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More than 130 free events on final weekend of Cambridge Science Festival

From what it's in our genes to an exploration of our galaxy, Cambridge Science Festival's final weekend promises extraordinary breadth.

Cambridge Science Festival activities in the Guildhall. Picture: Keith Heppell. (7823729)
Cambridge Science Festival activities in the Guildhall. Picture: Keith Heppell. (7823729)

More than 130 free demonstrations, exhibits and talks about science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine take place across a variety of venues, including University of Cambridge departments and colleges in the city centre and the West Cambridge site (Saturday March 23, from 10am), Anglia Ruskin University (Saturday March 23, 2-6.30pm) and Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology (Sunday March 24, from 11am-4pm).

The festival also comes to Cambridge Biomedical Campus on Sunday (11am-4pm), offering a great opportunity to gain an insight into the research being carried out there.

Dr Lucinda Spokes, Cambridge Science Festival manager said: “The final weekend of the festival is always a busy one. There are over 100 events for everyone to enjoy. Apart from the talks that need to be booked, there are a range of science exhibits and demos which people of all ages can just turn up to see or take part in. My advice is to pop along to the various site and have a wander. There’s just so much to see and do!

“As we approach the end of this year’s festival, I have been amazed and delighted by the curiosity and sheer delight shown by thousands of people in our science – everything from zoology and astronomy, maths and medicine. It’s remarkable how each year our audience grows, showing how switched on people are to what science offers at both a very personal level and at a global level. Our audience this year has been remarkable.

“We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who visited a museum, listened to a talk, or enjoyed getting hands-on at one of the many hundreds of exhibits. We truly hope everyone enjoys the final weekend.”

The festival has been supported by the Cambridge Independent.

Top talks

Cambridge Science Festival activities in the Guildhall. Picture: Keith Heppell. (7823721)
Cambridge Science Festival activities in the Guildhall. Picture: Keith Heppell. (7823721)

Here are some of the highlights from the festival's remaining talks:

Is the Milky Way special? (Friday March 22) - the Sky at Night's Dr Chris Lintott, of the University of Oxford, discusses 'Is the Milky Way Special?' He draws on cutting-edge research and results from his own Galaxy Zoo project to compare the Milky Way to the other galaxies that surround us, and explores whether we’re living in a special time in its history.

'Can smartphone apps help change people’s behaviour? (Sunday (March 24) - Stephen Sutton, professor of behavioural science at the University of Cambridge, describes novel ways of using smartphone apps to help people make positive lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and eating a healthier diet.

The origins of cancer: what's in our genes and what isn't? (Sunday March 24) - Professor Ashok Venkitaraman from the MRC Cancer Unit discusses mounting evidence that cancer risk is not only affected by our genes but in fact it can also be affected by non-genetic factors, such as our diet and environment in The origins of cancer: what's in our genes and what isn't? How genetic and non-genetic factors act together to influence a person’s risk of developing cancer is not well understood. Professor Venkitaraman reveals how recent research is providing new insights into this important problem, and how this new knowledge might be used to detect or even prevent cancer.

Transformation and conservation: how behaviour shapes evolution (Friday March 22) - Organisms show remarkable adaptations. Often, these adaptations are seen as responses that enable organisms to cope with the harshness of the environment. Professor Rebecca Kilner tells us about how behaviour itself can shape the course of evolutionary change.

Burgers, bacteria and heart disease: making sense of the processed food debate (Saturday March 23)

Sugar and spice and all things nice: a journey into taste sensors in the body (Saturday March 23)

Cosmic quest: from Babylon to the Big Bang (Saturday March 23)

Molecular mix and match: designing and making new medicines (Sunday March 24) - Through a series of short, interactive presentations, Astex Pharmaceuticals scientists take you on a journey into their ‘molecular mix and match’ approach to the discovery of new medicines.

The cell: a living computer in a droplet of water (Sunday March 24) - When to feed, to migrate, to die? At any moment, each of the three trillion cells making up our bodies make decisions, and our lives depend on every cell making the right decision at the right time. Dr Alessandro Esposito explores how the cell, a tiny droplet of water, makes decisions.

Artificial Intelligence assisted discovery in the battle against cancer and other diseases (Sunday March 24) - Rapid advances in 21st century biomedicine are generating vast amounts of data that can help us better understand and discover treatments for complex diseases like cancer. Dr Shamith Samarajiwa focuses on how the necessity to interpret these biomedical big data has led to the development of data science and artificial intelligence technologies.

Festival comes to Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Bird's eye vision of AstraZeneca at Cambridge Biomedical Campus. (7974034)
Bird's eye vision of AstraZeneca at Cambridge Biomedical Campus. (7974034)

On Sunday March 24, the festival comes to a close in style with a host of events at Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

The campus is home to Addenbrooke's and the Rosie hospitals, Nobel Prize winning researchers and many University of Cambridge departments. It will also be the new home for the Royal Papworth Hospital and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

Events will be held at Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology, Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Institute and at Biomakespace at the Clifford Allbut Building, from 11am to 4pm.

There will be lots of things to see and do for the young and old and everyone in between, from discovering how your body works, how cancer research is evolving and there will be the chance to talk to the people whose research is saving lives every day.

Visitors can get hands-on with DNA and genetics, find out more about healthy diets and learn how blood donors save the lives of thousands of people every day. There’ll even be the chance to find out how individuals can contribute to research on the campus too.

While a number of events such as the operating theatre and mortuary tours at Cambridge University Hospitals, the preview visits to Royal Papworth Hospital and the Teddy Bear Hospital are full, there may be returns on the day.

Malcolm Lowe-Lauri, executive director of Cambridge University Health Partners, said: “It is great to welcome the Cambridge Science Festival back to the campus. Over the years we have hosted thousands of people of all ages. They are inspired by what they see and learn from numerous health and science organisations across the site. It is wonderful for us that the interest in the campus from local people is so great. This year the tours of the operating theatres, Royal Papworth Hospital and the Teddy Bear clinic sold out in just 20 minutes. So please come and visit next Sunday and see the difference hospitals, researchers and industry are making to our health."

Visitors are encouraged to visit the Cambridge Biomedical Campus by foot, bicycle or bus but if you need to drive reduced price parking in car park 1 has been arranged. On leaving, take your unvalidated parking ticket to the car park customer service desk, say you have been to Cambridge Science Festival to be charged the lower price.

Find out more

Visit sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk.

For those events that require booking, you call the festival on 01223 766 766 between 11am and 3pm.

Read more

Our guide to the family events at the 2019 Cambridge Science Festival

'One of busiest weekends' ever for Cambridge Science Festival - and more to come

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