Monday, 30 August 2010

The British Science Festival's coming to Birmingham! by Tulpesh Patel

The British Science Festival, organised by the British Science Association travels to cities across the UK showcasing the latest developments in science, technology and engineering, and from Monday 13 to to Sunday 18 September it’s coming to Birmingham, and even more excitingly, Aston University

Here's a montage (painstakingly put together using my awesome Paint skills!) of the posters for just a small selection of the amazing events taking place over the week.

The festival's Online Programme Page  lets you search for specific events or topics, browse day by day and has all the information on prices and booking tickets. The alternative Aston booking page lets you search events that are specifically held on the university campus. Videos giving a taste of some of the talks can be viewed here

Most of the events are free, the paid events are £3 or £5 (and probably the most popular, so it’s a good idea to book in advance), which isn’t bad for some of the amazing things you’re getting to see and take part in! For the super-keen science geek with a bulging wallet, a weekly pass for £120 (£60 for students or the unemployed) will get you into everything.

I was lucky enough to be picked for the X-change team for the festival, and one of my jobs is to pick the best speakers and help organise discussions at the end of each day. On the first go through the program, I picked only the events that got me really excited ended up with a diary that looked like this:

Realising that unless I find some way to clone myself I won’t be able to be in three places at once, I’ve tried whittling it down, but it’s proving nearly impossible. To that end though, here’s a list of just some of the events that I think would be most worth checking out if you’re pushed for time 

They are of a brain/evolution theme, as that’s what I’m most interested in, but there are practical workshops, magic and hip-hop thrown in there too!

Monday 13 September

Tuesday 14 September

Wednesday 15 September

This event is particularly close to my heart and one that I’m very excited about as it’s hosted by the department and research group I work in and showcases some of the exciting Neuroscience research that Aston is involved in. If you're so inclined, you can read about some the work I do using Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy here (excuse the shameless plug!).

Thursday 16 September

Standing Up For Science are an excellent charitable organisation that  promote evidence and scientific reasoning in public discussion and do a great job tackling misrepresentation of science and scientific evidence in the public sphere.  The excellent Voice of Young Science does some sterling work helping early career researchers get to grips with dealing with the media and giving them advice on how to stand up for science themselves. You can support the charity by donating here

Friday 17 September

Saturday 18 September

I’m a huge fan of the Skeptics in the Pub (SITP)  movement and am a part of the Birmingham SITP  and occasionally write for their great blog. Those who’ve read the few post so far on here will recognise the Princess and Starting the Aston Humanist Society articles, but there’s a bit I wrote on Science in the media  after a talk from David Gregory (BBC Midlands science and environment correspondent), who is incidentally part of the Making Science News event  with one of my heroes, Ben Goldacre.

The Skeptics Roadshow will feature bunch of short talks and discussions on topics as diverse as homeopathy, ESP, UFOs, and libel law.  If they’re anything like the monthly meetings they’re guaranteed to be informative and cracking fun!

This deserves a particular plug because I absolutely love this guy’s work and he deserves to be huge. You can listen and download The Rap Guide to Evolution here (it’s free, although you should, of course, make a voluntary donation to prove you’re not a Creationist!). Darwin’s Acid has to be one of the best hip-hop songs ever, nevermind best Darwinsim-related hip-hip songs.

Sunday 19 September

It promises to be a spectacular week celebrating the best of the fascinating research being done in and around Birmingham, and it’s guaranteed to have something for everyone.

Keep an eye out on the British Science Festival and Aston University websites for all the latest news. There will also be regular blogposts during the festival and you can follow all the goings-on on Twitter: @BritishSciFest, @TheXchangeTeam  and #BritSciFest as well as me (@Tulpesh) and @astonhumanists!

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