Science talks 2014

Manchester Science Festival logoOur popular annual talks for Manchester Science Festival are bigger than ever this year, and will take place in two venues: here at Blackwell’s and at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation.

Look out for a pigeon from the past teaching us about the decline of species, the last people you expect to ignore climate change, top mathematician Alex Bellos making numbers add up for us non-mathematicians, plenty of animal sex, the story of the biggest particle hunt of all time and a spot of stargazing with TV’s Mark Thompson.

(We recommend you book for the Alex Bellos and Mark Thompson events. Click their names to book.)

Our event schedule:

A message from Martha, the world’s last carrier pigeon
Saturday, October 25th at 17:30 in Blackwell’s (see event)

Why we ignore climate change
Monday, October 27th at 18:30 in Blackwell’s (see event)

What’s your favourite number? with Alex Bellos
Tuesday, October 28th at 18:30 at the Burgess Foundation (see event) (get tickets)

Sex on earth
Thursday, October 30th at 18:30 in Blackwell’s (see event)

Smashing Physics: inside the world’s biggest experiment
Saturday, November 1st at 14:00 in Blackwell’s (see event)

Stargazing with Mark Thompson
Saturday, November 1st at 18:30 (see event) (get tickets)

See all events here

Just confirmed! The Compatibility Gene. Daniel M Davis at @McrSciFest Mon 28 Oct 2013 6.30pm

The Compatibility Gene. A free Manchester Science Festival talk.

Mon 28 Oct 2013 6.30pm here in Blackwell’s.

Ever had a bad date or called off work with the worst cold in the world? Daniel M Davis tells a scientific adventure story set in a new field of genetic discovery – that of the crucial genes that define our relationships, our health and our individuality.

We each possess a similar set of around 25,000 human genes, yet a tiny, distinctive cluster of these genes plays a disproportionately large part in how our bodies work. Daniel, a foremost immunologist, argues these few genes hold the key to who we are as individuals, how we combat disease, how our brains are wired and even how likely we are to reproduce.

This event is free and will last an hour. No booking required. For all Manchester Science Festival events at Blackwell’s, click here.

Bird sense. Tim Birkhead at @McrSciFest Wed 30 Oct 2013 6.30pm

Bird sense: what it’s like to be a bird. A free Manchester Science Festival talk in association with the Royal Society Winton Prize.

Wed 30 Oct 2013 6.30pm here in Blackwell’s.

What is it like to be a swift, flying at 100km an hour? What’s going on inside the head of a nightingale as it sings? Our affinity for birds is often said to be the result of shared senses – vision and hearing – but how do their senses compare with ours? What about a bird’s sense of taste, smell, or the ability to detect the Earth’s magnetic field?

Tim Birkhead, shortlisted author for the 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, reveals what it’s like to be a bird and how they interpret the world.

This event is free and will last an hour. No booking required. For all Manchester Science Festival events at Blackwell’s, click here.

The book of barely imagined beings. Caspar Henderson at @McrSciFest Tue 29 Oct 2013 6.30pm

The book of barely imagined beings. A free Manchester Science Festival talk in association with the Royal Society Winton Prize.

Tue 29 Oct 2013 6.30pm here in Blackwell’s.

We don’t have to invent animals like the unicorn or the manticore to encounter the surreal, the weird and the wonderful. From the Gonodactylus, a crustacean the size of a gherkin with genital-like appendages that can smash your arm, to the Quetzalcoatlus, a flying lizard as big as a Spitfire, our world has produced creatures more astonishing than anything we can dream up.

Join Caspar Henderson, shortlisted author for the 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, as he uncovers the beauty and bizarreness of a host of barely imagined – but very real – beings.

This event is free and will last an hour. No booking required. For all Manchester Science Festival events at Blackwell’s, click here.

The Simpsons & their Mathematical Secrets. Simon Singh at @McrSciFest Sat 26 Oct 2013 6.30pm

The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets. A free Manchester Science Festival talk.

Sat 26 Oct 2013 6.30pm here in Blackwell’s.

We are delighted to announce the latest addition to our Manchester Science Festival line-up.

Simon Singh, best-selling author of Fermat’s Last Theorem and The Code Book, will discuss his new book The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets.

He will explain how a team of mathematically gifted writers have covered everything from calculus to geometry, from pi to game theory, and from infinitesimals to infinity in various episodes of The Simpsons. Singh will also discuss how the writers of Futurama have similarly made it their mission to smuggle deep mathematical ideas into the series.

This event is free and will last an hour. No booking required.

The virus hunt. Dorothy H Crawford at @McrSciFest Sat 26 Oct 2013 5pm

The virus hunt. A free Manchester Science Festival talk.

Sat 26 Oct 2013 5pm here in Blackwell’s.

Dorothy H CRawford takes us on a journey around the world to recount the vital research that eventually unravelled how, when and where the virus first jumped from chimpanzees to humans to then turn into a global pandemic..

The hunt for the origin of the AIDS virus began over twenty years ago. From hospital intensive care wards to research laboratories and the African rain forests, the search became a grand tale of scientific endeavour.

Tracing the fascinating twenty year quest, Dorothy H Crawford takes us on a journey around the world to recount the vital research that eventually unravelled how, when and where the virus first jumped from chimpanzees to humans to then turn into a global pandemic.

This event, supported by Oxford University Press, is free and will last an hour. No booking required. For all Manchester Science Festival events at Blackwell’s, click here.

Disgust! Valerie Curtis at @McrSciFest Sat 26 Oct 2013 3.30pm

Disgust! A free Manchester Science Festival talk.

Sat 26 Oct 2013 3.30pm here in Blackwell’s.

Valerie Curtis explores the science behind revulsion and its evolutionary origins, and how one road leads to xenophobia while the other leads to a better world for everyone..

Don’t look. Don’t touch. Disgust, like its much better understood companions fear and love, is a powerful subconscious impulse that influences our behaviour and choices. A raft of studies show it influences what we wear, what we eat, what products we buy, who we desire, and how we vote – it even underlies our attitudes to those perceived to be outside the norm, be it overweight, disfigured or homosexual.

Valerie Curtis explores the science behind revulsion, its evolutionary origins and its hidden effects, and how one road leads to xenophobia while the other leads to a better world for us all..

This event, supported by Oxford University Press, is free and will last an hour. No booking required. For all Manchester Science Festival events at Blackwell’s, click here.