By David Winlo
A palaeontologist, an astronaut and a plant scientist walk into The Forum. No, this is not the intro to a cracking science joke, but just three of the amazing guest speakers coming to this year’s Norwich Science Festival from the 21st to the 29th of October! If you’re not excited already (I for one was convinced at the word ‘dinosaurs’), read on, and you will find a reason…
Firstly, I’ll tell you more about the three scientists I picked out at the beginning. Dr Ben Garrod is a Norfolk-born palaeontologist who is returning to the county to speak about a topic you may have seen him discuss before, that being dinosaurs. Having appeared in the BBC documentary ‘Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur’, Dr Garrod will host two events on the 23rd October, in the Norwich Playhouse, where he’ll test and expand your knowledge of dinosaurs, including the infamous Tyrannosaurs, Allosaurus and its unusual hunting technique, and his own experiences of being a palaeontologist out in the field.
Next, not just an astronaut, but the first ever British astronaut, Dr Helen Sharman. Becoming an astronaut is widely regarded as being a tremendously difficult process, and therefore also a huge accomplishment, so if you’ve ever wondered just what it takes to achieve this and how it actually feels, physically and emotionally, to be up there, this is a chance you won’t want to miss. To catch Dr Sharman, head down to Norwich Cathedral on the 26th October.
Thirdly, plant scientist Susanne Masters is coming to The Forum on Sunday 29th October for two events on gin, juniper, and the science behind them. The first event of the day is a hands-on, sensory exploration of what features of a plant produces what colours, flavours, and aromas of gin. The second event offers information on the history of gin, the many varieties and nationalities of juniper, and how science got involved with it all way back when. Due to the alcoholic content of these talks, they will both be 18+, so make sure you take any underage friends to something else, and remember to tell them all about the different properties of the gin you give them for their 18th when the time comes!
All of these events are pre-booked, so hurry if you want to join in, but don’t worry if you can’t make it to them – there’s loads of other events across the festival exploring astronomy, biology, chemistry, maths, and physics, as well as the ‘Pint of Science’ events, which I think are a must, including the ‘Open Mic for Science’ night of scientific wit, and ‘Sex, Bugs, and Border Control’, which explores the fascinating social lives of insects. Whatever your interest, and however you like to engage with it, this year’s Norwich Science Festival promises. Events are priced at between around £4 and £18. The Norwich Science Festival’s main venue is The Forum, but there are several events taking place elsewhere in Norwich. See the festival’s website for full details about any event you’re interested in.
Image from the Norwich Science Festival website.