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Pre-festival events held at University of Cambridge Department of Engineering



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The Cambridge Festival finally gets under way on March 31 – but some ‘teaser’ events have already taken place.

Pre-Cambridge Festival events were held at Cambridge University Department of Engineering. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Pre-Cambridge Festival events were held at Cambridge University Department of Engineering. Picture: Mark Bullimore

One of these was Cambridge Festival favourites Crash, Bang, Squelch, run by University of Cambridge student group CHaOS (Cambridge Hands-On Science), which provided some weird and wonderful science along with a series of robotic workshops at the Department of Zoology last Saturday (March 19).

Meanwhile, on the same day, the Department of Engineering on Trumpington Street opened its doors for a packed day of talks, demonstrations, workshops, exhibitions and lots of audience participation. Events included kite workshops and robot displays.

Pre-Cambridge Festival events were held at Cambridge University Department of Engineering. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Pre-Cambridge Festival events were held at Cambridge University Department of Engineering. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Pre-Cambridge Festival events were held at Cambridge University Department of Engineering. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Pre-Cambridge Festival events were held at Cambridge University Department of Engineering. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Pre-Cambridge Festival events were held at Cambridge University Department of Engineering. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Pre-Cambridge Festival events were held at Cambridge University Department of Engineering. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Pre-Cambridge Festival events were held at Cambridge University Department of Engineering. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Pre-Cambridge Festival events were held at Cambridge University Department of Engineering. Picture: Mark Bullimore

Maria Kettle, outreach officer at the Department of Engineering, estimated that around 400 to 500 people attended throughout the course of the six-hour session, although not everyone who booked to attend lectures turned up.

“It was a lovely day,” Maria said. “We had lots of ‘hands-on’ stuff; we were making kites because if you want to understand how flight works, making flying toys is a powerful way to get your head around it.

“Then we had ‘the most efficient electric car in the UK’. It was the Student Society that built a solar-powered car and that was on show, and they were getting kids to try and design roll cages for cars.”

There were impressive robot demonstrations. “They do some really exciting stuff,” said Maria. “It’s really at the cutting edge – things like robots to harvest iceberg lettuces; that’s a difficult challenge because iceberg lettuces are so squishy and you’ve got to do it really fast and in a clean way. And things like packing wine glasses are really challenging to get robots to do.”

Pre-Cambridge Festival events were held at Cambridge University Department of Engineering. Pictured is the full blue racing simulator. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Pre-Cambridge Festival events were held at Cambridge University Department of Engineering. Pictured is the full blue racing simulator. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Pre-Cambridge Festival events were held at Cambridge University Department of Engineering. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Pre-Cambridge Festival events were held at Cambridge University Department of Engineering. Picture: Mark Bullimore

From health to history, there will be a host of themes across the 10 days of the main Cambridge Festival, which is organised by the University of Cambridge and supported by the Cambridge Independent. More than 90 events will assess the critical state of our environment and offer solutions.

Speakers include Sir Tim Smit from the Eden project in Cornwall, Will Saunter, co-founder of the Cambridge Alt Protein Society, Claire Dykta, UK head of strategy at National Grid, and Dr Shaun Fitzgerald, of the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge.

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) is involved too, hosting 25 events. A free talk by Dr Jane Aspell, head of ARU’s self and body lab, on Wednesday, April 6, will discover what happens when there is a mismatch between our body and brain.

Book at festival.cam.ac.uk/.

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