Preview: The London Science Festival 2011

By M@ Last edited 85 months ago
Preview: The London Science Festival 2011

Ever met a Martian Rover? Want to see some nerds take over Shakespeare's Globe? Or perhaps you'd rather hear from a certain R. Dawkins of Oxford. Just a distilled fraction from a bubbling flask of events in the very first London Science Festival, which runs 19-26 October.

As a world centre of research, it's about time London had its own annual science extravaganza. Yes, we already have the Royal Society's wonderful Summer Science exhibition, but it's usually constrained to one building and a limited format. The London Science Festival, by contrast, covers tens of venues and offers everything from film screenings to stand-up comedy to the science of fashion.

The programme contains 30 separate events, many of which are already reaching sell-out (a discussion with science minister David Willetts has already booked out). We've dusted off the Londonist electrophoresis kit to separate out some of the highlights:

  • Field of Jeans: Catalytic Clothing. Find out where science meets fashion at a free installation of catalytic textiles that could help purify the air around us. You'll find it in Euston Square on 20 October.
  • Festival of the Spoken Nerd. Funny geeks Helen Arney, Steve Mould and Matt Parker will have a laugh at the Bard's expense as they take over the Globe for an evening of nerdy fun on 19 October. Royal Institution Christmas Lecturer Bruce Hood, and Piff the Magic Dragon, will also feature. Tickets £12
  • An Evening With Richard Dawkins. On 19 October, the controversial Professor follows in the footsteps of Stephen Hawking (can we say that ?- Ed) by filling the Royal Albert Hall. Cheap seats are still available for this discussion of his new book The Magic of Reality. £30
  • The Big Bang Machine. Learn all about the engineering challenges behind the Large Hadron Collider on 20 October with Jon Butterworth and Lyndon Evans. FREE
  • Spacetacular! Londonist editor M@ teams up with comedian Helen Keen to present an evening of space-themed variety. Expect stand-up comedy, proper space science, a spacey quiz, lots of tin foil and an open mic for anyone with astral anecdotes. It's upstairs at the Camden Head on 20 October, £5.
  • Bridget, Mars Rover. The test model for Europe's future Martian exploration robot can be scrutinised in UCL's Jeremy Bentham room on 22-23 October. It's free and there's no need to prebook.
  • The Space Shuttle: Final Mission and Legacy. Kevin Fong (off the tele) discusses the now cancelled US space shuttle programme at UCL, on 21 October. FREE
  • Material World: Special Recording. Head to the National Maritime Museum on 22 October to see punning R4 presenter Quentin Cooper record an outside broadcast of the popular Material World show. FREE
  • Science Question Time, The Future of Drugs. A panel of experts assemble at King's College on 25 October for a Question-Time-style debate about the future of medicine research. FREE
  • Science Museum Lates. The festival comes to a close at the Science Museum's monthly Lates evening, this time themed around climate change. FREE

More details of these and many other events can be found over at the London Science Festival site. Follow on hashtag #LSF11 and @LondonSciFest.

Disclosure: The author played a small role on the festival's steering committee.

Last Updated 11 October 2011