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Blast off to a world of physics and astronomy at this year's Norwich Science Festival

PUBLISHED: 16:03 15 October 2019

Immerse yourself at Norwich Arts Centre on Tuesday October 22 and Wednesday October 23. Picture: [UNIT]

Immerse yourself at Norwich Arts Centre on Tuesday October 22 and Wednesday October 23. Picture: [UNIT]

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Have you ever wondered what a star looks like when it is born, how you measure the speed of light or why dogs are so important to spaceflight? Head to Norwich Science Festival, October 8-26, to get the answers.

Galaxies, star clusters and nebula in deep space -  find out all about pulsars at Prof Robert Ferdman’s talk on Saturday, October 26. Picture: Getty ImagesGalaxies, star clusters and nebula in deep space - find out all about pulsars at Prof Robert Ferdman’s talk on Saturday, October 26. Picture: Getty Images

Ever since man walked on the moon 50 years ago, we've been fascinated by space. It has populated our favourite books, films and TV shows for decades and now, with the advent of commercial space tourism, more of us might get the chance to explore it.

Head to The Forum on Friday, October 25 to find out how spaceflight has changed over the years as journalist and broadcaster, Richard Hollingham, returns to his hometown to chair a panel called The Future of Human Spaceflight: The Moon, Mars and Beyond.

He will be joined by a diverse panel of experts, including space engineering consultant and founder of Rocket Women Vinita Marwaha Madil, journalist and broadcaster Sue Nelson, medical doctor and ESA researcher Beth Healey and University of Southampton researcher Christopher Ogunlesi. Together, they will discuss how spaceflight has changed since the Apollo missions and how commercial space tourism is set to bring a wider cross-section of people to orbit - and, he says, the panel will also share some important insights on how women have shaped the course of the 21st century space race.

Richard will also return to The Forum on Saturday, October 26 for Space Dogs, an exploration of how canine cosmonauts have paved the way for human exploration. "Dogs are the great unsung heroes of space," says Richard. "Every astronaut from Yuri Gagarin to Tim Peake owes their experiences to these pioneering space dogs."

What is the future of human spaceflight? Find out as Richard Hollingham presents a panel discussion on Friday, October 25. Picture: Getty ImagesWhat is the future of human spaceflight? Find out as Richard Hollingham presents a panel discussion on Friday, October 25. Picture: Getty Images

He'll detail how stray dogs from the Soviet Union paved the way for human spaceflight and look at some of the key canine cosmonauts, from Laika - the first dog sent to space in 1951 - to Belka and Strelka who, Richard says, "flew, orbited and returned to Earth to be hailed as Soviet celebrities."

If you've ever wondered how science and art can work together, then head to Norwich Puppet Theatre on Friday, October 25 from 7-8.35pm, as The Cosmic Shambles Network presents Signals, a comedy play that follows two astronomers as they hunt for alien life.

The show asks some pretty hefty questions about the search for meaning - "what if we did find aliens?" asks producer Trent Burton, "how would humanity react, how would those two individuals react?" - as well as the role of art in science.

"The Cosmic Shambles Network blurs the line between science and art - once people get over the initial idea of it, they realise it's a much more natural fit than they thought," says Trent.

The Signals is a comedy which asks some BIG questions. Picture: Benjamin ThapaThe Signals is a comedy which asks some BIG questions. Picture: Benjamin Thapa

The performance will also be followed by a talk from Stargazing Live's Professor Lucie Green as she unpicks some of the science behind the show. "There's some really nice science in the show so the talk afterwards will expand on that," says Trent. "It's a great juxtaposition between these two people, stuck at a desk, and what these questions, at the edge of the universe, could mean."

There will also be a night of music at The Octagon Chapel on Saturday, October 26 as The Sky at Night's Prof Chris Lintott presents The Crowd and the Cosmos before being joined by acclaimed musician Steve Pretty - expect a unique, out of this world evening as they perform a special version of their acclaimed show, Universe of Music.

DON'T MISS OUT

October 22-23

[UNIT]: [REACH THE MOON]

Norwich Arts Centre, 2-2.45pm, 6-6.45pm and 8-8.45pm

Cost: £4/£6/£9/£12

You may also want to watch:

Age: 5+

Immerse yourself in these audio/visual performances which celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. It will be an all-encompassing audio/visual feast which innovatively marries science with art.

October 26

Radio Blips and Blasts: Pulsars and our Understanding of the Cosmos

The Forum, Millenium Plain, 3.30-4.30pm

Cost: Free

Age: 12+

Since their discovery in 1967, observations of pulsars - the incredibly dense, highly magnetic, rapidly rotating remnants of supernova explosions - have been used to increase our understanding of fundamental physics. In this talk, UEA's Dr Robert Ferdman will discuss the state of astrophysics leading up to, 
and including, this momentous discovery.

Introduction to the Universe: Sleep Not Essential!

The Forum, Millenium Plain, 5-6pm

Cost: £5

Age: 12+

TV astronomer and author Mark Thompson will expound the wonders of the Universe in a warm-up up to his 2020 
record-breaking attempt to lecture for five days straight… with no sleep! Anything could happen.

Buy tickets and find out more at www.norwichsciencefestival.co.uk

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