Brighton Science Festival

Last week was Brighton Science Festival and we managed to get to 2 events, although we did attempt a third.

The first one we attempted was the Cafe Scientifique festival special on “The Frog who Croaked Blue: Synesthesia and the Mixing of the Senses”. But we arrived too late and saw

on the door and so had to make do with a glass of wine in Browns instead…

Next up was the Big Space Show which consisted of 3 parts. The first was comedienne Helen Keen performing her show It Is Rocket Science which was an amusing and quirky look at space, rockets and science.

All in all, a great evening of learning.

The last event we attended was Big Science Saturday, a day of science talks and demonstrations.

Our first talk was The Science of Superheroes, a humourous and entertaining look into how the superheroes superpowers could be replicated in the real world. The most amazing of which, at least for me, was invisibility.

Invisiblity experiment closeup

Next was Dr Harry Witchel on The Secret Language of Negotiation which was an interesting introduction to tells and signs with some video footage to back these things up.

Dr Harry Witchel - The Secret of Negotiations

Final talk of the day was Ben Goldacre who allowed the audience to choose which talk he should do in a “choose your own adventure” style. He was fascinating, passionate and knowledgeable and we’ve since bought a copy of his book to peruse in our own time. Highlights for me were the formulas of “how to a perfect ” taken from the Daily Mail, the BBC and the Daily Telegraph

Choose your own adventure with Dr Ben Goldacre

If my teachers at school, or at least one in particular, had shown as much passion for his subject as the speakers did I might have managed to leave school with a science qualification. As it was, my Physics teacher announced on the first day of our GCSE course that “as far as I’m concerned women are only here to give pleasure to me and give birth to my children and I don’t see why I should teach you physics” which I’m sure you’ll agree is a great start to a 2 year course and something that affected my relationship with science. These type of events are a great way for me to reconnect.

Has anyone seen our Universe?

Bob Nichol
Originally uploaded by Jane Dallaway.

Last night we went to Cafe Scientifque and heard Bob Nichol talking about cosmology.

It was quite a complex subject to talk about but Bob Nichol was excellent, very engaging, enthusiastic and able to explain things to those of us who haven’t studied science in over 20 years. I’m still too baffled to consider either the supernova that will cause earth to vapourise, or the fact that there might be 11 dimensions. It was also the biggest crowd I’ve seen at a Cafe Sci since it moved to the Branch Tavern from the Terraces.

It was also good to catch up Dom, Sophie and Tom.

Upstairs at the Branch Tavern

The Cafe Sci this month was the most passionate I’ve been to yet. The topic was animal testing, with the presenter, Margaret Clotworthy (chaperoned by the Europeans for Medical Progress communications director), presenting a reasonable argument that alternatives should be evaluated to see how they compare against animal tests. Our co-host, The Exuberant Jenny, put her hands up from the start to say she held the opposite view. And so it kicked off…