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We'll be announcing the 2018 programme soon but in the meantime, please browse last year's events!
Seeing the world through a baby’s eyes
Bring your baby along to this exhibition with a difference. Explore art created specially to appeal to your baby, inspired by the latest scientific research into infant vision, and find out what babies can see and what they like to look at. The artwork will be on display throughout the British Science Festival. Researchers from the Sussex Baby Lab will be at the gallery on Thursday 7 September to discuss the artwork and demonstrate the techniques they use to investigate how babies perceive the world around them.
Discover quantum: an immersive laboratory experience
Step into the fascinating world of quantum computing and experience the sights and sounds of the Ion Quantum Technology research lab at the University of Sussex. A group of researchers, led by Professor Winfried Hensinger, are working to build the world’s first large-scale quantum computer. From discovering new life-saving medicines to unravelling the unknown mysteries of the deepest recesses of space, this research has the potential to transform all of our lives. Come to our pop-up lab, meet the researchers and find out more about the spooky physics behind quantum computing.
Mining rare earth elements from the air
Many modern technologies such as mobile phones and wind turbines rely on rare earth elements to function. Currently, these mostly come from one mine in China and the security of their supply is uncertain. Here, Teal Riley ponders: Could the future of rare earth element mining rely on tracking down new deposits of them from the air?
Psychology 101: for parents
The day-to-day life of families can be emotionally raw and psychologically dramatic. Alison Pike, scientific expert on The Secret Lives of 4/5/6 Year Olds, provides insights for parents in directing this drama. Through stories and video, you will learn keys such as how to put yourself first without feeling guilty, manipulate your child’s behaviour, and stop sibling squabbles.
Are pesticides killing bees?
Bee populations are in decline. Neonicotinoid pesticides have been implicated in harming the health of these important pollinators, causing international debate about their usage. Could neonicotinoids wipe out bees, or is the pesticide vital for food security? Discover the latest research on this hot topic from chemical ecologist Falko Drijfhout.
Save the day
Interdisciplinary artist Charlie Hooker will be recording the British Science Festival in a unique way. Each day, as the sun tracks across the sky, its arc will be traced using a giant sunshine recorder, creating a unique artwork. This installation will be in place Tuesday to Friday during the Festival, producing one picture each day. If you would like to enter a competition to collaborate with the artist to create your own Festival Heliograph please enter the competition below. Save the day competition – closes midnight Thursday 10 August 2017 Remember your visit to the Festival with a unique picture marking the time and place on the day of your Festival visit, recorded using a giant sunshine recorder. Four lucky people will be selected to produce a unique collaborative artwork. To enter, you will need to select a pair of photographs, diagrams, texts, equations or objects that you feel represent two disciplines within the arts and sciences. These two items should be accompanied by a brief outline of why you feel they are significant and how you think they might be set out in the final design. Good quality jpegs, pdfs or Word docs can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org Previous collaborations have involved things like: a photograph of a significant place or person; sheet music; poems; hand-written equations; flowers or leaves; diagrams of stars and constellations; iconic phrases and objects. The choice is yours! The final artwork will be set out by Charlie Hooker to comprise blue and white sun-shadow cyanotype images, converted from the material you send in, overlaid by a scorched gilded sun arc, recorded at the Festival site. The material you send in should be no larger than A4. This is a collaborative Art/Science project. You can begin the design of your artwork on your own or work with others. There will be four winners, one unique artwork made each day. If you have a preference for a particular day, please mention it in your entry. The completed artwork is delivered to you within four weeks or, if you would like a day out in the country, you can visit Charlie Hooker in his studio and pick up your picture yourselves.
Augmented presence, telematic touch and virtual reality experiences are implanted into secluded booths in Horatio’s Bar, taking you on an otherworldly journey to the digital dimension. Presented akin to Edwardian scientific experiments, they are comparable to how the technologies of film, illusion and clairvoyance first appeared in amusement arcades and attractions on seaside piers. This event is supported by Arm.
Can you feel the music?
Sound is received and interpreted by our body as well as our ears. Can we bring more physicality into our musical experiences by exploring and manipulating ways in which the body interacts with and mediates sound? Enter unique listening environments with Joanne Armitage as she demonstrates her compositions through vibrating installations and bone-conducting headphones.
Stars in your eyes
A technique developed by astronomers to see clear images of stars is revolutionising eye care. Karen Hampson demonstrates how individual cells in the eye can be clearly imaged, allowing for diagnosis of disease several years earlier than current routine tests, and the new discoveries about eye health.
Invisibility cloaks have been created for light, sound and water. If we can make all these invisible, what else can we design cloaks for? It was once hoped that invisibility cloaks would allow us to protect buildings from earthquakes, but it was deemed impossible. Daniel Colquitt demonstrates how mathematics provides us with an elegant solution.
Challenge the current practices used in airport security and police investigations with psychologist Thomas Ormerod. Take part in a series of mini-experiments and discover how new techniques for analysing behaviour and language are challenging prejudices and improving detection of threat, vulnerability, and deception.
Sugar is the new fat
Public health officials say that British people eat too much sugar and have started work to reduce our intakes. Is this justified? Will they be able to change people’s diets? Discuss with our panel of nutritionists, sensory scientists, psychologists and an angry chef.
Quantum leap: building the world’s fastest computer
Earlier this year, a group of researchers led by Winfried Hensinger unveiled the first realistic blueprint for the construction of a large-scale quantum computer. Through live demonstrations, hear and visualise how this exciting breakthrough has transformed quantum computing from a theoretical concept to a technology with the potential to solve problems a billion times quicker than today's fastest supercomputers. This event is supported by Arm.
Saving the world with microscopic gravity sensors
A gravity sensor so accurate it is approaching the sensitivity required to detect the gravitational pull of a human being and fits in your pocket: a cheap, accessible alternative to the currently available commercial gravimeters. Join Richard Middlemiss, a key force in its development, as he explores how the invention could revolutionise our prediction of volcanic eruptions to save lives and livelihoods. Richard Middlemiss is the winner of the British Science Association's Isambard Kingdom Brunel Award Lecture for industry, technology & engineering. This event is supported by Arm.
LGBTQ legislation: a measure of progress?
Introducing legislation to address LGBTQ inequalities is often seen as a measure of a progress, but it is only one step we can take to improve the quality of LGBTQ people's everyday lives. Kath Browne discusses her research bringing academics and activists together to examine what makes life liveable for LGBTQ people in India and the UK.
20,000 years pre-Brexit: human evolution in Europe
How have the genetics of human populations in Europe changed in the last 20,000 years and why? In this interactive event, explore the genetics of prehistoric Europeans as revealed through ancient DNA analysis, addressing questions about recent evolution in our species and the effects of large-scale population movements.
The million-dollar shuffle: symmetry and complexity
Many complex problems become easier when they have symmetries: finding a route is easier in a city with a grid of streets than in one with a chaotic layout. Colva Roney-Dougal explores how mathematics can be used to crack symmetrical problems, and shows that sometimes symmetry itself is the issue.
Understanding the voices in your head
Everyone hears a voice in their head: their own inner speech. But some people hear voices from elsewhere when no-one is speaking. This can be distressing and associated with psychosis, or a positive and spiritual experience. What are these experiences like, and what can psychology and neuroscience tell us about them?
Risk and uncertainty in breast cancer treatment
For most women, being diagnosed with breast cancer causes significant emotional stress. The pressure of making important decisions about treatments, which often come with distressing side effects, can increase anxiety. Dame Lesley Fallowfield discusses her research into the psychological impact of breast cancer and shows how doctors can minimise stress by improving communication around risk and uncertainty of test results and recommended treatments.
Dead and buried: an anthropological tour of Woodvale Cemetery
Explore the social history of Woodvale Cemetery and consider broad questions around our attitudes to death, body disposal and commemoration with a local historian and a social anthropologist. Hear how human societies have dealt with death and burial across the globe and through time hand discuss current issues such as the rise of natural burials and the contentious topic of funeral poverty. The tour will meet at the Extra-Mural Cemetery Gate, 116 Lewes Road, BN2 3QB, opposite the BP Garage. Please arrive on time for this event, late comers will not be able to join the tour.
Alternative medicine in elite sport: method or magic?
Controversial biological therapies for injury are often used by elite sportspeople like Usain Bolt. These therapies, though legal, seldom have supporting scientific evidence. Alex Faulkner and colleagues discuss how such beliefs can persist alongside the era of medical biotechnology and highlights the complexity and ethics of medical decision-making in elite sport.
Huxley Debate: is human enhancement a human right?
With booming progress in genetics, artificial intelligence and body enhancement, the concept of ‘transhumanism’ is becoming less like sci-fi and more like something we need to plan for. The term, coined by Julian Huxley 60 years ago, now takes on new meaning. How far can our current ways of thinking extend into these quickly-evolving technologies? Will we need a new code of ethics? And should these technologies be provided to everyone? This event is supported by Coast to Capital.
Women in science: changing culture, improving diversity
The lack of women studying and working in science, technology, engineering and maths has long been seen as an issue. What can universities do to help combat this through institution culture change? Hilary Lappin-Scott will explore some of the issues, barriers and challenges we all face. There will be a networking reception following the talk. This event is supported by the FDM Group.
African food journeys: from the Bayou to Barbados
Dine with food historian Peggy Brunache and let her guide you through the archaeology and culture of creole cooking. Over three courses, explore how slavery and the movement of enslaved people has influenced food across the southern states of America and the Caribbean.
The Lanes after dark
Not your average science-in-a-pub event. We’re taking over the notorious drinkeries in The Lanes to bring you an evening of exploration and entertainment to show you that when the sun sets, science comes alive. So choose your tipple and join the bar hop in this celebration of curiosity! Participating venues:
- The Mesmerist
- East Street Tap
- Lucky Voice
- Seven Stars
- The Bath Arms
- Marwood Bar and Coffee House
- The Cricketers
Trust me, I’m an artist: displaying resistance
Explore the ethical issues that arise when art meets science and examine the consequences of artistic projects that nudge up against the newly possible. Can and should artist Anna Dumitriu exhibit fragments of DNA that cause antibiotic resistance in infectious diseases? What are the risks associated and who should be accountable? Join the debate. Presenting: Anna Dumitriu, an artist whose work fuses craft, sculpture and bioscience. Leena Hassan, a researcher at Brighton and Sussex Medical School studying antibiotic resistance. Panellists: Tim Henbrey, Head of Project Delivery at Science Gallery London. Simon Waddell, Gail Davey, and Bobbie Farsides, researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. This event is part of the internationally renowned Trust me, I’m an artist series.
Community labs, engaged online groups, affordable equipment and open access resources are providing new opportunities for people to participate in scientific research outside of traditional settings. Discuss the exciting prospects for increased cross-discipline collaboration, artistic experimentation and original research by those outside of universities and industry and debate the ethical issues and risks of biohacking and open science. Join BBC radio presenter, Kat Arney alongside researchers Bethan Wolfenden, Laura Bowater, Helen Spiers and Mark Erickson to explore these topics.
Being young in the age of perfection
We are bombarded with messages about physical standards of ‘perfection’. Pressures to conform can lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as excessive gym use and dieting, use of unnecessary supplements and misuse of illicit drugs. Take part in the conversation and discover how education, regulation and culture can contribute to supporting vulnerable young people.
Visions of the Large Hadron Collider
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s most powerful particle smasher, recreating conditions similar to those that existed in our universe shortly after the Big Bang. Join physicist Antonella De Santo, artist duo Semiconductor and humanities researcher Beatrice Fazi for a conversation on LHC science, art and philosophy.
Does the UK need a body farm?
Body farms are outdoor laboratories where donated human cadavers are used for scientific experiments. Join Anna Williams, one of the country’s leading forensic anthropologists, as she explains how they help solve crimes and outlines the case for and against the need for one in the UK.