anglia Ruskin University, East Road.

Engineering Solutions to Medical Problems, Sunday, March 26, 2-2.45pm. Booking required. Limited tickets on the door. UTC Cambridge, Robinson Way.

I’m Involved with Research at the University of Cambridge, I’m Only Three!, Sunday, March 26, 10.30am-4pm. Hands-on, drop-in. UTC Cambridge, Robinson Way.


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