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Carol Vorderman

Kathy Sykes

Carol Vorderman Guest Director


We’re delighted that Carol Vorderman is this year’s Guest Director. She has put together an outstanding and personal series of events reflecting her passion for science. In our family programme she shares her enthusiasm for maths with children (SF3, p6), whilst for adults she brings her brother Anton to talk about the impact that a facial disfigurement can have in our image conscious society (S53, p14). And in Powering the UK (S8, p8), she has programmed a unique event where you, the audience, make the decisions.

Mark Lythgoe

Welcome to The Times Cheltenham Science Festival 2009. This year’s festival is better than ever: a mind-tingling feast of debate and entertainment. We’re always up for a celebration and we love stirring up a good discussion, and 2009 is the perfect year for both! A multitude of anniversaries have inspired a festival theme to defy conventional wisdom: Heresy So pick your anniversary party, sharpen your imagination and prepare to challenge your preconceptions! 2009 is Darwin Year, marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, whose ideas still cause controversy today. Interested? Try: S30 (p11) The theory of evolution by natural selection: do you have the faith? S78 (p17) The theory of body painting: one of Darwin’s lesser-known works The International Year of Astronomy celebrates 400 years since Galileo, one of our most celebrated heretics, first pointed a telescope at the sky. And the 40th anniversary of the first Moon Landing falls this year, an event that still gets the conspiracy theorists going. Over the moon? Try: S19 (p10) Copernicus: revolutionary or plagiarist? S65 (p16) Engineering the dream: celebrating the 400,000 engineers whose earthshattering achievements were overshadowed by some guy who walked on the moon 100 years ago Ernest Rutherford discovered the atomic nucleus and changed our world forever. Excited? Try: S18 (p10) Pioneering spirit: Ernest Rutherford and the heart of matter Eight years ago the first Cheltenham Science Festival was held! Just here for the party? Try: S32 (p11) Slam the Atom: survival of the wittiest S48 (p13) Beer: what kind of party would this be without a drink or two? S64 (p15) The School for Gifted Children: comedy geniuses Robin Ince and Dara Ó Briain show what would happen if you mixed The Royal Variety Show with The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures All this plus Richard Hammond is back, and he’s joined by Sebastian Coe, James Cracknell, Ben Fogle, Science Minister Lord Drayson, Evan Davis, Susan Greenfield and many more plus the fabulous Discover Zone where you can talk with scientists, try your hand and explore. It’s the best party you’ll go to this year – see you there!


Festival Features

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HERESY Science often excites controversy and challenges conventional ways of thinking, and this year’s theme finds threads throughout the programme. But the nature of heresy is really tested in our specially-devised strand of Heresy events: Provoked? Try:


S12 (p9) David Glover debates the fine line between genius and absurdity S28 (p11) Matt Ridley wonders when it’s worth swimming against the tide and when it’s better to go with the flow S57 (p15) Simon Singh declares that heresy is what makes science science

ADMISSION FREE Open 10am – 5pm every day of the festival Cheltenham Town Hall No previous science knowledge required!


Saturday 6 June 7 – 8pm Adults are always welcome but if you want a more relaxed experience come to our adults-only session.


Friday 5 June 5.30 – 6.30pm


Escape the crowds with our members-only session. For details of how to become a member, please see page 28.

NESTA FameLab is our electrifying national competition to find top UK scientists who have the passion, enthusiasm and talent to communicate science with the public. Since 2005 we have discovered many fabulous communicators and trained hundreds more. And in association with the British Council FameLab has spread Europe-wide, with nine other countries holding their own competitions this year. Find out who walks away with the prestigious NESTA FameLab crown and £10,000 prize money in the UK NESTA FameLab 2009 Grand Final on Friday 5 June (S41, p13). Then support the UK winner in the competition for the title of FameLab International Champion on Saturday 6 June (S58, p15). More information about NESTA FameLab can be found on page 21.


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Festival Features



Our fascinating series of events explores the nature of healing and the enormous risks that pioneering surgeons, patients and engineers must take in order to advance surgical technique and prolong human life.

Keen to be green? Try:

This year’s Sustainable World series covers topics as diverse as water movement and the effect of climate change on the poles.

Got surgical spirit? Try:

S8 (p8) Powering the UK: you decide how the UK should meet its energy needs

S6 (p8) The history of surgery: an often gruesome tale of brilliance and blunders

S34 (p12) Gloucestershire floods: can engineers protect our homes?

S14 (p9) Risky business: surgeons playing God?

S44 (p13) Hydration nation: keeping the UK well watered

S68–70 (p16) Try your hand: not for the faint at heart Then join us in the all new Environment Agency Café in Imperial Gardens to have a drink, relax and unwind, and chat about your festival experiences.


Engineers take ideas and turn them into reality, a reality that shapes our lives. From climate change solutions and digital technology to delicate living organisms and sensuous materials, engineering brings science to life.


Want to know more? Try: S40 (p12) Synthetic Biology: engineering life

Inspired by a speaker or topic? More questions than answers? Now the debate doesn’t have to stop at the end of the event. Visit the The Times Talking Point to continue your discussions with speakers and other members of the audience over a coffee.

S62 (p15) The Pleasure of Cars: engineering joy S67 (p16) Bloodhound SSC: engineering inspiration

Free events and activities throughout the week include Very Short Introductions by authors of the Oxford University Press book series and, on Thursday 4 June, readings from Interior Traces, a radio drama about the use of brain scanners.


Family Events

FAMILY FUN DAYS Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 June Imperial Gardens From 11am FREE

Come and join us in Imperial Gardens for some free Science Festival fun! Lots of interactive activities and live science experiments Suitable for all ages

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S46 Town Hall 7.30 – 8.30pm £6 All Ages Back by popular demand from the USA, Disney & Universal Studios performer Mik Jacobs explores the amazingly explosive science of energy and fire live on stage. Featuring fantastic facts, cinematic secrets and plenty of unforgettable demonstrations. Discover the science behind fireworks, pyrotechnics and motion picture fire stunts.


SF3 Town Hall 10.30 – 11.30am £6 Age 8 upwards Carol Vorderman, renowned for her speedy calculations, joins mathematical wizard Dr Maths (aka Steve Humble) for an exciting arithmetic challenge with plenty of puzzles and magic tricks. Delve into mathematical history and explore how maths can help you predict the future. Get your pen and paper ready for this number crunching adventure. Programmed by Carol Vorderman

Saturday 6 June FUTURE CARS

SF1 Town Hall 10 – 11am £4 Age 10 upwards What will cars on Top Gear 2020 look like? What will they run on? Take a drive to a cleaner, greener future with NESTA FameLab 2006 winner Jonathan Wood. Will you be filling your tank with hydrogen or plugging your motor in at the garage wall? With amazing images and impressive demos, explore the cars and technology that could mean saying goodbye to petrol, diesel and the outdated combustion engine forever.


Talk and Workshop SF2 Town Hall 10 – 11am £4 Age 7 upwards Are fish cleverer than we give them credit for? How have they and other animals evolved to make the most of their surroundings? With interactive activities looking at animal antics, join Claire Llewellyn, author of the Ask Dr K Fisher books, and zoologist Theresa Burt de Perera to explore how animals are amazingly well adapted to their environments.


S50 Town Hall 12 – 1pm £5 Age 11 upwards Join presenter of the The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2008 on Channel Five Chris Bishop for an interactive introduction to the exciting future of digital technology. How will we interact with computers? Will they be able to talk back or give advice? With explosions, liquid nitrogen superconductors, and mouse traps: expect loud bangs! In association with The Royal Institution

RICHARD HAMMOND’s BLAST LAB SF4 Town Hall 12.30 – 1.30pm £10 (£7) Age 7 upwards Lab coats on for some crazy experiments, extraordinary challenges, fascinating facts, and all round fun-filled science as Richard Hammond brings his secret Blast Lab to Cheltenham. Expect plenty of stunts and mess as his Lab Rats create some amazing demos and turn everyday objects into… stuff that goes bang!

Design your own Ideal Mode of Transport competition For details see page 21

Andrea Sella & Stefan Gates

Mik Jacobs


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Family Events


SF5 Town Hall 2.30 – 3.30pm £4 Age 5 upwards With some spectacular demonstrations, Dudley Shallcross and Tim Harrison explore the chemistry of the climate. What is special about the Earth’s atmosphere compared to other planets? How does pollution cause climate change? Join them for an atmospheric experience with some dry ice, liquid nitrogen and plenty of explosions!


SF10 Town Hall 10 – 11am £4 Age 10 upwards Scientists do experiments all the time, and occasionally they lead to spectacular Eureka! moments that change the world. Find out about the revolutionary ideas of Archimedes, Galileo and other famous scientists from history with NESTA FameLab 2007 finalists Martin Coath, Marieke Navin, Steve Mould and Peter Zeidman. Join them in Imperial Gardens on Saturday as they recreate three classic experiments with your help.


SF6 Town Hall 4.30 – 5.30pm £6 Age 5 upwards For years, kids have been told ‘don’t play with your food’... not any more! Brace yourselves for culinary mayhem with food fanatic and CBBC presenter Stefan Gates and chemist Andrea Sella. Investigate bizarre cooking methods and find out whether you should be eating insects. With plenty of demonstrations and audience participation they turn food and cooking into a wild, naughty, outrageous adventure.


Town Hall £5 SF7 12 – 1pm SF8 1.15 – 2.15pm SF9 2.30 – 3.30pm Age 7 upwards Join the team from Explore-At-Bristol for an investigative challenge. Work together to create your own real-life investigations, consider your evidence and reveal your conclusions. With memory games and human graphs, this is for enquiring minds young and old.

Richard Hammond


SF11 Town Hall 10 – 11am £5 Age 7 upwards Explore lands of fire, meet curious creatures, and peer into the future, as you follow Charles Darwin on his epic voyage in search of the origin of species. Join Robert Winston on a fabulous journey through evolutionary history. Find out how early thinkers believed life began and how modern scientists dramatically revealed the secrets of genes and DNA. It’s the origins of you, your friends, and every living thing on Earth.


SF13 Town Hall 2 – 3pm £4 Age 6 upwards Having a disease is not fun. Coughing, sneezing, vomiting and bleeding are generally not good things. But in the past the controversial treatments could be worse than the disease. Join the deranged, time travelling Doctor Death Simon Watt to see if he can ‘cure’ you. Warning: this show features blood, guts, gore… and a lot more!


SF14 Town Hall 2 – 3pm £7 (£6) Age 7 upwards From friction to G-force, your body is a walking, talking, living, breathing epicentre of science. Want to know how it all works? Join double-Olympic Gold medallist James Cracknell for a tour through the incredible forces that make the human body such an amazing biological, physical and chemical machine. Take a look at the explosive energy that powers your muscles, discover full-adrenaline thrills that test the body to the max and explore bionic possibilities of the future.

Chosen Hill School


SF12 Town Hall 12 – 1pm £6 Age 5 upwards In the International Year of Astronomy, Blue Peter is launching its very own satellite into space. Follow the story of Blue Peter 1 with space scientist Maggie Aderin and Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere. Explore how this satellite was created and launched and follow its journey so far. With beautiful pictures of our planet and lots of ideas for stuff to do at home.


Town Hall £6 SF15 10 – 11am SF16 11.15am – 12.15pm All Ages Can your body inspire a work of art? Find out about your fabulous organs and where they are with artist and scientist Lizzie Burns. Explore what is inside your body while designing and creating your very own arty anatomical T-shirt to take home.

Marieke Navin

Carol Vorderman


James Cracknell

Wednesday 3 June

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the impact! debate: How can science Help build a better future?

S1 Town Hall 12.15 – 1.15pm £5 (£4) Should we be able to test ourselves instead of going to a doctor? Self-test kits for things like liver function and cholesterol are readily available, and genetic tests for Alzheimer’s or breast cancer can be bought on the internet. But how reliable are they? And is it dangerous to allow access to potentially life-changing results without professional support? Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for the Department of Health, and Consultant Clinical Geneticist Peter Farndon get the measure of self-testing.

S4 Town Hall 4 – 5pm £7 (£6) Engineering and science have a huge impact on the economy. Ideas drive innovation, helping to create companies and jobs. So should the Government be investing heavily in science, technology and engineering when the pressure is on to cut budgets? And where should it focus investment to get the maximum return? Science Minister Paul Drayson joins young technology entrepreneurs Billy Boyle and Vicky Brophy to discuss how science can help build a better future for Britain.


S2 Town Hall 2 – 3pm £7 (£6) There can be few better placed than Susan Greenfield to write a book about individuality. A world expert in neurochemistry, she is also widely known for her remarkable ability to share her passion for science and for her outspoken views. Praised and criticised in equal measure, she accepts that being different will inspire extreme responses. Susan Greenfield talks to Festival Director Mark Lythgoe about the challenges and rewards of standing out from the crowd.


S5 Town Hall 4.15 – 5.15pm £6 (£5) Who are you? What are you? What were you conscious of a moment ago? For 25 years psychologist Susan Blackmore has been practising Zen meditation, not as a Buddhist but as a scientist who longs to understand the mind. Combining the latest scientific theories of self and consciousness with the ancient practice of Zen, she explores the answers to Ten Zen Questions.

Susan Greenfield

S7 Town Hall 5 – 6pm Free Scientific advancement often incites controversy and debate. The topic to be discussed at this café will be decided in the run up to the festival and will appear in festival publicity. Join Festival Director Mark Lythgoe and UK experts to discuss the hottest science issue of the moment.


S8 Town Hall 5 – 6.30pm £7 (£6) In a crowded society, with high energy demands and under the pressure of climate change, governments need to make tough decisions about how their countries are powered. In this unique event you, the audience, decide how the UK should meet its energy requirements, based on a series of pitches from a diverse panel of energy experts. How will you balance low carbon emissions with safety, cost and the local ecosystem? Programmed by Carol Vorderman



S3 Town Hall 2.30 – 3.30pm £7 (£6) Climate change can be depressing; we keep hearing that the world is going to change forever. But behind the scenes, engineers and scientists are working hard to devise realistic and achievable solutions. From carbon capture and storage to solar panels for our homes, Science Minister Paul Drayson talks to climate change expert Mark Maslin, physicist Bob Lowe, and Steven Harrison from Banks Mining about technologies that could help save the day.



S6 Town Hall 4.30 – 5.30pm £6 (£5) The history of surgery is a bloodstained tale of blunders, arrogance, mishap and murder. In trying to keep us alive, surgeons have all too often killed us off, and life-saving solutions have come from the most surprising places. BBC The One Show’s resident science expert and presenter of Blood and Guts Michael Mosley joins author Richard Hollingham to tell an incredible story of stolen corpses, medical fraud, lobotomized patients, and courageous advances that have saved the lives of millions.

Susan Blackmore

Michael Mosley


S9 Town Hall 6.15 – 7.30pm £8 (£7) Life is filled with defining moments. From a childhood amidst the steel mills of South Yorkshire to Olympic glory, a successful political career and inspirational leadership of the London 2012 Olympic bid, Sebastian Coe has always known how to capitalise on the moments that separate winners from losers. He talks to psychiatrist Alan Currie, who works with the UK Athletics Team, and BBC Radio 4 presenter Quentin Cooper about how passion, determination, focus and self-belief are the mark of a true champion.

Tim Jarvis


S10 Town Hall 6.30–7.30pm £7 (£6) Over 400,000 people in the UK are currently living with Alzheimer’s, a figure forecast to double within a generation. The disease has a devastating effect on the lives of individuals and families. Psychiatrist Simon Lovestone and sociologist John Zeisel talk to Pat Boyes, who cared for her late husband Roland Boyes MP for 11 years after his diagnosis, about our current understanding of the disease and its treatment. In association with The Alzheimer’s Research Trust


S11 Town Hall 6.30 – 7.30pm £7 (£6) Would you prefer a robot or a human surgeon? Automated technology is used more and more in surgery, designed to improve precision and reduce the risk of human error. It is even possible for surgeons to operate on patients across continents. But is there more to healing the sick than efficient, accurate operations? Professor of Surgery Ara Darzi joins Professor of Medical Robotics Brian Davies and Robert Winston to discuss the nature of healing and the role of the surgeon in 21st century medicine.

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Wednesday 3 June



Sustainable WORld Walk the talk


S12 Town Hall 7.30 – 8.30pm £5 (£4) Science history is littered with heretics, some of whom now sit with Darwin and Galileo in the Science Hall of Fame, and others who have fallen from grace and disappeared into the depths of time. But without the benefit of hindsight there’s a fine line between genius and absurdity. Channel 4 Science Editor David Glover asks Michael Mosley, Rebecca Abrams and Maggie Aderin to nominate their favourite nonconformist and discuss how you decide when the stake is a risk worth taking.

S13 Town Hall 8.30 – 9.30pm £6 (£5) The Arctic and Antarctic are witness to some of the most dramatic effects of climate change. As an adventurer, Tim Jarvis holds world records for unsupported expeditions to some of the most remote regions of the poles. As an environmental scientist, he has observed and measured the changing landscapes of these spectacular wildernesses. With breathtaking images and tales of daring-do, discover the reality of the shifting beauty at the ends of the Earth.

S14 Town Hall 8.30 – 9.45pm £8 (£7) No surgery is risk free. But some specialists are prepared to take greater risks than others, and human ‘guinea pigs’ can be used to advance surgical technique in a way that they can’t in other fields of medicine. What are the ethical dilemmas faced by today’s surgeons? And how do patients weigh up their options? Plastic surgeon Felicity Mehendale and heart surgeon Gianni Angelini join pioneering patient Mike Robins and Vivienne Nathanson, Head of Ethics at the British Medical Association, to cut to the heart of risk.

S15 Town Hall 8.30 – 9.30pm £7 (£6) Includes samples to taste

Pharmacologist Clive Page, chemist Andrea Sella and engineer Mark Miodownik curry favour with a mouth-watering fusion of science and spice. Join them to explore the many surprising health benefits of curry seasoning, from slowing Alzheimer’s to protecting against cancer or arthritis. With demonstrations and tasty samples, savour the subtle chemistry of perfectly blended spices and the delicate engineering of a crunchy poppadom.


S16 9.30 – 11pm Free Explore the night sky above Cheltenham with the Cotswold Astronomical Society. Join them in the Environment Agency Café for an introduction to astronomy before taking to the telescopic eyepiece in Imperial Gardens. Outdoor observations are fair-weather dependent

Sebastian Coe

Maggie Aderin

Powering the UK

The Science of Curry


Lord Drayson

Thursday 4 June

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S17 Town Hall 10.15 – 11.15am £5 (£4) Astronomers and cosmologists have been studying our universe for hundreds of years, but to really find out how it all began we also need to delve into the field of particle physics. Jim Al-Khalili joins Lyn Evans, project leader for CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, astrophysicist Martin Barstow and space scientist Maggie Aderin to explore how these disciplines are coming together to help us answer the big scientific questions about our universe and its origins.

S20 Town Hall 2.15 – 3.15pm £6 (£5) Stem cells offer real hope for the treatment of many diseases. The first transplant of an organ made using the patient’s own stem cells – eliminating the chance of rejection – made headlines in the autumn. And embryonic stem cells show most potential in the treatment of age-related blindness. The scientists at the forefront of these studies Anthony Hollander and Peter Coffey join Ruth McKernan and Robert Winston to discuss the promise within.


S22 Town Hall 4.30 – 5.30pm £7 (£6) Drawing on a wealth of new evidence and archival sources, a completely new explanation of how Darwin came to his famous theory of evolution has emerged. Biographer James Moore examines Darwin’s life’s work in the light of his abhorrence for slavery and his belief in human racial unity and slave emancipation - his ‘sacred cause’. The result is inescapable: nothing less than the restoration of Darwin’s humanitarianism.



S18 Town Hall 12.15 – 1.15pm £5 (£4) Pioneer of the nuclear age, Ernest Rutherford was one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. 2009 marks the centenary of the Geiger-Marsden experiment, which led to his discovery of the atomic nucleus and began a whole new field of study: nuclear physics. Rutherford’s great-granddaughter Mary Fowler and physicists Paddy Regan and Gary Mathlin join Jim Al-Khalili to celebrate the life of a man whose work changed our world forever.


S21 Town Hall 4 – 5pm £6 (£5) Our land and oceans have been spoilt by years of abuse and misuse by humans. Can we ever fully repair the damage? Will it take centuries to reverse? Is some beyond repair? The answer may be more surprising and hopeful than you might think. Meet the new generation of planet doctors: plant pathologist Ian Crute, marine biologist Alex Rogers and Camilla Toulmin, Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development.

S23 Town Hall 4.30 – 5.30pm £6 (£5) Is it true that Mahler never wrote another musical note after his meeting with Sigmund Freud? Why did Michel de Montaigne thank Fortune for having sent him the worst physical pain in human experience? Robert Winston examines hormone studies, brain imaging, sexuality and love, research into child development, drug-induced pleasure, social science research, psychological experiments and the study of the prairie vole to see how science might increase our understanding of happiness.

In association with the Institute of Physics South West Branch



S24 Town Hall 5 – 6pm Free Should brain scans that can reveal lies or intentions ever be allowed in court? How will genetic knowledge influence our medical treatment? And does a change in behaviour caused by neural problems change who you are? Festival Director Mark Lythgoe joins neuroscientist Geraint Rees, philosopher Raymond Tallis and bioethicist Christine Hauskeller to discuss how seeing the brain affects how we think about the mind, and how we should regulate the use of brain scans in the future.

S19 Town Hall 2 – 3pm £5 (£4) Copernicus is often hailed as the father of modern astronomy. But long before the great European astronomers of the Renaissance and their telescopes, Islamic scholars, virtually unknown in the west, made huge advances using incredibly accurate measurement and rigorous mathematics. Presenter Jim Al-Khalili and producer Tim Usborne tell how they uncovered a different version of history during the making of their recent BBC series Science and Islam: Copernicus, it seems, was not necessarily all he is cracked up to be.

Jim Al-Khalili

This discussion addresses questions also explored by Interior Traces, a new radio drama, performed live during the day.


Making the Planet Better


Robert Winston


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Thursday 4 June

S25 Town Hall 5 – 6pm £7 (£6) John McEnroe refused to step on the white lines of a tennis court between points, and Tony Blair always wore the same shoes for Prime Minister’s Questions. Do you ever cross your fingers, avoid walking under ladders or step around black cats? Why are we so inclined to think that unseen forces inhabit our world? Psychologist Bruce Hood explores why irrational superstitious beliefs are part of the very essence of human society.



S28 Town Hall 7 – 8pm £5 (£4) Bestselling author of Genome and The Red Queen, Matt Ridley takes on the festival theme of Heresy. He covers everything from dietary fat and stomach ulcers to crop circles, the HIV-causing polio vaccine, creationism and global warming, all towards the conclusion that it’s very hard to know when to be a heretic and when not to be: there are no handrails.




S26 Town Hall 6 – 7pm £5 (£4) How might the human body evolve if forced to live with the weightlessness of space stations or in habitats on the Moon or Mars? And how might Darwin’s natural selection have played-out for the plants and animals we may one day encounter in other worlds? Lewis Dartnell shows you the real face of ET and explores the fascinating realm where evolutionary biology meets exotic worlds!

S29 Town Hall 8 – 9pm £6 (£5) In nature the same patterns can be found in very different and unexpected settings. Compare a fork of lighting to the branch of a tree or the windblown ripples of desert sand to a zebra stripe. Philip Ball explores nature’s palette of patterns, where they come from, why they share common themes, and why they are so beautiful. With some spectacular demonstrations from chemist Andrea Sella, be prepared to start seeing the world around you with fresh eyes.

S31 Town Hall 9 – 10pm £5 (£4) Over 16s only! Males and females aren’t always very nice to each other, and we’re not just talking about humans! Some creatures think only of procreating and nothing of halving their mate’s lifespan or even ending it. Mother Nature has created many weird and wonderful penises, from those that look like a corkscrew to ones that are 5m long. What would you do with two? Join risqué NESTA FameLabber Ed Sykes for an eye-opening look at sex in the animal world that brings a whole new meaning to the term Battle of the Sexes!

S32 Town Hall 9pm – late £6 (£5) It’s survival of the wittiest tonight as fifteen unorthodox performance poets compete to evolve into the evening’s ultimate spoken word creation. Who will be Darwin-ner or Dar-loser? MC2 Sara-Jane Arbury and Marcus Moore collect the data, while random judges rate the writing, assess the performances and make a natural selection from the specimens on show. In the world of slam poetry, extinction is only a point away…


S27 Town Hall 6.30 – 7.30pm £7 (£6) Most scientists and governments agree that testing on animals should be avoided wherever possible, and in the UK it is a legal requirement. Could there be a time when scientists might finally be able to give up testing on animals altogether? Cell biologist Kelly BéruBé, Catherine Gayle from the Virtual Physiological Human project and science fiction writer Paul McAuley join New Scientist Editor Roger Highfield to explore animal alternatives now and for the future. In association with New Scientist

Lyn Evans


S30 Town Hall 8.45 – 10pm £8 (£7) 200 years after the birth of Charles Darwin, his theory of evolution by natural selection remains at the centre of a theological battleground. Usama Hasan, computer scientist and part-time Imam at the Tawhid Mosque in London, and Reverend Michael Reiss, Professor of Science Education and former Director of Education at the Royal Society, join Raymond Tallis, atheist doctor and philosopher, and Robert Winston, Jewish Professor of Science and Society, to explore how they reconcile their faiths with their scientific understanding of evolution.

Shaping Nature

S33 9.30 – 11pm Free Explore the night sky above Cheltenham with the Cotswold Astronomical Society. Join them in the Environment Agency Café for an introduction to astronomy before taking to the telescopic eyepiece in Imperial Gardens. Outdoor observations are fair-weather dependent

Sara-Jane Arbury & Marcus Moore


Friday 5 June

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sustainable world FLOOD defenCe


S34 Town Hall 10.15 – 11.30am £6 (£5) In 2007 much of Gloucestershire was under water, with many homes and possessions seriously damaged. Yet we are planning to build more houses on flood plains to accommodate a growing population. Can clever engineering and design safeguard our homes and livelihoods? Civil and environmental engineers Richard Ashley and Gareth Pender, geographer Lindsey McEwen from the University of Gloucestershire and Tom Oliver from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England assess current thinking.

sustainable world CLIMATE CHANGE: whose responsibility?

S35 Town Hall 12.30 – 1.30pm £6 (£5) When it comes to tackling climate change many people feel that anything they do is just a drop in the ocean, so why bother? To be effective we all need to work together. Jonathon Porritt talks to Minister for Climate Change and Energy Joan Ruddock, Daniella Tilbury, Director of Sustainability at the University of Gloucestershire, and environmentalist Tony Juniper about how we encourage everyone to do their bit to ensure our low carbon future.

Flood Defence

S36 Town Hall 2 – 3pm £7 (£6) Arguably, the Green Movement is more influential now than it has been since the late 1980s, and would clearly have a major impact on electoral politics over the next year. But can direct action sit comfortably alongside conventional lobbying or party politics? Jonathon Porritt considers how it will handle today’s increasingly controversial scientific debates around climate change, nuclear power and GM.


S39 Town Hall 4.30 – 5.30pm £5 (£4) With energy bills going through the roof and 27% of UK carbon emissions coming from our homes, how can we turn our old, drafty, power-hungry buildings into oases of energy efficiency? And what creative solutions are going into new developments? Jonathon Porritt joins engineer Mike Kelly, Richard Miller from the Technology Strategy Board and architect Craig White, Director of White Design, to discuss the latest technology in the battle against carbon.


S37 Town Hall 2.30 – 3.30am £6 (£5) Life on the inside is a far more delicate balance than you’d imagine. The number of bacteria in your body outweighs the number of human cells by a factor of ten, and they all work together in beautiful harmony. But the few disease-causing bacteria are giving bugs a bad name. How are we going to cope with increasing antibiotic resistance? Can we really top up our ‘good bacteria’ with pro-biotic drinks? Mike Wilson discusses good and bad bugs.


S40 Town Hall 4.30 – 5.30pm £6 (£5) Computer designed DNA and engineered cells sound like things from science fiction, but they may not be so far-fetched. Would you upgrade your DNA to permanently protect against cancer, or have an injection of man-made proteins to treat a disease? Could the technology be used to create biological weapons? Two scientists at the forefront of synthetic biology research John McCarthy and Ben Davis join social scientist Jane Calvert to share their excitement and concerns about artificially engineering life.


S38 Town Hall 2.30 – 3.30pm £5 (£4) Our health and wellbeing, our native plants and animals and our economy all depend on how we choose to use our land. With increasing population pressures and a recession in full swing, how do we balance the needs of housing, agriculture, transport and business without losing our restful green spaces? Urban planner Mark TewdwrJones and Tom Oliver from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England debate the value of land.

Jonathon Porritt

Greener Homes



S41 Town Hall 4.30 – 6.30pm £6 (£5) Who will walk away with £10,000? Join the UK’s top ten new science presenters as they compete for the NESTA FameLab title. Each has just three minutes to make a science topic understandable and appealing to you and our fabulous judges, including Festival Directors Kathy Sykes and Mark Lythgoe and Channel 4’s David Glover. Quentin Cooper guides you through the excitement as competitors pull apart physics, clear up chemistry, enlighten you about engineering and unravel the realms of science. Who will the judges choose? Who will you choose?

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Friday 5 June

sustainable world WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE?


S44 Town Hall 6.30 – 7.30pm £6 (£5) Some argue there is no excuse for water shortages in a water-rich nation like Britain, and we should build ambitious new infrastructures such as a ‘national grid’ of water. Others think we should be curbing demand to minimise our impact on the environment. Water engineer and chair of The Great Debate Caspar Hewett and Bruce Horton, environmental adviser for Water UK, join Trevor Bishop from the Environment Agency and Jonathon Porritt to discuss the future of hydrating the nation.

PANDEMICS outbreak


S42 Town Hall 5 – 6pm Free A chance to debate some of the most current topical issues with leading thinkers. Join New Scientist Editor Roger Highfield and some of today’s speakers to discuss events at the festival and the news behind the headlines this week.

S45 Town Hall 6.45 – 7.45pm £7 (£6) A global society comes with global health risks. In 1918, a bird flu called H1N1 swept the world, killing over 60 million people and infecting a billion. In today’s more mobile society the threat of a modern global pandemic is significant. How would we cope? How are governments preparing? Neil Ferguson, who models the spread of infectious diseases, joins virologist John Oxford to discuss the very real risk of a worldwide flu outbreak.


S47 Town Hall 8.30 – 9.30pm £8 (£7) News Flash: a deadly flu pandemic is sweeping the world and the first case has been reported in the UK. Join Nigel Lightfoot from the Health Protection Agency and Vivienne Parry as they, and you, the audience, are forced to make decisions in response to breaking news. Charged with managing the outbreak and public health, your decisions could affect the lives of millions.


S48 Town Hall 9 – 10.30pm £14 (£12)

S43 Town Hall 5 – 6pm £5 (£4) Mercury is the most beautiful element in the periodic table, and the most reviled. The only liquid metal, its unusual chemistry has opened a window to the invisible world of atoms and molecules. With plenty of demonstrations, including the incredible mercury beating heart and the mysterious barometric light, chemist Andrea Sella explores mercury as a liquid and, spectacularly, as a solid and a gas.

Andrea Sella

S46 Town Hall 7.30 – 8.30pm £6 Back by popular demand from the USA, Disney performer Mik Jacobs explores the amazingly explosive science of energy and fire live on stage. Featuring fantastic facts, cinematic secrets and plenty of unforgettable demonstrations, discover the science behind fireworks and movie fire stunts. Setting you alight, whatever your age.

Includes beer tasting, over 18s only

Beer has been around for 6,000 years and more than 2 billion of us drink it today. Countless beers are available but they all boil down to just five ingredients: water, yeast, hops, grain and the ancient science of biochemistry. Come and have one on us with brewing scientist Katherine Smart, chemist Andrea Sella and Roland Elliott-Berry from Cheltenham’s Battledown Brewery. In association with Battledown Brewery

Water, Water Everywhere?




Saturday 6 June

For more info and to book online


S49 Town Hall 10 – 11am £6 (£5) Does a high childhood IQ affect how clever or happy you will be in later life? Will it increase your chances of staying well and surviving into old age? In 1932 and 1947, over 150,000 11-year-olds took part in the Scottish national intelligence tests, the only studies to date to test an entire population. What happened to them afterwards? Psychologist Ian Deary was part of a team that tracked some of them down and re-tested the now-elderly subjects. Join him to capture a lifetime of intelligence.


S50 Town Hall 12 – 1pm £5 Join presenter of the The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2008 on Channel Five Chris Bishop for an interactive introduction to the exciting future of digital technology. How will we interact with computers? Will they be able to talk back or give advice? With explosions, liquid nitrogen superconductors, and mouse traps: expect loud bangs! In association with The Royal Institution


S51 Town Hall 12 – 1pm £6 (£5) The World Health Organisation lists Obsessive Compulsive Disorder amongst the top ten most debilitating illnesses. But someone who is meticulous, a perfectionist or particularly preoccupied by something is commonly described as obsessive compulsive. So what is OCD, and how many of us are affected? Psychologists Sam Chamberlain and Paul Salkovskis talk to Diana Wilson, a young mother who has learned to manage her obsessive thoughts.

A Lifetime of Intelligience

sustainable world cape farewell


S52 Town Hall 2 – 3pm £7 (£6) Who are we and where do we come from? Genetics, archaeology and fossils come together to provide some answers. Amazingly, we can all trace our ancestry back to Africa, where our species appeared around 200,000 years ago. Dr Alice Roberts, presenter of the BBC series, tracks the ancient migrations that took our ancestors to the corners of Earth: through stones, bones and genes, the story of our incredible human journey unfolds.

S54 Town Hall 4 – 5pm £6 (£5) Cape Farewell sets out to pioneer the cultural response to climate change, bringing together leading artists and scientists for expeditions into the wild and challenging High Arctic. Together they have mapped, measured and been inspired by this fragile environment and have brought home stories and artworks that tell how a warming planet is impacting on this wilderness. Poet and author Lemn Sissay, climate scientist Mark Maslin and choreographer and science teacher Subathra Subramaniam discuss their experiences with fellow voyager and BBC Radio 4 presenter Quentin Cooper.

Chosen Hill School


S53 Town Hall 2 – 3pm £6 (£5) In our image conscious society a facial disfigurement, from birth, accident, paralysis or skin condition, can be a painful psychological ordeal for those affected and for their families. Guest Director Carol Vorderman is joined by her brother Anton Vorderman, who was born with a cleft lip and palate, James Partridge from the charity Changing Faces, who was severely burned in a car fire, and plastic surgeon Felicity Mehendale to discuss the choices and challenges of living with a facial disfigurement.


S55 Town Hall 4 – 5pm £7 (£6) Global financial meltdown is making headlines day after day; people are losing their jobs and the pounds in our pockets don’t go as far as they used to. Economics profoundly affects our history, culture and lifestyles, yet most of us have little more than a basic grasp of how the world economy works. BBC economics guru and presenter of Dragon’s Den Evan Davis explores the reasons for the credit crunch, and how we can get out of it.

Programmed by Carol Vorderman


S56 Town Hall 5 – 6pm Free A chance to debate some of the most current topical issues with leading thinkers. Join Festival Director Kathy Sykes and some of today’s speakers to discuss events at the festival and the news behind the headlines this week.

Lemn Sissay

Evan Davis


Alice Roberts


S57 Town Hall 6 – 7pm £6 (£5) Simon Singh, author of several bestselling books about science, discusses the heretical ideas that are central to his stories. With tales of the heretics who dared to suggest that the universe started with a Big Bang, those who attempted to prove Fermat’s Last Theorem, and those with the audacity to crack supposedly unbreakable codes, he discovers that while all great truths begin as heresies, not all heresies become great truths.

Box Office 0844 576 7979

Saturday 6 June



S60 Town Hall 6.45 –7.45pm £8 (£7) The Times Debate, renowned at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival for its spirited and enjoyable discussion, comes to the Science Festival for the first time. What does your DNA mean for your health? And how much should you – and others – know about it? Mark Walport, Chief Executive of the Wellcome Trust, joins Mark Henderson, Science Editor for The Times, and other eminent scientists and commentators for a lively debate about your genetic future. See for more details and information about speakers


S58 Town Hall 6.30 – 8pm £5 (£4) Support the UK NESTA FameLab winner, chosen at the festival on Friday, as they compete against nine international FameLab winners from around Europe. Join host Quentin Cooper in an entertaining and enthralling journey to crown the champion of FameLab International 2009!


S61 Town Hall 8 – 9pm £5 (£4) Just as we are all unique so is the way that we experience pain, whether it is a paper cut or a serious illness. But what is pain? And why do we feel it? Robert Winston joins neuroscientist Irene Tracey from the University of Oxford, Michael Heinrich, Professor at the school of Pharmacy, University of London and chronic back pain sufferer Maggie Hayward to explore a life with pain and how it can be managed.


S59 Town Hall 6.45 – 7.45pm £7 (£6) First tested on human beings at last year’s festival, Cheltenham’s own science game show returns. This year’s clever comedians and funny scientists include Dara Ó Briain and Robin Ince, Harry Witchel and Vivienne Parry, and Festival Director Mark Lythgoe. Aided (or impeded) by the experts of the Boffin Box, the teams compete for points allotted by capricious quizmistress Timandra Harkness.

Robert Llewellyn

Robin Ince

Simon Singh

Timandra Harkness


S62 Town Hall 9 –10pm £8 (£7) In today’s eco-age driving has become a guilty pleasure. But cars are so much more than a means of getting from A to B: a sexy design, a sumptuous interior, and the adrenalin-filled thrill of speed are all part of their allure. Scrapheap Challenge presenter Robert Llewellyn joins psychologist Harry Witchel to discuss what it is about cars that gets our motors running.

Apollo Mysteries

S63 Town Hall 9 – 10pm £6 (£5) Neil Armstrong’s famous words as he placed his left foot on the moon’s surface were heard across the world by millions. But they did not reach Earth as he intended. What happened to the missing ‘a’ in ‘That’s one small step for [a] man..’ ? Was it lost in static or a slip of the tongue? Join Chris Riley and John Olsson to explore this and other fascinating Apollo mysteries.


S64 Town Hall 9 – 10.30pm £10 (£8) Erudite funny-man Robin Ince presents a fabulous night of debate, polemic and glorious comedy with Ben Goldacre, Simon Singh, comedian Dara Ó Briain and probably a few others as well. A delicious romp where stand up comedy and science clash, creating a night that is The Royal Variety Show if it were spliced with The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.

Dara Ó Briain

Sunday 7 June

Book online



S65 Town Hall 10.15 – 11.15am £5 (£4) Neil Armstrong is famous for being the first man to walk on the moon, but 400,000 unsung heroes got him there. From the capsule – a miniature world that kept three men alive for two weeks – to the rover, which could fold up into a space the size of a car boot, Chris Riley celebrates the amazing feats of engineering that led to one giant leap for mankind.

Town Hall £6 Over 16s only S68 1.15-2.15pm S69 2.30-3.30pm S70 3.45-4.45pm How much do you know about what goes on beneath your skin? With live demonstrations and the chance to try your hand at dissection, anatomist Jenny Dunleavy guides you through the incredible organs at the heart of life.


S66 Town Hall 12 – 1pm £7 (£6) Free Beer for everyone. Not entirely true, but it caught your attention didn’t it? Advertisers and marketing experts have to be creative about catching your eye and pushing your ‘buy’ button. Top ad-man Winston Fletcher joins psychologists Harry Witchel and Sam Hutton to explore the psychology of choice, the neuroscience of attention and whether brain scanners will allow advertisers to target their campaigns more effectively than ever before.


S67 Town Hall 12.15 – 1.15pm £7 (£6) The Bloodhound Project is an iconic engineering adventure to inspire a new generation of British technologists, scientists and mathematicians. At its heart is a seemingly impossible challenge: to design and build a car capable of exceeding 1000mph. Uniquely, every step of this journey, from initial cutting-edge research to subsequent record-breaking runs, is being shared with students in schools, colleges and universities. Aerodynamicist Ben Evans and Project Director Richard Noble discuss designing a car more advanced that a space ship and faster than a bullet.

Engineering Apollo


S73 Town Hall 4 – 5pm £6 (£5) In this new Channel 4 series, a team of international experts dissect some of the largest species on earth to uncover clues to their evolutionary past. Ever wondered how the elephant got its trunk, how the giraffe grew its neck or how the whale ‘walked’ into the sea? With amazing clips, Executive Producer David Dugan and presenter Simon Watt discuss what they found beneath the skin of these animals and the extraordinary similarities and differences between them.


S71 Town Hall 2.15 – 3.15pm £6 (£5) A Large Hadron Collider of an event, in which high-energy scientists go round and round in circles, while splitting infinitives and transforming what matters into what anti-matters. Obscure scientific words and phrases undergo almost believable analysis from Festival Directors Kathy Sykes and Mark Lythgoe, ably hindered by Robert Winston, Steve Mould, Alice Roberts and Harry Witchel. Dictionary-addicted Marcus Moore points out the emergency exits.


S74 Town Hall 4 – 5pm £7 (£6) The world needs a few heretics: the freedom to doubt and challenge prevailing wisdom and the confidence to swim against the tide helps to keep society moving. Every now and then one of them comes good. But mostly they don’t. The Guardian journalist Ben Goldacre separates truly original thinking from simple Bad Science.


S72 Town Hall 3.30 – 4.30pm Free An opportunity to give Festival Directors Mark Lythgoe and Kathy Sykes your views about The Times Cheltenham Science Festival 2009 and contribute ideas for next year.

Animal Autopsy

Bloodhound SSC


Box Office 0844 576 7979


S75 Town Hall 4.15 – 5.15pm £7 (£6) The UK has one of the most advanced digital surveillance systems in the world, and it is watching you. Professor of Artificial Intelligence Nigel Shadbolt, systems engineer Martyn Thomas and Ed Gibson, Chief Security Advisor at Microsoft UK and former FBI special agent, share inside information about how our everyday activities – from credit card spending to internet use – are monitored, recorded and used for anything from tracking international criminals to recording our complex shopping habits.


S77 Town Hall 6 – 7pm £6 (£5) Come rain or shine, our changing weather is a favourite topic across Britain. But how easy is it to predict the weather accurately? Find out for yourself in our weather forecasting competition throughout the week* then join BBC weather presenter Peter Gibbs to see how the experts do it. In association with the Royal Meteorological Society *see details at and posters at the festival



S76 Town Hall 6 – 7pm £8 (£7) World security concerns such as trans-national crime and regional unrest require sophisticated digital informationgathering and knowledge-sharing. But is global hyper-surveillance endangering our personal freedom? What if our personal data falls into the wrong hands? Nigel Shadbolt, Ed Gibson and A C Grayling attempt to balance national security with personal privacy.

S78 Town Hall 6.15 – 7.15pm £7 (£6) What does your hair say about you? It can reveal health, culture, personality, even your innermost desires. Why are some of us really hairy and desperate to get rid of it, whilst others are lacking and keen for more? Materials scientist Mark Miodownik examines the psychology of hair, Darwin’s theory of body painting and other bald facts and overgrown fluff with hirsute physiologist Harry Witchel and follicularly challenged biochemist Terence Kealey.


S80 Town Hall 8 – 9pm £10 (£8) For the first time since Captain Scott’s ill-fated race to Antarctica in 1913, a handful of international teams were granted permission to race each other, on foot and dragging their food, tents (and rubbish) with them, to the South Pole. Two members of Team QinietiQ – doubleOlympic Gold medallist James Cracknell and TV presenter Ben Fogle – talk about the mental and physical challenges of their incredible journey across the frozen continent.

CLEM BURKE DRUMMING PROJECT S81 Town Hall 8.15 – 9.15pm £6 (£5) You don’t have to be sporty to keep fit: a rock drummer has as much of a workout during a gig as a premiership footballer during a match. And drumming-based interactive computer games could provide real physical and mental health benefits. Explore the science and feel the beat with neuroscientist Steve Williams, sports scientists Steve Draper and Marcus Smith and a special guest drummer.


S79 Town Hall 7 – 8pm £6 (£5) Our two demo demons might have bitten off more than they can chew with this collection of spectacular experiments – magnets, waves, non-Newtonian fluids and flames like you’ve never seen them before. Chemist Andrea Sella, now notorious at Cheltenham for his startling, bizarre, and sometimes terrifying demonstrations, challenges NESTA FameLab 2007 finalist and TV presenter Steve Mould: go big or go home!

Weather Watch

Terence Kealey



James Cracknell & Ben Fogle

Science for Schools

Book online

Sponsored by


SS15 Town Hall 9.30 – 10am Key Stage 1 SS16 Town Hall 10.30 – 11am Key Stage 1 Join the team from the Science Museum and help the Three Little Pigs build a strong house. Learn about materials and their properties as you become part of the famous story and make predictions about what will work best. Will the Big Bad Wolf be able to huff…puff…and blow your strong house down?

Wednesday 3 June



SS17 Town Hall 10 – 11am Key Stage 3 Back by popular demand from the USA, Disney performer Mik Jacobs presents the amazingly explosive science of pyrotechnics live on stage. Unforgettable, mind-blowing demonstrations explore oxygen, chemical reactions and the burning process and discover the secrets behind fireworks and movie fire stunts.

SS1 Town Hall 10 – 11am Key Stage 2 How does a plane fly? Why does a hot air balloon rise? What is an air vortex? Join Acid Alex from Mad Science for spectacular, unique experiments and discover how powerful the air around us can really be. If you’re really lucky, you might even ride the Mad Science hovercraft!



SS2 Town Hall 10 – 11am Key Stage 3 Who are we and where do we come from? Join festival favourite Dr Alice Roberts to find out how genetics, archaeology and fossils come together to provide some answers. Trace our ancestry back to Africa and follow the small group of pioneers who went on to populate the rest of the world. Through stones, bones and genes, the story of our incredible human journey unfolds.

SS18 Town Hall 12 – 1pm Key Stage 4 Come prepared for the nasal experience of a lifetime! An interactive talk for all noses, exploring the world of chemical communication using pheromones. Join scientist and born entertainer Graeme Jones to find out how moths chat each other up, how to talk to a bee, and whether pheromones can help with those awkward “will you go out with me” moments. Plus, if you have never danced like a molecule now is your chance!





SS3 Town Hall 12 – 1pm Key Stage 2 (Years 5 & 6 only) The Mission: to break the world land speed record by building a car that can reach 1000mph! Join the engaging team from science made simple for a rev-tastic look at the Bloodhound project. With interactive demonstrations find out all about Newton’s laws, thrust, drag, friction, materials, rocket tests, and how understanding all of this can help build a car that’s faster than a speeding bullet.

SS19 Town Hall 12 – 1pm Key Stage 3 Explore the hows, whys and watts of electricity and magnetism with the team from the Science Museum. Watch a Faraday cage protect a mobile phone from a quarter of a million volts and find out what it is like to have electricity flow over your skin. This truly electrifying experience uses hair-raising, high-voltage demonstrations to bring the world of atoms, electrons and electric charges memorably to life.

Town Hall SS4 12 – 1pm Key Stage 3 SS5 1.30 – 2.30pm Key Stage 2 John Kilcoyne, star of popular show Brainiac, and Jeff Teasdale bring chemistry to life in a show that sometimes fizzes and sometimes BANGS! The hilarious double act use plenty of demonstrations that you just can’t do in the classroom. With explosions, flashes, howling noises and spontaneous combustion, it’s chemistry… and fun!

SS20 Town Hall 2 – 3pm Key Stage 3 How do you send a rocket to a distant planet or look deep into the universe? Join Martin Barstow to find out what real rocket scientists do. Follow the team as they prepare a space mission for launch, share their frustrations and their excitement and experience a ride on a gigantic firework as it locks onto a dying white dwarf star. This really is rocket science!



Town Hall Key Stage 3 SS21 10 – 11am SS22 11.15am – 12.15pm SS23 12.30 – 1.30pm SS24 1.45 – 2.45pm SS25 3 – 4pm What’s in the toothpaste you use every day? Why does it foam? Explore the chemistry of teeth-cleaning and run your own experiments with the team from Bristol ChemLabS. From flavourings to fluoride and alkalinity to ‘runniness’ find out what toothpaste contains and how understanding the chemical properties helps to make the perfect solution for your teeth.

Town Hall Key Stage 2 SS7 10 – 11am SS8 11.15am – 12.15pm SS9 12.30 – 1.30pm SS10 1.45 – 2.45pm SS11 3 – 4pm Slime is a strange substance. Left to its own devices, it oozes like a liquid; give it a push or a pull, and it’s stiff like a solid. Join the team from the Science Museum to look at materials and how they change and transform. You will even make a slippery souvenir to take home at the end of the day!


Town Hall Key Stage 3 SS12 9.30 – 11am SS13 11.30am – 1pm SS14 1.30 – 3pm How do codes and ciphers work and how are messages sent? Join Simon Kettle from STEMworks and staff from GCHQ to build a message transmitter to send your own secret code. Working in teams of three, devise, construct and test a mechanical or electrical system which sends a secret message across the room.


Box Office 0844 576 7979

Science for Schools

Friday 5 June WE ARE ELECTRIC!

SS26 Town Hall 10 – 11am Key Stage 2 From frogs to shocks; from stars to sparks; David Wharton looks at how electricity holds all matter – including us – together. With live demonstrations that spark, fizz and pop - it’s enough to make your hair stand on end! Physics, biology, chemistry - it’s all here!


Town Hall SS27 11am – 12pm Key Stage 2 SS28 12.30 – 1.30pm Key Stage 1 Did you know that real circus performers use science all the time? Guinness World Record holder James Soper explores how gravity, magnetism, balance, pushes, pulls and twists all work and combine while showing off his amazing circus skills. With plenty of audience participation, discover the science behind some spectacular juggling and balancing tricks.

Alice Roberts

Three Little Pigs


SS29 Town Hall 12 – 1pm Key Stage 2 See event SS17 for details


Town Hall Key Stage 2 SS30 10 – 11am SS31 11.15am – 12.15pm SS32 12.30 – 1.30pm SS33 1.45 – 2.45pm SS34 3 – 4pm

Danger High Voltage

Join the team from Techniquest for this solar-powered challenge. Depending on age group you will design and build a spinning fairground ride (years 3 and 4) or a vertical winch (years 5 and 6), powered solely by solar energy.


SS6 Nelson Thornes Wednesday 3 June 6 – 7pm (Followed by complimentary drinks reception) Free Exclusively for teachers Derek Bell, former Chief Executive of the ASE and now Head of Education at the Wellcome Trust, heads this varied panel of eminent scientists in a lively discussion about making science relevant in schools. Discuss bringing science to life in the classroom with real life examples and the huge range of careers available for those who study science.

Mik Jacobs

For more information see

Bloodhound Supersonic Car

Please visit for booking details and to download a full education pack 19

James Soper

using science to create a better place

Science underpins everything the Environment Agency does. Our experienced team of over 200 scientists work in partnership to carry out scientific research leading to innovative solutions, tools and techniques that allow us to enhance and protect the environment in England and Wales.

To find out more, please visit: or email:

Box Office 0844 576 7979

NESTA FameLab is our exhilarating national competition to find new voices of science and engineering. Ten finalists have just three minutes to impress you and our judges in the NESTA FameLab Grand Final on Friday 5 June (S41, p13). Just as talented authors, actors and singers are awarded, so we think it’s important to recognise and encourage those who have a real flair for sharing their passion for science and engineering. There’s a fantastic £10,000 prize for the winner and £5,000 for the runner up; and all the finalists get to take part in a masterclass led by some of the country’s best talent coaches. And it’s not only the brilliant UK finalists appearing in Cheltenham this year! On Saturday 6 June support the 2009 UK winner in the FameLab International Final (S58, p15) as they compete against the winners from nine other European countries for the title of



Cheltenham Science Festival has gone international!


In 2008, Cheltenham Festivals became the first organisation in the world to transfer a Science Festival between countries. SciFest 08, co-produced by Cheltenham Festivals and The Saint Louis Science Center, took place in Missouri, USA, in October.

Imagine turning up to school every day in your very own Ideal Mode of Transport, or iMOT.

It was hugely successful, with all of the debates on hot topics, eminent scientists and amusing evening entertainment that Cheltenham is renowned for. And three Cheltenham favourites – Harry Witchel, Timandra Harkness and NESTA FameLab 2005 winner Mark Lewney – crossed the Atlantic to speak to a new and enthralled audience. SciFest 09 takes place in St. Louis 6 –11 October 2009 Visit for more details And look out for more Cheltenham International festivals in the future!

FameLab International Champion.

Imagine all your friends asking if they could have a go? What would it look like? Would it have the best bits from a bike, a car, a skateboard, or an aeroplane or rocket all put together? Or would it be something totally different? Use your imagination to design your own iMOT. Think big or small – we don’t mind – but thinking of the Environment is a must! Brilliant prizes and goody bags to be won in two age categories: 7-10 and 11-15. Send your design on one side of A4 by 27 April to: Luiza Patorski, The Times Cheltenham Science Festival, 109 Bath Road, Cheltenham GL53 7LS. Write your name, age, email or postal address and phone number on the back. See

For more information about NESTA FameLab and details of all the winners and finalists, visit

for more information.

NESTA FameLab is run in the UK in partnership with NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, and internationally with the British Council

Lindsey Stenhouse

Scifest 08

Design a Robot competition entry 2008


leading the way in innovative science As the leading discoverer and developer of ground-breaking new medicines, Pfizer engages in innovative science to help address major unmet medical need around the world. Whether it is using the human genome to identify new drug targets; pioneering novel approaches to HIV therapy or delivering the world’s first inhaled insulin, our scientists are always at the cutting edge of medical research. Here at Pfizer, science is in everything we do and we are proud to support the Cheltenham Science Festival.


To find out more about Pfizer, visit

Take a closer look at the

University of Gloucestershire

0844 801 0001 University of Gloucestershire

a creative partnership with the Cheltenham Festivals

British Energy,now part of EDF Energy,is delighted to be the Cheltenham Science Festival’s education partner for a second year. We hope our continued support of the festival inspires young people to become the scientists and engineers of tomorrow.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council



Follow the IMPACT! trail around the Discover Zone: explore the impact of science on society by looking for the exhibits marked by the IMPACT! signs.


How can science help build a better future? Wednesday 3rd June



Can we solve the climate change conundrum? Wednesday 3rd June The science behind building the world’s fastest car, Bloodhound SSC Sunday 7th June Visit our stand in the Discover Zone or go to our website at to find out more about us. EPSRC is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and physical sciences, investing around £740 million a year in research that ultimately impacts on society and the way we live.

More people read Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father than Katie Price’s Being Jordan. More people read about The Periodic Table on Wikipedia than High School Musical. More people read Stephen Fry’s Twitter updates than Britney Spears’s. More people read The Huffington Post blog than Perez Hilton’s. More people read The Times than any other quality daily newspaper.

Source: NRS Jul-Dec 2008

Booking Information

For more info and to book online

Tickets on sale from 10am Monday 30 March 2009


Members’ tickets on sale from Monday 23 March 2009

For information on the best places to eat, sleep and drink during your visit to the festival, check out

Festival Website

or visit the Info Point during the festival. For information on travel to the festival try

Get the latest and most complete information online and book 24hrs a day. No concessions are available online.

Box Office 0844 576 7979

Concessions Concessionary prices are shown in brackets and apply to those who are under the age of 25, full-time students, registered unemployed or registered disabled. Please be prepared to show proof of eligibility at the box office and upon admission to events.

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In Person


Town Hall, Imperial Square, Cheltenham GL50 1QA In advance: Mon-Sat 9.30am–5.30pm During the festival: 9.30am–15 mins after the start of the last event

Save 20% on full price tickets for your choice of 10 events at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival when you become a member from just £15 a year. Festivals’ family membership allows a discount of 20% on 10 events for 2 adults and up to 4 children from only £47.

Other options available until 48hrs before the event • • Fax: 01242 573 902 - using booking form opposite • Post: using booking form opposite & including an SAE

Members can apply membership discount on full price tickets for up to 10 events. Please refer to your membership pack for more details.

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Disabled patrons are entitled to the concessionary ticket price and a free ticket for their support worker/assistant. Please be prepared to show relevant ID at the box office or upon admission to events. For information about access please see our website for venue contact details.

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Life Patron

Gold Patron

Charles Fisher Graham and Eileen Lockwood

David and Clare Astor Erica Austin Jack and Dora Black Eleanor Budge Clive Coates and Ann Murray Michael and Felicia Crystal Wallace and Morag Dobbin Mr and Mrs P J Elliott Lord and Lady Hoffmann Elizabeth Jacobs Penelope Lomax Sir Peter and Lady Marychurch Sir Michael and Lady McWilliam Mary and Timothy Mitchell The Helena Oldacre Trust Esther and Peter Smedvig Fiona and David Symondson Janet Wedge Steve and Eugenia Winwood Peter and Alison Yiangou

Corporate Patron HSBC Willans

Platinum Patron Peter and Anne Bond Jennifer Bryant-Pearson Michael and Angela Cronk Howard and Jay Milton

Festival Patron Mark and Maria Bentley Stephen and Victoria Bond Jonathan and Daphne Carr Robert Cawthorne and Catherine White Simon Collings Christopher Dreyfus Viscount Esher James Fleming Kate Fleming Reade and Elizabeth Griffith Huw and Nicki Gwynn-Jones Marianne Hinton Stephen Hodge Anthony Hoffman and Dr Christine Facer Hoffman Richard and Peta Hoyle Simon and Emma Keswick Martin Knight Mark McKergow and Jenny Clarke

Rosamund and Geoff Marshall Professor Angela Newing Andrew and Sheila North Robert Padgett Sir David and Lady Pepper Leslie Perrin Hugh Poole-Warren Jonathon Porritt Sarah E Priday Patricia Routledge CBE Lavinia Sidgwick Jonathan and Gail Taylor Ben and Fiona White Professor Lord Winston Anne Wood Michael and Jacqueline Woof

Thank you

The Times is the UK’s best read quality newspaper with a daily readership of 1.9 million. The paper has a strong international reputation for its coverage of science and a team of awardwinning editors and writers dedicated to reporting on energy, the environment, the oceans, science, technology, healthcare, the pharmaceutical industry and health policy. We are proud to be title sponsor of The Cheltenham Science Festival and we will be covering the festival in detail in print and online at

As a research based pharmaceutical company, science is in everything we do. We have over 12,000 scientists discovering and developing medicines for the world’s most serious diseases including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and HIV/AIDS. We hope and believe that Cheltenham Science Festival will not only engage people in the excitement of science but also inspire pupils and students to become the scientists of the future.

British Energy, now part of EDF Energy, is delighted to be Cheltenham Science Festival’s education partner for a second year. Providing a vital, sustainable resource like electricity is dependent on talented and committed employees. In sponsoring Cheltenham Science Festival Schools’ programme, we want to play our role in nurturing that talent and encouraging young people today to become the scientists and engineers the UK will need tomorrow. Cheltenham Science Festival is a tremendous event and we are delighted to be supporting its work.

The Environment Agency is proud to sponsor Cheltenham Science Festival. The Sustainable World strand of events brings cutting edge environmental science to the public arena in exciting and engaging ways, making the often complex and outof-reach science accessible to all. The Environment Agency is a scientific and technical organisation – science provides a firm evidence base to inform all our work and we always look to work with the very best scientists, research groups and organisations, to ensure our work continues to be founded on world-class scientific evidence. This is why we sponsor the world’s leading science festival – Cheltenham.To find out more visit


Sponsors & Supporters Associate Sponsors

Official Hotel

Individual Event & In-kind Sponsors Battledown Brewery BBC British Pharmacological Society Daphne Jackson Trust Fosters MRG Systems Ltd

Photography Credits

Advisory Group

Honorary Advisers

Bloodhound Curventa Flood Defence GlosMedia


Robert Winston Jonathon Porritt

A Lifetime of Intelligence Douglas Robertson, Help the Aged


Blue Peter BBC

The Department of Meteorology, University of Reading

Richard Hammond BBC

The Open University The Science Museum

Corporate Membership The Daffodil Glide Media Marketing Mercure Queen’s Hotel

Maggie Aderin Robert Taylor Lemn Sissay Nathan Gallagher Dara Ó Briain Nadja von Massow Marieke Navin Jay Williams James Cracknell Getty

Gill Samuels Festival Directors Mark Lythgoe University College London Kathy Sykes University of Bristol Jim Al-Khalili University of Surrey Quentin Cooper Broadcaster, BBC Radio 4 Timandra Harkness Science writer & comedian Roger Highfield New Scientist Mark Miodownik King’s College London Vivienne Parry Broadcaster & journalist Alice Roberts University of Bristol Andrea Sella University College London Elaine Snell Snell Communications

LITMUS PAPER Litmus Paper is the festival’s daily, independent news-sheet featuring reviews, interviews and the latest news. It is also available online at Your contributions are welcome at the Festival Info Point or email Don’t forget to pick up your copy!

At A Glance No S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16 S17 S18 S19 S20 S21 S22 S23 S24 S25 S26 S27 S28 S29 S30 S31 S32 S33 S34 S35 S36 S37 S38 S39 S40 S41 S42 S43 S44 S45 S46 S47 S48 S49 S50 S51 S52 S53 S54 S55 S56 S57 S58 S59 S60 S61 S62 S63 S64 S65 S66 S67 S68, 69, 70 S71 S72 S73 S74 S75 S76 S77 S78 S79 S80 S81


Wed 3 June

Thurs 4 June

Fri 5 June

Sat 6 June

Sun 7 June

Time 12.15pm 2pm 2.30pm 4pm 4.15pm 4.30pm 5pm 5pm 6.15pm 6.30pm 6.30pm 7.30pm 8.30pm 8.30pm 8.30pm 9.30pm 10.15am 12.15pm 2pm 2.15pm 4pm 4.30pm 4.30pm 5pm 5pm 6pm 6.30pm 7pm 8pm 8.45pm 9pm 9pm 9.30pm 10.15am 12.30pm 2pm 2.30pm 2.30pm 4.30pm 4.30pm 4.30pm 5pm 5pm 6.30pm 6.45pm 7.30pm 8.30pm 9pm 10am 12pm 12pm 2pm 2pm 4pm 4pm 5pm 6pm 6.30pm 6.45pm 6.45pm 8pm 9pm 9pm 9pm 10.15am 12pm 12.15pm 1.15, 2.30, 3.45pm 2.15pm 3.30pm 4pm 4pm 4.15pm 6pm 6pm 6.15pm 7pm 8pm 8.15pm

For more info and to book online Event Testing Times Susan Greenfield: An Individual Can we Solve the Climate Change Conundrum? The Impact! Debate Ten Zen Questions Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery Science Café Powering the UK Sebastian Coe: The Winning Mind Alzheimer’s Robot Surgeons Hero or Heretic? Walk the Talk Playing God – Risk in Surgery The Science of Curry Festival Star Party The Big Bang and Beyond Rutherford Copernicus: Revolutionary or Plagiarist? The Future for Stem Cells Making the Planet Better Darwin’s Sacred Cause Can Science Make you Happy? Science Café: Interior Traces Supersense Alien Evolution Beyond Animal Research When to Listen to Heretics Shaping Nature Faith in Evolution Penisology Slam the Atom Festival Star Party Flood Defence Climate Change: Whose Responsibility? The Green Resurgent Good Bugs, Bad Bugs The Value of Land Greener Homes Synthetic Biology NESTA FameLab Grand Final Best of the Fest Quicksilver Water, Water Everywhere? Pandemics: The Threat Blazing Science Pandemics: Outbreak Beer A Lifetime of Intelligence Computers of the Future Obsessive Compulsive The Incredible Human Journey Facing Disfigurement Cape Farewell Evan Davis: A Beginner’s Guide to Economics Best of the Fest Heresy – The Heart of Science FameLab International Not Rocket Science The Times Debate: Your Genetic Future Pain The Pleasure of Cars Apollo Mysteries The School for Gifted Children Engineering Apollo Shop Tactics Bloodhound Anatomy Workshop Call My Scientific Bluff How was it for you? Animal Autopsy Heresy and Bad Science Digital Footprints: The Science Digital Footprints: The Ethics Weather Watch Hairy Andrea & Steve’s Over-ambitious Demo Challenge James Cracknell & Ben Fogle: Race to the Pole Clem Burke Drumming Project


Schools Events SS1 SS2 SS3 SS4,5 Wed 3 June SS7-11

10am 10am 12pm 12, 1.30pm 10am-3pm 9.30amSS12-14 1.30pm SS6 6pm 9.30, SS15,16 10.30am SS17 10am SS18 Thurs 4 12pm June SS19 12pm SS20 2pm SS21-25 10am-3pm SS26 10am 11am, SS27,28 Fri 5 12.30pm June SS29 12pm SS30-34 10am-3pm Family Events Fri 5 S46 7.30pm June SF1 10am SF2 10am SF3 10.30am S50 12pm Sat 6 SF4 12.30pm June SF5 2.30pm SF6 4.30pm 12, 1.15, SF7,8,9 2.30pm SF10 10am SF11 10am SF12 12pm Sun 7 June SF13 2pm SF14 2pm SF15,16 10, 11.15am






Pg Air Everywhere The Incredible Human Journey Bloodhound Supersonic Car Chemistry with a Bang Slime Time Code Cracking and Communications Teachers’ Event

Blazing Science Phenomenal Pheromones Danger High Voltage How to be a Rocket Scientist Chemistry of Toothpaste We are Electric! The Real Science of the Circus


Pg Blazing Science Future Cars Absolutely Amazing Adaptable Animals Magic Numbers Computers of the Future Richard Hammond’s Blast Lab A Pollutant’s Tale Gastronuts


Investigate! Experiments that Changed the World Evolution Revolution Blue Peter 1 Dr Death and the Medi-Evil Medicine Show James Cracknell: Body Science Your Insides on your Outside

Budvar Cheltenham Jazz Festival 28 April – 4 May 15

The Times Cheltenham Science Festival 3 – 7 June HSBC Cheltenham Music Festival 3 – 18 July The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 9 – 18 October for the latest updates visit 32


Blazing Science Solar Power




Science Story: Three Little Pigs





The Times Cheltenham Science Festival brochure 2009  
The Times Cheltenham Science Festival brochure 2009  

The Times Cheltenham Science Festival brochure 2009