First ever city-wide science festival announced for Norwich

TV astronomer Mark Thompson is joined by children at the Forum for the launch of the Norwich Science

TV astronomer Mark Thompson is joined by children at the Forum for the launch of the Norwich Science Festival.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

From fighting super-bugs to fending off starvation, scientists have been busy at the frontline of discovery.

The replica of the Large Hadron Collider

The replica of the Large Hadron Collider - Credit: Archant

Their work will be celebrated in Norwich with the first ever city-wide Science Festival, hosted by the The Forum.

A replica of the Large Hadron Collider will form the centrepiece for the ambitious event, alongside an inflatable planetarium.

For 12 days in October, events will take place across the city, with the first four days focused on activities for schools centred around astronomy, building on the recent interest in Tim Peake's stay on the International Space Station.

Among those taking part will be scientist Lord Robert Winston, a leading expert on fertility and IVF, astronomer Mark Thompson of Stargazing Live, and physicist, oceanographer and broadcaster Helen Czerski.


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Norfolk native Mr Thompson said he was 'delighted' to be involved in the inaugural event.

'It is the first time a major festival of science is being hosted in the city and it is a great opportunity for people to find out what science is all about and for scientists and science organisations to reach out to the public and show what they do.

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'I was captivated by science at the age of 10 when I saw Saturn through a telescope and I hope the festival can not just educate but also inspire the scientists of the future.'

Festival producer Stuart Hobday said Norwich had one of the strongest bases for science activity in the country.

'Norwich Research Park has grown and UEA has developed its science research greatly in recent years.

'I am also aware that Norfolk is at the forefront of environmental, nature conservation and farming science and from the start we wanted to reflect this side of things. 'We want to inspire young people with the wonder of science and nature, and hopefully present things that will encourage them to take up scientific study with enthusiasm.'

Research in Norwich has already had a huge impact worldwide.

In the 1970s it was UEA's Climatic Research Unit that first drew the world's attention to climate change.

The university created one of the first Schools of Computing Science in the UK, now one of the largest and most experienced in the country.

Current research includes studies into ways to tackle global food shortages and investigations of human cell dysfunctions linked to disorders such as diabetes, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Helen Czerski added: 'Science is part of everyone's lives. It explains why toast falls butter side down and how plants know which way is up, as well as giving us the tools to develop new medical devices and launch satellites.

'Norwich's first major science festival will provide a fabulous opportunity for everyone to explore a rich variety of scientific ideas.'

Norwich Science Festival 2016 will run from 18-30 October. For more information go to www.norwichsciencefestival.co.uk.

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