7–12 June 2022 Box Office 01242 850270 cheltenhamfestivals.com #CheltSciFest
THANK YOU to our Partners and Supporters helping to create a world in which everyone can explore and co-create culture. In Association with
WELCOME Need help deciding? We’ve picked some events not to miss at this year’s Festival. Head to page 15 to start planning your Festival.
Family Bakineering: From A to B page 36 The Quantum Qrumpet page 37 Dogology VS Catology page 43 Kitchen Chemistry page 44
Big Thinkers Growing Up Human page 15 Games Dev Live: How to Make a Game page 17 Thinking Better: The Art of the Shortcut page 18 Being You: The Science of Consciousness page 27 Are We Any Closer to Solving the Mystery of Time? page 33 Mathematical Modelling page 42 Control: The Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics page 48
Best For FirstTimers What’s Love Got to Do With It? page 17 People and Their Pets page 21 How to Solve a Crime: Real Cases from the Cutting Edge of Forensics page 26 Wi-Fi Wars page 31 Maths Tricks to Blow Your Mind page 40
Super Gut: Microbes, Diet and Health page 20 Stressilient: Beat Stress and Build Resilience page 21 Diabetes: 100 Years of Insulin page 24 Can We Cure Cancer in Our Lifetime page 35 The Science of Cold-Water Swimming page 41
Entertainment Cascade page 17 The Periodic Dinner Table Show page 22 Saturday Variety Night page 40 Maths, music, and “A Woman’s Life and Love” page 40 Over Ambitious Demo Challenge page 48
This year we are delighted to welcome our new cohort of Young Changemakers, led by Guest Curator Daze Aghaji, who will be exploring how we can all ‘Be the Change’ we want to see. VOICEBOX also makes its Cheltenham Science Festival debut in a series of free digital events on important issues that impact our future. Make sure you don’t miss a Festival first, as our poet in residence Polly Denny meets with our AI Guest Curator AIDA in a unique collaboration. Other highlights include an insight into future innovation in curing cancer with our Wellness Guest Curator Deborah James, and welcoming our first ever Family Guest Curator to Cheltenham, Alom Shaha. If that wasn’t enough, bring your imagination and invent your own creations in our reimagined interactive zones: The Arcade, Discover Zone and MakerShack.
Cutting Edge Mapping our Milky Way page 24 More NFT, Vicar? page 25 Psychiatry and Pychedelics page 30 Variant Hunter page 39 Is the World a Hologram? page 42 Flying Taxis page 47
Welcome to the 2022 Cheltenham Science Festival. We are thrilled to be back to a full-scale Festival after two years. With over 130 events, the Festival brings together the best scientists, thinkers, writers, and creators, along with some familiar faces.
Be The Change We Make Tomorrow page 33 An Air Emergency page 42 Mind the Gap: Inequality in Mental Health page 46 Idealistically: Tolmeia Gregory page 47
I look forward to welcoming you to the Festival with six days of spectacular science. Marieke Navin Head of Programming Cheltenham Science Festival
FESTIVAL VILLAGE Free Interactive Zones
Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Parabola Arts Centre (GL50 3AA)
Opening Dates & Times:
Garden Bar Orangery Hartpury Science Hub
use Café (G
L 50 4 E Z )
Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 June 10am-5pm All ages
Town Hall, Pillar Room
ch o o l H o
Friday 10 June 10am–3pm Schools 6–10pm Late night adults
50 3LH), S
Thursday 9 June 10am-3pm Schools 5pm – 7.30pm (Discover Zone and The Arcade only) All ages
Wednesday 8 June 10am-3pm Schools 3-5pm All ages
Tuesday 7 June 10am-3pm Schools 3-5pm All ages
Meeting Point The Orrery
See pages 6 and 7 for details. Helix Theatre MakerShack
The Arcade The game is on – get set for an awesome adventure in The Arcade.
The Arcade Opening Times
Thursday 9 June 10am-3pm Schools 5pm – 7.30pm All ages
ery (GL51 8
Wednesday 8 June 10am-3pm Schools 3-5pm All ages
Tuesday 7 June 10am-3pm Schools 3-5pm All ages
Friday 10 June 10am–3pm Schools 6–10pm Late night adults Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 June 10am-5pm All ages *Relaxed openings 3–5pm Tues and Weds See page 6 for details.
Food & Drink Stop to refuel between Festival events at the Garden Bar Orangery or Regency Café – vegetarian and gluten free options available.
Imperial Square, Cheltenham, GL50 1AQ Site opens 7 June 2022, free entry
Free drop-in activities Opening Dates & Times: Tuesday 7 June 10am-3pm Schools 3-5pm All ages
Town Hall, Main Stage
Wednesday 8 June 10am-3pm Schools 3-5pm All ages
Thursday 9 June 10am-3pm Schools 3pm – 7.30pm All ages
Friday 10 June 10am–3pm Schools 6–10pm Late night adults
Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 June 10am-5pm All ages
The Cube Discover Zone EDF Zone
Hartpury Science Hub Toilets
Drop into Hartpury Science Hub to find out more about the science of sport, exercise, equine performances, animal welfare and agriculture. See page 8 for details.
The Woodland Trust Science Trail Collect your quiz sheet and follow the trail around Imperial Square to find out more.
Discover Zone GE Pavilion Join GE experts for an exciting journey through engineering and science. See page 9 for details.
Immerse yourself in a world of fun and interactive science in the Discover Zone. See page 6 for details.
MakerShack Bring your imagination and invent your own creations in the MakerShack. See page 6 for details.
Learn more about how woods and trees benefit the environment around us with some hands-on activities and fun from the people behind Nature Detectives. See page 8 for details.
Waterstones Bookshop Head to Waterstones’ special pop-up bookshop! Meet your favourite authors and get your books signed, browse the bookshelves for captivating stories and discover a wonderful range of books.
FREE INTERACTIVE ZONES
MakerShack Get ready, get set, make! Bring your imagination and invent your own creations in the MakerShack. Code a robot, bring along your broken items to the repair café, discover some curious squidgy stuff, and celebrate all things materials and making.
The Arcade The game is on – get set for an awesome adventure in The Arcade and put your skills to the test in a series of fun, creative and cryptic challenges. Can you make, break and create? Can you work in a team and spot things others might have missed? If you love solving clues, you’ll love The Arcade.
Discover Zone Immerse yourself in a world of fun and interactive science in the Discover Zone. Seek out our corridors of experience to feel first-hand the impacts of climate change, or find out about the incredible technology transforming our planet. Whether it’s learning about careers in STEM or quizzing scientists on their cutting-edge research, who knows what you might discover?
FREE INTERACTIVE ZONES
Hartpury Science Hub Drop into Hartpury Science Hub to find out more about the science of sport, exercise, equine performance, animal welfare and agriculture. Take part in exciting experiments and other intriguing activities as you explore pioneering research with the Hartpury team.
Waterstones Head to Waterstones’ special pop-up bookshop! Meet your favourite authors and get your books signed, browse the bookshelves for captivating stories and discover a wonderful range of books. From futuristic robots to dinosaurs, microbes and volcanoes, there is something for everyone.
The Woodland Trust Join the Nature Detectives for some tree-mendous fun and learn more about how the woods and trees around us benefit the environment.
Science Trail Pick up your free activity sheet from our Festival stand and follow the trail around Imperial Gardens to discover more about the world of STEM while exploring the Festival Village. What other spectacular science will you uncover along the way? 7
FREE DIGITAL EVENTS
VOICEBOX returns for a collaboration with Cheltenham Science Festival this June. Join us @VOICEBOX___ on Instagram and TikTok for a series of free digital content on the topics and issues that matter to you. VOICEBOX makes its Science Festival debut in a series of free digital events with some of the brightest young talent around. From short talks, chats and debates about today’s hottest and most important issues, to life hacks and collaborative artworks, VOICEBOX is home to unmissable experiences and one-off moments. Hear from our Young Changemakers and add your voice to the discussion as we turn up the volume on everything from neurodiversity and video game design to body image and sustainable fashion.
Stay tuned @VOICEBOX___ for more.
GE Pavilion Free entry Transport yourself to a world of Engineering and Technology in the GE Pavilion. Exploring various hands-on engineering activities, you’ll connect with GE engineers who are solving big technology challenges and working on things that really matter to each of us: powering our communities, flying safely and diagnosing, treating and monitoring patients worldwide. During the Festival there will be a number of talks and activities to introduce young people to possible career paths, demonstrating how personal aspirations, interests and passions can go hand in hand with world industry and business needs. Visit the GE Pavilion to find out about career opportunities and how GE is solving engineering challenges by connecting the world. GE is on a mission to build, move, power and cure the world. We achieve this through the communication of ideas between our 295,000 employees who work in over 170 different countries. Our diversity of ideas is one of our greatest strengths, and connectivity brings us together. GE transforms industry by introducing brilliant new solutions to the world’s challenges. All of the GE success and innovation that you see around you is a result of the enthusiastic and creative people that work at GE.
EDF Free entry EDF is delighted to be the lead partner of Cheltenham Science Festival Come and find out about our work to provide cleaner, more independent energy for the UK and help inspire the next generation to study science and related subjects: Visit us at our EDF stand in the Discover Zone in Imperial Square to find out how we are encouraging the scientists, engineers and thinkers of tomorrow. As the UK’s largest producer of low carbon electricity, EDF is committed to helping young people understand more about how the energy sector works and what opportunities may be available.
GUEST CURATORS Diving into another year of exciting, exclusive events, the 2022 Cheltenham Science Festival explores big ideas to answer big questions.
Climate Justice activist Daze Aghaji will bring together a group of Young Changemakers from different fields to envision what a new world could look like (see page 12)
The author of the weekly column Things Cancer Made Me Say and host of the award-winning podcast You, Me & the Big C will be asking the questions everyone wants the answers to and getting people talking about cancer in a way that is hopeful, yet realistic.
“As we examine the Festival theme ‘Be The Change’, I’m looking forward to learning from the group of Young Changemakers and also sharing my knowledge of organising and inspiring others to create change.” @DazeAghaji
“As someone who is living with cancer, I feel I’m in a good position to steer the conversation between researcher and patient. Sometimes navigating the latest cancer treatments can be overwhelming.” @bowelbabe
Our Family Guest Curator is a Physics teacher, writer, film-maker, and science communicator.
Our Poet-in-residence will be capturing the mood of the Festival in poetry.
“I will be looking at creativity and encouraging families to think about engineering by making marvellous machines. In the MakerShack we’ll have lots of activities to foster curiosity and wonder, a love of science and the world around us. Science is a cultural activity, not just something for a small niche group of people, and I hope the Festival will really help convey that message.” @alomsworld
“I am fascinated by the politics of the digital and the power of the algorithm, and so I am especially excited to be working with AIDA, the Festival’s AI Curator to ask questions about creativity. Is it a purely human attribute or can all minds do it? We’ll be taking creative risks and trying out new things because if you can’t experiment at a science festival, when can you?” @polly.denny.poet
AIDA AI Guest Curator Since harnessing her neural network powers to create her own successful event ‘Introvert Narwhals’ presented at the 2019 Cheltenham Science Festival, The Festival’s Guest Curator AIDA has interviewed speakers and activists and created enviro-friendly NFTs inspired by the COP26 summit. Who knows what her next big Science Festival idea is?
YOUNG CHANGEMAKERS Meet our group of Young Changemakers who are using their voices to help shape the future.
Dawood Qureshi (they/them), is a queer, Writer, Speaker, Film-maker, Presenter and Freelance Journalist and TV Researcher.
Evie Meg is a TikTok sensation (12 million followers and counting) who uses her platform to educate others on what it’s like living with Tourette’s syndrome, amongst other health complications.
As well as wildlife, conservation and the environment, they are also passionate about topics such as diversity, political agenda, sexuality and gender, contributing to magazines, blogs and festivals around the country, and as a presenter have been involved with CBeebies and Edinburgh Sci Fest.
Her new book explores her lived experience with honesty, detailing the challenges she has faced through giving up her dream job, and navigating sudden internet fame. @thistrippyhippie
Samuel Ajakaiye Samuel Ajakaiye is a British-Nigerian advocate for youth involvement in policymaking and is currently a non-executive director for the international affairs think-tank Chatham House. He has been named amongst the UK’s top 150 African and African-Caribbean future leaders (2021) and he regularly works with organisations from various areas, with a focus on identifying and developing creative solutions to modern problems. @sam_ajaks
Sophia Badhan BCAh Sophia Badhan actively campaigns to ensure young people are given the treatment they both need and deserve when it comes to mental health and wellbeing. She is a recipient of The Diana Award 2019 and in 2020 won the highest award in the West Midlands Combined Authority Thrive Mental Health Star Awards for her work advocating for the mental health rights of young people. @SophiaKBadhan
Sophia McCall Sophia McCall works as a security consultant in the cyber security industry and is a founding member of Security Queens, a brand created to promote inclusion and diversity in tech. Sophia is also a chapter administrator for the Ladies of Cheltenham Hacking Society, and captained Team UK at the European Cyber Security Challenge 2019. @spookphia
LEARNING AND PARTICIPATION Cheltenham Festivals offers a wide range of opportunities for all ages to engage with science as well as supporting scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and science communicators throughout their career.
FameLab Academy FameLab Academy is the sister-competition to FameLab for secondary-aged students: a training and competition programme which develops confidence, increases communication skills, and inspires Year 9 pupils about the relevance of STEM to their everyday lives. This year, over 1500 students from 16 Gloucestershire secondary schools participated. Each school had the support of a STEM mentor; this time they were all FameLab alumni based in various locations across the world. The experience culminated in a giant final in March.
“I love working with the students on this project and seeing their engagement when they can research what interests them and the progress they make from the first session.” Teacher
FameLab UK FameLab UK alumni from 2020 and 2021 will be joining us for the duration of the Festival to network and to share their research. Come and see them on the Apollo stage on Friday 10 June at 5.45pm. To find out more about FameLab, visit cheltenhamfestivals.com/famelab
To find out more about FameLab Academy visit cheltenhamfestivals.com/science-famelab-academy
FameLab International Created by Cheltenham Festivals in 2005, FameLab is the world’s largest science communication competition. In partnership with the British Council between 2007 – 2021, FameLab was taken around the world, capturing the imagination of young STEM researchers in more than 40 countries. Cheltenham Festivals is working in partnership with countries across four continents to continue the competition in 2022 and beyond, and to re-imagine the future of FameLab. 13
LEARNING AND PARTICIPATION
Science For Schools Science for Schools engages 7,000 children and young people each year. Shows, workshops and interactive zones will engage and encourage the scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians of the future. Join Russell Arnott in his Ocean Laboratory, enter the Cloud Factory with Sarah Bearchell, explore the Science of Star Wars with Jon Chase, and much more! For more information about Science for Schools, go to cheltenhamfestivals.com/scienceforschools
DataFace This new programme will enable young people to tell the stories they care about through the exploration and visualisation of data. Cheltenham Festivals is working in partnership with the Jean Golding Institute, CyberFirst and three local secondary schools in the development of the programme which is due to launch in 2023. For details of our learning and participation programmes, go to cheltenhamfestivals.com/ learningandparticipation/takepart
TUESDAY 7 JUNE PLANNER Town Hall, Main Hall
Town Hall, Pillar Room
Apollo Main Auditorium
CLC, Parabola Arts Centre
2pm C010 GROWING UP HUMAN 3pm
C001 WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
S005 HOW TO HACK A CAR
C011 WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT INEQUALITY?
A006 VOICES OF NATURE J001 CASCADE
S003 GAMES DEV LIVE: HOW TO MAKE A GAME
O007 A DAY AT COTSWOLD WILDLIFE PARK
I002 ENGINEERING NET ZERO
J006 THINKING BETTER: THE ART OF THE SHORTCUT
T017 THE MATTER OF EVERYTHING
A011 LET’S GET QUIZZICAL
Growing Up Human Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9 The story of how we grow up is actually pretty weird. Biological anthropologist Brenna Hassett talks to Julia Wheeler about how we diverged from other primates to develop one of humanity’s most striking adaptations: our unreasonably long childhood. Discover how a series of adaptations, from boring genitals to monogamy to fat babies, have made us the species that we are today — and why we thought it was a good idea to evolve to be forever young.
A Day at Cotswold Wildlife Park Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9 Nestled in the Cotswolds, right on our doorstep, The Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is home to over 260 different species of animal. Join us for a fascinating insight into life at the park, where it all started and get to know the characters that live there too. As well as looking after the herds, packs and flocks of the natural world, conservation is key. Learn about the importance of the park’s conservation work and what your visit to the park supports and the animals it saves.
TUESDAY 7 JUNE
Engineering Net Zero Town Hall, Pillar Room £9 The UK and over 130 other countries have pledged to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This target is as ambitious as it is essential. Reaching it will require transforming our existing infrastructure and working in completely new ways. Is the target realistic? And is it fair? How can engineering approaches accelerate progress toward net zero? Kathy Sykes talks to civil engineer Dervilla Mitchell and climate politics researcher Duncan McLaren to discuss the techniques and commitment required to reach net zero.
Voices of Nature Apollo Main Auditorium Free Three of the UK’s most exceptional nature writers explore the relationship between our external landscapes and internal ones. Both Marchelle Farrelle (Uprooting) and Nina Mingya Poweles (Small Bodies of Water) have won the Nan Shepherd Prize for nature writing. Tjawanga Dema’s first full-length book The Careless Seamstress is ‘a ravishing debut’. Join us for a spellbinding evening of readings and poetry as the writers share their love for nature and explain how they fight for the planet through their art. Chaired by Daze Aghaji.
Why Should We Care About Inequality? The Cube £9 Inequalities are at the forefront of public and policy debates in the UK. They are linked to some of the most important political events and have sparked worldwide protest movements. Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies Paul Johnson asks: what do we mean when we talk about inequality in the UK, and why should we care?
How to Hack a Car Helix Auditorium £8 Co-founder of Security Queens and 2022 Changemaker Sophia McCall joins us to explore just how easy a car-hacking could be if certain technology gets into the wrong hands. With our cars becoming less like tin cans and more like driverless computers on wheels, Sophia explains the risks we face and how to consider our own security hygiene as we advance towards an automated future in cars. This event will include live captioning
TUESDAY 7 JUNE
What’s Love Got to Do With It? Town Hall, Main Hall £9 Love is an unquantifiable human experience. Yet growing evidence suggests it could be the most important factor in our wellbeing. Evolutionary anthropologist Anna Machin (Why We Love) considers all the different ways in which humans love – from family, friends and lovers to pets, celebrities and even deities – and the science behind why we love and how we love.
Games Dev Live: How to Make a Game Town Hall, Pillar Room £8 Ever wondered what it takes to bring a game concept to life? Or what makes a successful game? In this dynamic event join us to see how a game idea develops live on our stage. Corey Brotherson and Nikky Armstrong from independent games development studio Silver Rain Games come together with presenter Alysia Judge to brainstorm an idea around our theme ‘Be The Change’. They’ll delve into why their ideas may work, how they could be best executed and the ways that the process could develop. Prepare for an exciting insight into games development.
Cascade Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9 Musician Nabihah Iqbal and visual artist and quantum physicist Libby Heaney bottle the sounds, sights and meaning of water in an audio-visual performance. Through field recordings of the River Thames, AI-generated sounds and visuals, music and words, Iqbal and Heaney will plunge you into an immersive world of real and artificial water-scapes. Bringing hidden stories and experiences to light, they will attempt to recalibrate the history surrounding our most famous river, which has its source in Gloucestershire, using artificial intelligence to scatter and interfere with biased, colonial histories.
Let’s Get Quizzical Apollo Main Auditorium Free Grab yourself a drink and settle in for our science festival quiz. Quizmasters Jamie Gallagher and Hana Ayoob put your knowledge to the test with their science-y twist on a quiz night. Expect fun and surprises along the way! No specialist science knowledge is required and you can drop in and stay as long as you like.
TUESDAY 7 JUNE
Thinking Better: The Art of the Shortcut Town Hall, Main Hall £10 Thinking better is often more successful than working faster. Celebrating the art of the shortcut, Marcus du Sautoy offers up some clever strategies to tackle daily complex problems. Looking for inspiration at some of the most effective shortcuts in history (such as measuring the circumference of the earth in 240 BC), Marcus discusses with Julia Wheeler how to use shortcuts in investing, learning a musical instrument, or improving your memory.
The Matter of Everything The Cube £9 The astonishing story of 20th-century physics, told through the 12 experiments that changed our world. In conversation with Jess Wade, accelerator physicist Suzie Sheehy introduces us to the people who, through a combination of genius, persistence and luck, staged ground-breaking experiments to answer questions about the nature of matter. From the physicists who soared in hot air balloons on the trail of new particles, to the quest to find the third generation of matter, our determination to understand and control the microscopic have transformed how we live today. Join us for a celebration of human ingenuity, creativity and curiosity, including live demos straight out of Suzie’s book.
WEDNESDAY 8 JUNE PLANNER Town Hall, Main Hall
Town Hall, Pillar Room
Apollo Main Auditorium
CLC, Parabola Arts Centre
Albemarle Gate, Pitville Park, Meeting Point
1pm O015 WATCH AND WONDER: A BIRD-SPOTTING WALK
E010 WAHEED ARIAN: MEDICINE ON THE FRONT LINE
U006 THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT: COVID-19 AND OUR ANCESTORS
Q002 HOW TO BUILD STONEHENGE
4pm U001 SUPER GUT: MICROBES, DIET AND HEALTH
W011 MARY ANNING AND THE ‘SEA DRAGONS’
O002 BIRDS AND US
SECRET LIVES OF E008 TECHNOLOGY, SOCIETY F005 THEELEMENTS AND THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION
A004 DRAWING WITH DATA
D005 STRESSILIENT: HOW TO BEAT STRESS AND BUILD RESILIENCE
A017 MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE
C007 WHAT MAKES A DISASTER?
7pm C008 PEOPLE AND THEIR PETS
E012 THE LAZARUS HEIST: THE BILLION DOLLAR HACK
Q006 DINOSAURS: NEW VISIONS OF A LOST WORLD
F007 THE PERIODIC DINNER TABLE SHOW
Watch and Wonder: A Bird-Spotting Walk
Albemarle Gate; Pitville Park, Meeting Point
£9 Grab your binoculars and walking boots and join us in Pittville Park, Cheltenham for a fascinating bird-spotting walk led by Cheltenham Bird Club. Whether you are an experienced birder or a complete novice, you are sure to learn something new about the bird population of the town. You’ll have the opportunity to watch water and woodland birds and keep an eye out for buzzards, red kites, sparrowhawks and more that are known to pay a visit to the park. The walk is mostly flat and wheelchair accessible. Wear suitable footwear and bring your own refreshments.
The Butterfly Effect: Covid-19 and Our Ancestors Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9
Cutting-edge research from the University of Oxford shows that a strand of DNA that triples the risk of developing severe Covid-19 was passed on from Neanderthals to modern humans. This suggests that a chance encounter 50,000 years ago between Neanderthals and humans laid the foundations for a significant portion of the devastating death toll associated with the pandemic. Genomics expert James Davies and biological anthropologist Simon Underdown discuss this important discovery, a perfect example of chaos theory in action, and explore why Neanderthal genes persist in humans to this day. Chaired by Vivienne Parry
WEDNESDAY 8 JUNE
Image: Matthew Power Photography FAMILY EVENT
How to Build Stonehenge
Town Hall, Pillar Room £9
Waheed Arian: Medicine on the Front Line
Icon of the New Stone Age, sculptural and engineering marvel, symbol of national pride: there is nothing quite like Stonehenge. These great sarsen and bluestone slabs, arranged with simple, graphic genius, attract visitors from across the world. The monument stands silent in the face of the questions its unlikely existence raises: who built it? Why? How? Archaeologist Mike Pitts discusses the questions that he delves into in his new book with archaeologist and presenter Raksha Dave.
Town Hall, Main Hall £9
Mary Anning and the ‘Sea Dragons’ Helix Auditorium £7
Here be Sea Dragons! Join palaeontologist Dean Lomax as he takes us through 200 years of fossil discovery, from the first discovery of an ichthyosaur fossil in the 1800s, to Dean’s leading role in the excavation of one of the greatest finds in British palaeontological history: the 10-metre long ‘Rutland Sea Dragon’. Hear how Dean has followed in the footsteps of pioneering palaeontologist Mary Anning and watch a short film about her extraordinary life and the battles she faced as a 19th-century female scientist. Suitable for ages 7+
Having survived the civil war in Afghanistan, Waheed Arian (In the Wars) arrived alone in the UK aged 15. He went on to study medicine at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Now an NHS doctor and radiologist, he’s using smartphones and volunteer specialists to provide life-saving medical advice to doctors working in areas of conflict. Dr Arian has been recognized as a UNESCO Global Hope Hero, a UN Global Goals Goalkeeper, an NHS Innovation Mentor, and was appointed to the WHO Roster of Digital Health Experts in 2019. In conversation with Julia Wheeler, he shares his extraordinary story of courage, ambition and unwavering resilience, which has taken him from the backstreets of Kabul to speaking before presidents and international experts.
Super Gut: Microbes, Diet and Health
This event will be interpreted in British Sign Language (BSL).
Town Hall, Main Hall £11
Your gut microbiome is a bustling community of trillions of bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses, and studies suggest having a diverse population of gut microbes is associated with better health. In fact, scientists are only just discovering the enormous impact of our gut health – and how it could hold the key to everything from tackling obesity to overcoming anxiety and boosting immunity. Julia Wheeler is joined by leading diet and gut health specialist Tim Spector (Spoon Fed) and psychologist Kimberley Wilson (How to Build a Healthy Brain), who focuses on the gutbrain connection and incorporates nutrition into her treatment plans, to explore the latest science in this field and to share top tips on how we can all harness the power of our gut to improve our overall health and wellbeing.
WEDNESDAY 8 JUNE 6-7pm
The Secret Lives of Elements Town Hall, Pillar Room £9
Birds and Us
When we think of the periodic table, we picture orderly rows of elements that conform to type and never break the rules. Kathryn Harkup reveals that there are personalities, passions, quirks and historical oddities behind those ordered rows. The elements in the periodic table, like us, are an extended family – some old, some new-born, some shy and reticent, some exuberant or unreliable. Get to know the elements like you never have before.
The Cube £9 Since the dawn of human history, birds have stirred our imagination, inspiring and challenging our ideas about science, faith, art and philosophy. Award-winning writer and ornithologist Tim Birkhead takes us on an epic and dazzling journey through our fascinating history with birds, from the ibises mummified and deified by Ancient Egyptians to Renaissance experiments on woodpecker anatomy, from Victorian obsessions with egg collecting to the present fight to save endangered species and restore their habitats. Want to put your bird-spotting into practice? Join us in Pittville Park at 1pm for Watch and Wonder: A Bird-Spotting Walk. See page 19 for details.
Drawing with Data Apollo Main Auditorium Free
We are surrounded by data in our lives, work and the wider world. Designer and artist Stefanie Posavec explores all the ways we can use data as inspiration for art and to connect with communities. Discover a new way of seeing your world and learn the basics of visualising your own data using simple drawing techniques. You might even discover insights about yourself you never knew before. No drawing or data experience necessary.
Stressilient: Beat Stress and Build Resilience
Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9 A Mental Health Foundation survey found that almost three quarters of UK adults have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope due to stress. Clinical psychologist Sam Akbar (Stressilient) draws on her professional expertise to share tips on feeling calmer, less stressed, and more resilient to life’s challenges. From understanding how your brain works, managing your emotions and challenging your thought processes, to opening up your perspective and having more self-compassion, Sam shares her easy-to-use toolkit to help you get from surviving to thriving. Chaired by Kathy Sykes.
Technology, Society and the Digital Revolution Town Hall, Main Hall £9
Developments in technologies including AI, big data and the internet have transformed the way we live and work together. While this unprecedented technological evolution creates huge opportunities, it also poses significant ethical challenges. How do we ensure that individual and collective rights and freedoms remain protected? A senior representative of GCHQ and acclaimed author and barrister Jamie Susskind (The Digital Republic) discuss this in relation to international security and defence, banking, lifestyle and our political systems. Together, they consider how individuals, political leaders and policymakers can effectively govern and develop technologies and robust ethical systems, to ensure a free and fair world where we can all benefit from a digital revolution. Chaired by Julia Wheeler.
People and Their Pets Helix Auditorium £9
People form incredible bonds with their pets and many of us claim to love our pets as one of the family. But do they love us back? And how does the love we feel for animals compare to the love we feel for people? Evolutionary anthropologist Anna Machin (Why We Love) and zoologist Jules Howard (Wonderdog) chat about the love we share with the animals living among us, drawing on research from a range of fields and their own relationships with their pets. This event will include live captioning
WEDNESDAY 8 JUNE
Dinosaurs: New Visions of a Lost World
Mysteries of the Universe
Apollo Main Auditorium Free
The Cube £9 Dinosaurs are not what you thought they were – or at least, they didn’t look like you thought they did. In this talk, world-leading palaeontologist Michael J. Benton brings us a new visual guide to the world of the dinosaurs, showing how rapid advances in technology and amazing new fossil finds have changed the way we see dinosaurs forever.
Most science shows tell you about the amazing things we know. This one is about the stuff we don’t...and it’s done through song. Comedy science troubadour Jonny Berliner sings about the very edges of human knowledge and the mysteries that lie beyond.
The Periodic Dinner Table Show 8-9pm
What Makes a Disaster?
Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9 What makes something a disaster? How does humanity prepare for and respond to them and how can we prevent major world events turning into disasters? Disaster experts Lucy Easthope (When the Dust Settles) and Ilan Kelman (Disaster by Choice) chat to Julia Wheeler about the very darkest days people go through, from terrorist attacks and 22 pandemics to tsunamis and earthquakes, and the very best of humanity they also witness.
Town Hall, Pillar Room £9 Join Phil Bell-Young and Mark Lorch for an interactive dinner party like no other, where bingo meets chemistry. Prepare to be wowed by mind-blowing chemistry experiments and even learn how to do some at home. Keep your eyes peeled for all the elements that appear (as well as those hiding in plain sight) and tick them off on your bingo card for a chance to win a prize.
The Lazarus Heist: The Billion Dollar Hack Town Hall, Main Hall £9
Meet the Lazarus Group, a shadowy cabal of hackers accused of working on behalf of the North Korean state. Having stolen more than $1 billion in an international crime spree, they are one of the most effective criminal enterprises on Earth. Investigative journalist and co-host of the hit BBC podcast The Lazarus Heist Geoff White tells of his global investigation, a sensational story that takes us from Pyongyang to Hollywood. Exposing details of some of the world’s most devastating hackers, and the individuals who have tried – and failed – to stop them, Geoff shares the remarkably simple tactics that these cyber criminals use to trick people into giving up their personal information, and how we can protect ourselves.
THURSDAY 9 JUNE PLANNER Town Hall, Main Hall
Town Hall, Pillar Room
Apollo Main Auditorium
CLC, Parabola Arts Centre
Imperial Gardens, Meeting Point
2pm D006 THE PSYCHOLOGY OF REGRET
B001 DIABETES: 100 YEARS OF INSULIN
O014 LIVING WITH PREDATORS
R005 THIRTEEN LESSONS THAT SAVED THIRTEEN LIVES: THE THAI CAVE RESCUE
U007 THE ART OF REST: HOW TO FIND RESPITE IN THE MODERN AGE
F004 VICTORIAN MAGIC
S004 MORE NFT VICAR?
A010 BAJINGO BINGO
D002 BEING YOU: THE SCIENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
U012 MENTAL HEALTH MATES WALK AND TALK
T013 MAPPING OUR MILKY WAY
K003 HOW TO SOLVE A CRIME: REAL CASES FROM THE CUTTING EDGE OF FORENSICS
T016 LIFE IS SIMPLE C009 MIDLIFE CRISIS
B003 DEATH BY SHAKESPEARE: SNAKEBITES, STABBINGS AND BROKEN HEARTS
N004 THE SCIENCE OF THE PERFECT PINT
A012 COMEDY NIGHT
The Psychology of Regret Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9 The pain of regret can be agonising, but what is its purpose? And can psychology teach us how to manage and overcome it better? All in the Mind’s Claudia Hammond is joined by psychologist Teresa McCormack, whose research considers how our childhood experiences of this emotion inform our decision-making in adult life, psychologist Fuschia Sirois, whose research examines regret and counterfactual thoughts – thoughts about ‘what could have been’ – and their implications for how people feel and behave, and journalist Bryony Gordon (Glorious Rock Bottom), who speaks candidly about her experience of addiction and its impact on herself and those around her, to explore how we can effectively live with regret, show ourselves more self-compassion, and gain valuable insights to improve our future choices. This event is being recorded for BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind. Latecomers may not be admitted.
THURSDAY 9 JUNE
Diabetes: 100 Years of Insulin Town Hall, Pillar Room £9 100 years ago, a 14-year-old boy dying from type 1 diabetes received an experimental treatment – an injection of insulin – that would see him return home safely from hospital and signal one of the greatest medical advances in recent history. To mark the centenary of insulin, broadcaster Vivienne Parry is joined by historian of medicine Tilli Tansey and diabetes researcher Noel Morgan, whose pioneering work is paving the way towards new treatments for the disease, to reflect on this important discovery. They consider the transformative impacts of insulin and explore the cutting-edge research that is shaping how we understand and treat diabetes today.
Mapping our Milky Way Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9
Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is home to hundreds of billions of stars in a swirling, glowing disk, and is surrounded by dozens more mini-galaxies. But how and why was the galaxy built in this way? A bold space mission, Gaia, aims to discover the answer by placing the stars in a giant six-dimensional map – with three dimensions of space, and three dimensions of motion. To understand this map and the secrets it unlocks, Andrew Pontzen is joined by astronomers Payel Das and Francesca De Angeli.
Living with Predators
Helix Auditorium £9 Predators fascinate and terrify us in equal measure. But what is it like to live in fear of literally being eaten? Conservation scientists Adam Hart, Amy Dickman and Simon Pooley talk about the problems faced by people around the world who live alongside lions, crocodiles and other dangerous beasts, and the ways we can secure a future that 24 safeguards both predators and people.
Mental Health Mates Walk and Talk Imperial Gardens, Meeting Point Free Meet Mental Health Mates for a relaxed and friendly gathering to chat about your experience with mental health struggles and illness without fear of judgement. You can share as little or as much as you like – everyone is welcome. See the Festival Village map on page 4 for Meeting Point.
THURSDAY 9 JUNE 6.15-7.15pm
More NFT, Vicar? The Cube £8
In the last 18 months, words like crypto, block chain and NFTs come up again and again. But what does it all mean and how will they affect your life? Delving into this minefield, Shay Thompson (Presenter and founder of LevelUpLinkUp) speaks to Derek Ahmedzai and Norts, Co-Founders of NFT Peeps. Join them as they discuss this fascinating (and occasionally flawed) new world, how it all works and what it means for you.
Apollo Main Auditorium Free Have you ever wished you could play bingo and learn about the world’s most misunderstood body part? Look no further than the Vagina Museum’s own bingo night. Arm yourself with vagina knowledge and get the chance to win prizes in the game that will have you screaming bajingo!
Helix Auditorium £8 6-7pm
The Art of Rest: How to Find Respite in the Modern Age Town Hall, Pillar Room £9 Getting a good night’s sleep is a hot topic, but what about rest – the vital process of unwinding, calming our minds and recharging our bodies? Sharing ground-breaking research uncovered through ‘The Rest Test’, the largest global survey into rest ever undertaken, broadcaster and psychologist Claudia Hammond counts down through the top 10 activities that people find most restful, explains why rest matters, examines the science behind the results of what really works and offers a roadmap for a new, more restful and balanced life.
Roll up, roll up! A fascinating night of Victorian parlour magic awaits you. Witness the miracles and marvels that had onlookers fainting and fawning 100 years ago. You’ll be let into the secrets behind them and maybe even how you could become a magical master yourself. Brought to you by chemistry wizards Jamie Gallagher, Kirsty Turner and Neil Monteiro. This event will include live captioning
THURSDAY 9 JUNE
The Science of the Perfect Pint
DEYA Taproom £20 Ticket includes beer samples.
Thirteen Lessons that Saved Thirteen Lives: The Thai Cave Rescue
Join materials scientist Mark Miodownik and beer sommelier Natalya Watson as they head to the DEYA Brewhouse to investigate the science of the perfect pint. Following a tour of the brewery, they will chat to head brewer Gareth Moore about perfecting the fermentation process and experimenting with flavour. Cheers!
Town Hall, Main Hall £9 The world held its breath in 2018 when the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach went missing deep underground in the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand. They had been stranded by sudden, continuous monsoon rains while exploring the caves after practice. Phoebe Smith is joined by star of National Geographic documentary The Rescue John Volanthen to give his account of an event that gripped the globe. Revealing how he pushed the limits of human endurance in the life-or-death mission.
Life is Simple Town Hall, Pillar Room £9 William of Occam, a 13th-century monk, first articulated the principle that the best answer to any problem is the simplest. This theory, known as Occam’s Razor, cut through the thickets of medieval metaphysics to clear a path for modern science. Johnjoe McFadden follows the razor in the hands of the giants of science from Copernicus, to Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Rubin and Higgs to find out why it works so well. He tells this remarkable story and its application to probability theory and the nature of the universe itself.
How to Solve a Crime: Real Cases from the Cutting Edge of Forensics Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9 The most sought-after forensic scientist in the UK, Angela Gallop has worked on thousands of high-profile criminal investigations during her remarkable career. She talks to Julia Wheeler about some of her most intriguing cases and the skills and techniques used to solve them. Whether it’s looking at blood patterns, extracting data from mobile phones, or analysing fibres, she shows that every contact leaves a trace, and every trace can help to solve a crime.
THURSDAY 9 JUNE
Midlife Crisis Helix Auditorium £9
Being You: The Science of Consciousness Town Hall, Main Hall £10 Being you is not as simple as it sounds. Somehow, within each of our brains, billions of neurons work to create our conscious experience. How does this happen? Why do we experience life in the first person? After 20 years of research, world-renowned neuroscientist Anil Seth puts forward a radical new theory of consciousness and self. His unique theory of what it means to ‘be you’ challenges our understanding of perception and reality, turning what you thought you knew about yourself on its head.
A term coined in the 1960s, the midlife crisis swept popular culture, featuring stereotypical characters committing acts of rebellion and infidelity in an attempt to hold on to their youth. Does middle age present particular social, physiological and emotional challenges? Medical Historian Mark Jackson chats to Dallas Campbell about where the midlife crisis came from, drawing from personal accounts and sources in medicine and popular culture. This event will include live captioning
Death By Shakespeare: Snakebites, Stabbings and Broken Hearts The Cube £9 Was death by snakebite as serene as Shakespeare makes out? Could lack of sleep have killed Lady Macbeth? Can you really murder someone by pouring poison in their ear? William Shakespeare found dozens of different ways to kill off his characters, finding inspiration in the latest scientific advances of his day, but how realistic are these deaths? Kathryn Harkup investigates in a rollercoaster of Elizabethan carnage, poison, swordplay and bloodshed, with an occasional death by bear-mauling for good measure.
Comedy Night Apollo Main Auditorium Free Head down to the Apollo for some science-themed comedy from familiar and new faces. Our MC for the evening, Hana Ayoob, will be joined by gastronaut Stefan Gates, Alternative Book Club creator Shirley Halse, Vagina Museum director Florence Schechter and a-fish-ionado Dagmar Der Weduwen.
FRIDAY 10 JUNE PLANNER Town Hall, Main Hall
Town Hall, Pillar Room
Apollo Main Auditorium
CLC, Parabola Arts Centre
I006 ENGINEERING WITH NATURE
T014 PHILOSOPHY OF TIME
U005 TRANSFORMER: THE SCIENCE OF LIFE AND DEATH
S006 HEALTH AND HEALING: THE EVOLUTION
T012 MARTIN REES: THE END OF ASTRONAUTS
4pm J012 THE LIFE SCIENTIFIC WITH JIM AL-KHALILI AND VLATKO VEDRAL
T005 BLACK HOLES UNCOVERED
O004 BRING BACK BATS
K004 SUE BLACK: WRITTEN IN BONE
D007 PSYCHIATRY AND PSYCHEDELICS
Z001 FAMELAB: A CELEBRATION
J013 WI-FI WARS
A001 FRIDAY NIGHT APOLLO J014 HACKING HUMANITY
A014 PUZZLE POP-UP
N018 JUST THE (GIN &) TONIC
Engineering with Nature Helix Auditorium £9
Nature can inspire us in all sorts of ways, but what if we could create prosthetics by studying worms, or use fungi to prevent landslides? Join material scientist Mark Miodownik and engineers Ravinder Dahiya and Grainne El Mountassir to discover the limitless possibilities of engineering with nature.
Helix Auditorium £9
This event will include live captioning
Philosophy of Time It’s an indisputable fact – the arrow of time seems to point to the future. But to understand what this means and what it says about our place in the world, we need to probe a little deeper. Together with Jim Al-Khalili, philosophers of physics Karim Thébault and Bryan Roberts ponder the nature of time’s arrow and the implications for physics and philosophy.
FRIDAY 10 JUNE 4.30-5.30pm
Black Holes Uncovered Town Hall, Pillar Room £9
Martin Rees: The End of Astronauts Town Hall, Main Hall £10
Transformer: The Science of Life and Death Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9 Life isn’t just a mystery, it’s a chemical phenomenon. In terms of genetic information, there is no difference between a living cell and one that died a moment ago. What is it that animates cells and sets them apart from non-living matter? Biochemist Nick Lane talks to Julia Wheeler about the new and exciting research that seeks to determine just that: by deciphering the cycle of chemical reactions that can help us better understand the building blocks of life. Be prepared to have your understanding of life and death turned upside down, as we take a deeper look at the science behind it.
Are robots the future of space travel? Since Neil Armstrong first walked on the Moon in 1969, over 600 people have ventured into space, with countless stories showing us the thrills of exploring the universe. But at what cost to the astronauts who go there? In The End of Astronauts, Martin Rees and Donald Goldsmith argue the case for automated explorers in space – they don’t need food, sleep or protection from deathly radiation. Join Martin Rees as he weighs up the risks and examines the future of space exploration as we know it.
During the last five years, black holes have started to reveal their long-hidden secrets. So massive that not even light can escape their clutches, black holes still leave tell-tale signs dotted around the universe that humanity has now discovered. The Event Horizon Telescope gave us a special glimpse into their power with its iconic ‘doughnut’ image in 2019. With scientists starting to recreate some of their mind-bending effects in bold experiments, Andrew Pontzen is joined by Event Horizon Telescope scientist Ziri Younsi, black hole physicist Silke Weinfurtner, and astronomer Imogen Whittam, to uncover what it all means.
Health and Healing: The Evolution Helix Auditorium £9 Our healthcare system has been met with challenge after challenge over the past two years, but it has made some pretty huge and positive advancements. From AI to digital apps, health care has seen a technical evolution when it comes to improving the care of patients. But what does success look like? Co-Founder of the Health Innovation team at Baillie Gifford, Marina Record, is joined by Deputy Chief Medical Officer, NHS Digital and Co-founder and Chair, The Shuri Network Shera Chok and Non-Executive Director on the Board of Medway NHS Foundation Trust Jenny Chong.
The Life Scientific with Jim Al-Khalili and Vlatko Vedral Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £10 Jim Al-Khalili talks to quantum physicist Vlatko Vedral about his life and work, including how quantum physics helps him achieve the state of Wu Wei (by entering the Church of the Higher Hilbert Space), and how his grandfather’s stories about Nasreddin taught him not to take life too seriously. This event will be recorded specially for the popular Radio 4 Programme. 29
FRIDAY 10 JUNE
FameLab: A Celebration
GameLab Helix Auditorium Free
Apollo Main Auditorium Free FameLab was started in 2005 in the UK by Cheltenham Science Festival. Since then, over 10,000 scientists and thinkers have participated from across the globe. This year, our incredible FameLab UK finalists from 2020 and 2021 are back in Cheltenham as we celebrate the UK’s finest science communicators. Don’t miss the opportunity to see our finalists in action on the Apollo stage. Compered by Hana Ayoob.
Let your inner gamer come out to play in GameLab, an evening of experimental gaming, virtual reality, esports, immersive science and retro game consoles presented by the University of Salford. Have you got what it takes?
6.45-7.45pm 6.30-7.30pm 6-7pm
Bring Back Bats The Cube £9 Over the last two years, bats have got a bad rap for carrying viruses like Covid-19. But there’s so much more to this vast and varied species. From Bat Conservation Research Lab at the University of West of England, Beth Gerrard, shows us how these fascinating creatures contribute to our ecosystem and share how we can help document bats and attract them to our countryside.
Sue Black: Written in Bone Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9 Every bone in our body has a story to tell. Drawing upon years of research and a wealth of experience, world-renowned forensic anthropologist Sue Black takes us on a journey of revelation. From skull to feet, our bones are witness to the lives we lead; from what we eat to where we go, everything we do leaves a trace. That is until, months, years, sometimes centuries later, a forensic anthropologist is called upon to decipher it. Limb by limb, case by case, she reconstructs the hidden stories in what we leave behind. Chaired by Julia Wheeler.
Psychiatry and Psychedelics Town Hall, Pillar Room £9 Psychedelics have come a long way since their hippy heyday. Research shows that they could alleviate PTSD, depression and addiction, while an increasing number of trials have reported promising results for people with a risk of psychological issues. So, will we all be treated with magic mushrooms and MDMA someday soon? Kathy Sykes talks to consultant psychiatrist James Rucker, psychologist David Luke, and Michael Bourne, a participant in the UK’s first psylocibin trial, to discuss the powerful potential of psychedelics to transform psychiatry, and society’s approach to mental health.
FRIDAY 10 JUNE
Puzzle Pop-Up Apollo Main Auditorium Free 7.45-8.45pm
Friday Night Apollo Apollo Main Auditorium Free
Pop in to the Apollo for some late night puzzling with puzzle-mad mathematicians Katie Steckles and Ben Sparks. Enjoy plenty of brain-teasing mathematical puzzles to tickle the grey cells.
Everyone’s Festival favourite is back. In a Cheltenham Science Festival first, poet in residence Polly Denny joins our AI Guest Curator AIDA for a unique collab, Kyle Evans makes music with maths, and Geologise Theatre return to Cheltenham with a science-themed musical. Compered by Hana Ayoob.
Just the (Gin &) Tonic Town Hall, Pillar Room £20 Ticket includes gin samples.
Wi-Fi Wars Town Hall, Main Hall £12 Put your best game face on as Wi-Fi Wars make its Cheltenham debut. In this live comedy gameshow hosted by comedian Steve McNeil and Rob Sedgebeer, points really do mean prizes as you put your skills to the test in a series of hilarious games, challenges and quizzes. Have you got what it takes to be crowned Wi-Fi warrior? Don’t forget to bring along a charged smartphone or tablet to the show to take part.
Hacking Humanity Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £8
It’s gin o’clock! Materials scientist Mark Miodownik and chemist Andy Whiting are back for more sophisticated science and silliness. This year they return to guide you through the fascinating science and secrets behind the perfect G&T. So sit back, relax and sip on a range of delicious gins from Cotswolds Distillery and pHure Liquors.
Science fiction is becoming fact at a rapidly alarming rate; genetic cures are fast becoming the future; artificial intelligence is expanding, and immortality may be within our grasp sooner than we thought. From enhancing our immune systems to looking at whether we may all eventually become part-cyborg, Nathan H. Lents ponders the everincreasing technological breakthroughs that have enabled us to hack humanity.
SATURDAY 11 JUNE PLANNER Town Hall, Main Hall 10am
E009 WE MAKE TOMORROW
O008 WHO DO WE SAVE?
W029 BAKINEERING: FROM A TO B T011 ARE WE ANY CLOSER TO SOLVING THE MYSTERY OF TIME?
W016 ONE MILLION VOLTS
Bottle of Sauce Canteen
V007 WORKSHOP: THE INCREDIBLE OCEAN CHEMISTRY LAB
AT001 CASTAWAY D008 YOUNG MINDS UNDER PRESSURE
W013 THE SCIENCE OF SUPERHEROES E003 GLOBALISATION: CONNECTING PEOPLE AND OUR PLANET
N010 BREAD, GLORIOUS BREAD! N011 GARDENING TO SAVE THE PLANET
D010 THE MAN WHO TASTED WORDS: STRANGE AND STARTLING SENSES
T003 QUANTUM BIOLOGY: DO WE REALLY UNDERSTAND THE PROCESSES OF LIFE?
W002 PERFECTLY WEIRD, PERFECTLY YOU
T015 THE JOY OF SCIENCE
E007 TACKLING THE CLIMATE CRISIS: DAZE AGHAJI AND JONATHON PORRITT
V004 PUZZLES AND PINTS
F001 VARIANT HUNTER N017 FABULOUS FIZZ: THE SECRETS OF P001 MATHS TRICKS TO BLOW YOUR MIND CHAMPAGNE
V006 WORKSHOP: THE INCREDIBLE OCEAN CHEMISTRY LAB
D004 OUR TOUCH SENSITIVE BRAIN
W035 THE CLOUD FACTORY
W032 THE QUANTUM QRUMPET
3pm U003 CAN WE CURE CANCER IN OUR LIFETIME?
CLC, School House Parabola Arts Centre Cafe
W007 WONDERFUL WATER
R002 BEACH, PLEASE!
Apollo Main Auditorium
H001 HOW TO GREEN W019 THE THINGS YOUR HOME WE KNOW WE DON’T W026 THE MERMAID KNOW AND THE COW
W014 SCIENCE OF STAR WARS
Town Hall, Pillar Room
J017 COCKTAIL HOUR J004 MATHS, MUSIC, AND “A WOMAN’S LIFE AND LOVE”
V005 PUZZLES AND PINTS
J002 SATURDAY VARIETY NIGHT
Who Do We Save? The Cube £9 Every day our wildlife is rapidly declining because of urbanisation, climate change and human competition. With one in ten species at risk of extinction in the UK alone, is it fair to prioritise the conservation of one species over another? Hana Ayoob is joined by ecologist Rebecca Nesbit (Tickets for The Ark) and zoologist Sophie Pavelle (Forget Me Not) to discuss the tough questions and trade-offs that conservation must consider.
SATURDAY 11 JUNE
CastAway High Street Free Drowning under a crushing mass of plastic, the Keeper of the Waterways awakens and rises up. It’s time for change. Highly Sprung’s CastAway is a stunning outdoor performance that explores the impact of today’s throwaway society on our waterways. Featuring a unique gyroscopic flying machine and all-female cast, prepare to be immersed in an underwater world where our performers dive, twist and float in the air to delight and captivate audiences of all ages. Leave ready to re-think what you can do to help tackle climate change.
We Make Tomorrow Helix Auditorium £8 Our collective of Be the Change Young Changemakers for 2022, Dawood Qureshi, Evie Meg, Samuel Ajakaiye, Sophia Badhan and Sophia McCall, talk to climate justice activist and Festival Guest Curator Daze Aghaji about their inspiring work, raising awareness in everything from protecting our oceans and cybersecurity, to mental health and international diplomacy. Together they chat about their own journeys into changemaking and discuss the importance of young voices when it comes to tackling the biggest issues of our time.
Are We Any Closer to Solving the Mystery of Time? Town Hall, Main Hall £10 In 1974, Paul Davies published his first book, The Physics of Time Asymmetry. Now, almost half a century later, he is one of a team of researchers that includes Jim Al-Khalili who are working on a new research programme to explore the origins of the arrow of time. The two theoretical physicists discuss their new project in which they hope to answer two of the biggest questions in science: how does the arrow of time emerge from the quantum world, and does life utilise the time reversibility of the quantum realm to distinguish it from non-life?
SATURDAY 11 JUNE 2-2.30pm
CastAway High Street Free
How to Green Your Home
Drowning under a crushing mass of plastic, the Keeper of the Waterways awakens and rises up. It’s time for change. Highly Sprung’s CastAway is a gravitydefying outdoor performance that explores the impact of today’s throwaway society on our waterways. Featuring a unique gyroscopic flying machine and all-female cast, prepare to be immersed in an underwater world where our performers dive, twist and float in the air to delight and captivate audiences of all ages. Leave ready to re-think what you can do to help tackle climate change.
The Cube £9 Adapting our habits at home is a brilliant way to contribute towards tackling the climate crisis. But how easy – or affordable – is it to make a real difference? Whether you’re considering big changes to upgrade your home or need simple but effective climate-friendly tips, our experts are here to help. Energy efficiency and policy expert David Glew and materials scientist Mark Miodownik join Julia Wheeler to discuss the steps we can all take to make our homes and gardens more eco-friendly and reduce our carbon footprint.
Bread, Glorious Bread! Town Hall, Pillar Room £11 Whether you’re a home baker extraordinaire or a bread munching connoisseur, join us for a celebration of all things bread. Ashley Kent is joined by bread maker Jack Sturgess, engineer and baker Andrew Smyth and dietician Renee McGregor to discuss the do(ugh)s and don(u)t’s of bread baking and eating.
Our Touch Sensitive Brain Town Hall, Pillar Room £9 The brain is one of the most complex things in the universe, but what if we could find a way to control it? Mark Lythgoe and the UCL team at the Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging have pioneered a new technique that could do just that. By giving our touch sensitive brain cells a nudge, micromagnets can be used to remotely control our brain. Together they share their findings about this exciting new development in brain control technology and explore the potential it poses for treating brain and mood disorders, including depression.
SATURDAY 11 JUNE 2.45-3.45pm
Quantum Biology: Do We Really Understand the Processes of Life? Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9 Quantum mechanics is at the heart of recent studies of biology at the molecular scale. Jim Al-Khalili explores the latest experimental results and theoretical predictions in the new field of quantum biology together with molecular geneticist Johnjoe McFadden and quantum physicists Alexandra Olaya-Castro and Sapphire Lally. They debate whether we are any closer to understanding the nature of the quantum processes in living cells.
Beach, Please! The Cube £9 Scientists estimate that 80% of all life on earth lives in our oceans, yet more marine life are coming under threat than ever before. How have humans left such a path of destruction behind them? Marine biologist and activist Dawood Qureshi discusses the importance of looking after our oceans and coastlines with Natalie Harris (founder of @CleanOurSeas) and Frédérique Fardin (founder of Roots Of The Sea), to discover how we can take action to help preserve our richly inhabited seas, both in the UK and on a global scale.
Globalisation: Connecting People and our Planet The Cube £8 Exploitation, colonialism, environmental destruction: globalisation is most often talked about in a negative way. But diaspora from around the world can create diverse cultures and communities, and with it, strengthened diplomacy and international relations. Exploring what globalisation means both economically and socially for our people and our planet, Young Changemaker Samuel Ajakaiye is joined by International Organisation for Migration’s Tauhid Pasha, journalist Onyekachi Wambu and other experts to examine the many benefits of our increasingly interconnected world.
Young Minds Under Pressure Apollo Main Auditorium Free Young people’s mental health has been hugely impacted by the pandemic. After being isolated from friends and worrying about exams, Gen Z are now feeling the pressure to get ‘back to normal.’ Together, mental health campaigner and Young Changemaker Sophia Badhan, junior doctor and body positivity campaigner Victoria Kinkaid and disability and mental health activist Charli Clement talk to Daze Aghaji about what we can do to support the younger generation. This event will be interpreted in British Sign Language (BSL).
Can We Cure Cancer In Our Lifetime? Town Hall, Main Hall £10 We are at a pivotal moment in the fight against cancer. Although one in two of us will be diagnosed in our lifetime, more of us than ever before are living longer and better with the disease and beyond it. From busting myths about the causes of cancer to exploring how the latest science and early detection technologies are advancing cancer care today, Professor of Experimental Oncology Sarah Blagden, Science Director at the Science Museum Roger Highfield, and other experts explore how far we have come. Together they consider the latest advances in prevention, detection and treatment, and discuss the important challenges that lie ahead when it comes to finding a cure. This event has been Guest Curated by writer, podcast host and campaigner Deborah James whose ‘rebellious hope’ is an inspiration to those living with and impacted by cancer. Although Deborah is no longer able to be present at the Festival she has been very involved in curating her events and keen that her name and her foundation be used to get people talking about cancer. She has sent us her best wishes and told us “I know it’s going to be amazing”. We hope that with Deborah’s curatorship, Cheltenham Science Festival can help continue her work and share the different perspectives on the approach to cancer.
SATURDAY 11 JUNE
Age recommendations are an approximate guide to help you choose your events. Everyone is always welcome to all of the listed events, but some parts will be more suited to the ages we’ve suggested.
The Things We Know We Don’t Know Apollo Main Auditorium Free
Bakineering: From A to B 10-11am
Science of Star Wars Town Hall, Main Hall £7 From spaceships and lasers, to robots and forcefields, Star Wars offers a glimpse into both the present and future of incredible science and engineering. Join author and scientist Jon Chase in a galaxy not so far away, to probe the fantastic frontier between movie magic and cutting-edge science. It will be out of this world! Suitable for ages 7+
Town Hall, Pillar Room £7 In this brand-new family show, join creator, aerospace engineer, and judge of Netflix’s Baking Impossible Andrew Smyth on an edible exploration of the engineering that helps us travel around the world. The Bake-Off finalist will use interactive “bakineering” demos to show the engineering principles that keep us safely travelling via road, sea, and sky. From the secrets of edible boats, to the key to a deliciously survivable crash test, this tasty show is sure to whisk up your curiosity. Suitable for ages 9+
The Cloud Factory
The Mermaid and The Cow
Apollo Main Auditorium Free
This event is suitable for people with special educational needs and disabilities. Suitable for all ages
This event will be interpreted in British Sign Language (BSL).
Have you ever touched a cloud? Can we make a cloud that tastes of strawberries?! Join Sarah Bearchell to feel, see, hear, smell and taste clouds created from dry ice. Make predictions and marvel at the results in this deliciously delightful hands-on show.
There are so many things we don’t know about the animals and plants we share our planet with. And many things we may never ever know about them. So, how do scientists work with the information they have to make educated guesses about what they don’t know? Join biologists Phil Bell-Young and Hana Ayoob on an adventure into the unknown! Suitable for ages 8+
Helix Auditorium £7 11.30am-12.15pm
Wonderful Water Apollo Main Auditorium Free Water can do all sorts of wonderful things; from dissolving and squashing, to freezing and evaporating. Our friends at Science Made Simple will be your guides as you dive into the amazing properties of this lifegiving liquid. With fun demonstrations and explosive experiments, you’ll never look at water in the same way again! Suitable for ages 5+
Have you heard the story of the Mermaid and the Cow? After cutting her hand on plastic while freediving in Indonesia, adventurer and author Lindsey Cole wanted to do something to raise awareness about the problem. While swimming the length of the River Thames as a mermaid, she found herself facing a different problem – how to rescue a drowning cow. Join Lindsey as she shares her story in this interactive show all about plastic pollution and animal rescue. Suitable for ages 5-11 years old
SATURDAY 11 JUNE
3.15-4.15pm 11-12pm 12.30-1.30pm
Workshop: The Incredible Ocean Chemistry Lab School House Cafe £10 Oceanographer Russell Arnott is bringing his water lab to Cheltenham to reveal the fascinating world of marine chemistry. Build a saltwater battery, create exotic gases, repurpose unrecyclable plastics, find secrets in seaweed, and see how climate change is impacting the acidity of our oceans in this interactive workshop. You’ll be amazed at how much chemistry is happening beneath the waves! Suitable for ages 7+
The Science of Superheroes Helix Auditorium £7 How does spiderman’s webbing work? Can we use the weather like Thor does? Why is Hawkeye’s vision so good? How does Groot re-grow into a big tree from a twig? Why do superheroes wear capes? From Hulk and Black Widow, to Aquaman and Batman, learn all about the super science behind everyone’s favourite superheroes. Suitable for ages 7-13
The Quantum Qrumpet
Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £7
Town Hall, Main Hall £7
You’ve heard of quantum tunnelling, right? The theory that if you continuously throw a crumpet at a wall it’ll eventually go through? ANTS Theatre will stop at nothing to send the special delicious snack through to the other side – the Quantum Qrumpet. This funny-yetpoignant show brings repetition, clowning, hope and quantum mechanics together for an hour of hilarity and fun. Bready or not, here we come! Suitable for ages 10+
One Million Volts Expect a hair-raising performance in this electrifying show from BBC One Show’s resident scientist, Marty Jopson, including plucked chickens, explosions, huge sparks and more. From the Ancient Greeks to Faraday’s genius, journey through the exciting history of electricity and spark your imagination. Suitable for ages 7+
Perfectly Weird, Perfectly You Apollo Main Auditorium Free Peer pressure and Isaac Newton have a lot more in common that you first might think. Scientist, autism advocate and award-winning author Camilla Pang returns to Cheltenham to share the science of growing up in Perfectly Weird, Perfectly You. Discover how your confidence is a lot like programming a computer and enjoy practical experiments from Keith Rose. Suitable for ages 8+
SATURDAY 11 JUNE 5.30-6.30pm
Puzzles and Pints Bottle of Sauce Games Room £12 Everyone loves a pub quiz, right? Get quizzical and join puzzle-mad mathematicians Katie Steckles and Ben Sparks for a brain-teasing selection of mathematical puzzles to tickle the grey cells, all in a non-competitive, light-hearted space. Who knows what you might find out...
Gardening to Save the Planet Helix Auditorium £9 Whether it’s your own garden or local park, green spaces are vital as wildlife havens and can also help manage pollution, flooding, drought and temperatures. Conservation scientist Adam Hart talks to plant ecologist Kate Lewthwaite, horticulturist Alistair Griffith and biologist Dawood Qureshi about how these wonderful spaces can be lifesaving for our planet, and what we can do to help them thrive. This event will include live captioning
Tackling the Climate Crisis: Daze Aghaji and Jonathon Porritt Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9 Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z – environmental campaigning has changed across the generations as the climate crisis accelerates. Environmentalist, writer and broadcaster Jonathon Porritt (Hope in Hell) has been at the forefront of climate activism for over five decades, while climate justice activist and student Daze Aghaji made history in 2019, when she became the youngest candidate to stand in a European Parliamentary election. Reflecting on how changing methods, priorities and policies have shaped activism, they bring together their shared perspectives to explore key challenges we must address and reasons to be hopeful for the future.
SATURDAY 11 JUNE
The Man Who Tasted Words: Strange and Startling Senses Town Hall, Main Hall £9 5.30-6.15pm
The Joy of Science Apollo Main Auditorium Free The scientific method has served humankind well in its quest to see things as they really are. Jim Al-Khalili invites you to engage with the world like a scientist is trained to do, and to see how the powerful ideas at the heart of the scientific method are deeply relevant to the complicated times we live in and the difficult choices we make. He will empower you to think more objectively, see through the fog of your own pre-existing beliefs, and lead a more fulfilling life.
What we perceive to be the truth of the world around us is a complex reconstruction, a virtual reality created by our minds in tandem with the wiring of our nervous systems. Consultant neurologist Guy Leschziner (The Man Who Tasted Words) explores how senses shape our experiences and investigates what happens if the wiring in our minds goes awry. In this fascinating journey through the senses, Guy introduces us to some extraordinary individuals whose experiences force us to question the idea of ‘normal’ senses. In worlds where hot and cold are reversed, sounds create sensations and words have taste, prepare to eat your words. Chaired by Julia Wheeler.
Variant Hunter The Cube £9 Our ability to track COVID-19 variants has been fundamental in our global response to the pandemic, guiding decision making and tracking the virus to find emerging variants like Omicron. Join ‘Variant Hunter’ Sophie Prosolek, former scientist turned educator, who worked to sequence the virus at the height of the pandemic for this fascinating talk. As scientists work to fight the threat of all infectious diseases, is the important process of genome sequencing the new heroic monster hunting?
Cocktail Hour Apollo Main Auditorium Free It’s cocktail hour! Our favourite scientists Mark Miodownik and Andrea Sella are back, shaken but not stirred, for more sophisticated science and silliness. Grab a drink (or two) from the bar and find out what makes the perfect cocktail – all in the interest of research, of course.
SATURDAY 11 JUNE 7.30-8.30pm
Puzzles and Pints Bottle of Sauce £12
Maths, Music, and “A Woman’s Life and Love”
Everyone loves a pub quiz, right? Get quizzical and join puzzle-mad mathematicians Katie Steckles and Ben Sparks for a brain-teasing selection of mathematical puzzles to tickle the grey cells, all in a non-competitive, light-hearted space. Who knows what you might find out...
Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £10 Mathematician Eugenia Cheng examines women in maths and maths in music through a unique combination of lecture and concert. With soprano Sarah Gabriel she’ll perform her reworked version of Schumann’s song cycle “A Woman’s Life and Love” – with a modern feminist twist. Instead of fading away when her husband dies, our heroine instead sings about ambition, imposter syndrome, bullying and forging a new path, leaving the old systems behind. Eugenia describes her own unusual career as a mathematician and concert pianist and how the process of writing the piece expanded the themes beyond feminism, to inclusivity in general.
Saturday Variety Night 7.15-8.15pm
Fabulous Fizz: The Secrets of Champagne Town Hall, Pillar Room £20 With over 20 million bubbles in just one bottle of Champagne, this fizzy favourite is a long-celebrated tipple. But what’s the secret behind the combination of flavours with food such as oysters and caviar? Learn all about the science and senses behind bubbly with Barry Smith and Ole Mouritsen, including the role of the fifth taste, umami. You will also have the chance to confirm the results for yourself – all in the name of science, of course.
Town Hall, Main Hall £15
Maths Tricks to Blow Your Mind Helix Auditorium £8 Mathematician and entertainer Kyle D Evans spent lockdown studying viral maths puzzles, life-hacks and tricks. Prepare to have your mind blown as you join Kyle for an hour of mind-bending maths, interactive demos and wicked humour. You can expect the odd musical number too!
Funny, entertaining and enlightening, get ready for our Science Festival Variety Night for late night laughs, songs and silliness with some fascinating facts thrown in for good measure. Expect the unexpected as musical comedian Emer Maguire comperes a stellar line up of guests including Marty Jopson, Steve Mould, Cerys Bradley, Hana Ayoob, Kyle D Evans, Rachel Williams, Nathan H. Lents and Sapphire Lally. For adults over 18 only (may contain language and reference to sex).
SUNDAY 12 JUNE PLANNER Town Hall, Main Hall 10am
Apollo Main Auditorium
W004 DOGOLOGY VS CATOLOGY
W024 SHARK VS WHALE
W038 FANTASTIC FORENSICS
Imperial Gardens, Meeting Point R010 CLEANING CHELT: LITTER PICKING WALK
E004 SCIENCE VS SCEPTICS
WO12 THE JUGGLING OF SCIENCE T004 IS THE WORLD A HOLOGRAM?
U002 UV YOGA W022 BLOBFISH!
W021 KITCHEN CHEMISTRY
2pm U004 THE FUTURE OF CANCER
R004 AN AIR EMERGENCY A015 EVIE MEG MEETS DAZE AGHAJI
P008 FINANCIAL WELLNESS AND HOW TO FIND IT U011 LIFE TIME: THE NEW SCIENCE OF THE BODY CLOCK
I010 REWIRING BRITAIN
D009 MIND THE GAP: INEQUALITY IN MENTAL HEALTH
A018 GUT FEELINGZ
K001 SUSPECT CONFESSIONS
B006 BITCH: A REVOLUTIONARY GUIDE TO SEX, EVOLUTION AND THE FEMALE ANIMAL
E013 IDEALISTICALLY: TOLMEIA GREGORY
6pm I007 FLYING TAXIS
Bottle of Sauce Games Room
P003 MATHEMATICAL MODELLING W034 MATHEMATICAL STORIES
CLC, Parabola Arts Centre
W006 BUILD YOUR OWN MARVELLOUS MACHINE U008 THE SCIENCE OF COLD-WATER SWIMMING
Town Hall, Pillar Room
B007 EARTH: THE STORY OF LIFE ON OUR PLANET
Q010 OTHERLANDS: A WORLD IN THE MAKING
J016 CONTROL: THE DARK HISTORY AND TROUBLING PRESENT OF EUGENICS
V002 LET’S GO WITH LEGO ©
V003 LET’S GO WITH LEGO ©
J008 OVER AMBITIOUS DEMO CHALLENGE
Cleaning Chelt: Litter Picking Walk Imperial Gardens, Meeting Point Free. Please arrive in suitable clothing and footwear for walking and bring water. Be the Change you want to see and join us for an extra special litter pick to help keep Cheltenham free from pollution. Hear from Natalie Harris, founder of @CleanOurSeas on the importance of keeping our natural spaces clean as you wander around Cheltenham collecting litter. See the Festival Village map on page 4 for Meeting Point.
The Science of Cold-Water Swimming Town Hall, Pillar Room £9 During lockdown the number of people enjoying wild swimming soared, but what are the effects of ice-cold temperatures on our bodies and minds, and why do so many people swear by the restorative, invigorating properties of cold water? Julia Wheeler is joined by extreme environments researcher and seasoned open water swimmer Heather Massey and Great Britain ice swimming champion and open water swimming coach Caroline Saxon. Together, they explore the science behind cold water swimming and share their top tips: whether you’re a first timer wanting to dip your toe, or an experienced swimmer looking to improve your current practice.
SUNDAY 12 JUNE
Science vs Sceptics Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £8 Despite the evidence and expertise to back up scientific discoveries, it can sometimes take a little bit more for people to put their faith in facts. What can we do to improve trust in science, and why can scepticism and conspiracy theories be so compelling? Youth in policy-making advocate and Festival Young Changemaker Samuel Ajakaiye is joined by social scientist Samantha Vanderslott, whose work specialises in attitudes and decision-making around vaccination, psychologist Stuart Ritchie, and other leading experts. They explore the science behind these hesitancies and consider how we might engage more constructively with different beliefs to allow for improved trust in science, while understanding concerns and perspectives from all sides.
Mathematical Modelling Town Hall, Main Hall £9 Mathematicians and computer scientists can attempt to predict the future of climate change or future pandemics, but how accurate are these models? Adam Rutherford joins climate scientist and IPCC author Amanda Maycock and mathematical biologist and Independent SAGE member Kit Yates to talk about the tools, probability, predictions, and precision when it comes to forecasting what lies ahead.
Image: Pastawski, Harlow and Preskill
Is the World a Hologram? Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9 Recent ideas in theoretical physics indicate that the world as we know it may be a hologram. More than that even, it seems that space may be built rather like a giant quantum computer. Jeff Forshaw talks to physicists Ivette Fuentes and Vlatko Vedral and IBM Quantum Ambassador Leigh Chase to explore these outlandish ideas and the way that we are coming to appreciate that information may play a deeply fundamental role in the construction of the universe – more fundamental than particles even.
UV Yoga Town Hall, Pillar Room Free Come and experience yoga as you never have before. With muscles highlighted in UV paint, clinical anatomist Gabrielle Finn and yoga teacher and anatomy researcher Karen Kirkness explore the complexity of human musculature in this visual take on a typical yoga class. When the lights go off, what will you see under the skin? Suitable for all abilities. Please dress for a yoga class. Yoga mats will be provided if required.
An Air Emergency The Cube £9 In October 2020, Destiny Boka Batesa co-founded the ChokedUp campaign with the aim of protecting black and brown lives when it came to air pollution. The campaign highlighted the shocking statistic that the most deprived communities live with 22% more air pollution. Destiny is joined by atmospheric scientist Craig Poku to discuss how things got so bad and the scientific solutions needed to improve air quality. Together with Hana Ayoob, they uncover the improvements that are already taking place and what we can all do to help the cause.
SUNDAY 12 JUNE
Shark Vs Whale
Dogology Vs Catology Town Hall, Main Hall £7 Did you know that dogs prefer to poo with their bodies aligned north-south? Or that that cats rarely fart and have a bone-mending purr frequency? Together with his robot dog/cat Clank, author Stefan Gates reveals all the secret canine and feline science we never hear about, because it’s so wonderfully weird. In this multimedia demo-packed show, learn all about the weird and wonderful science behind everyone’s favourite furry friends. Suitable for ages 7+
Build Your Own Marvellous Machine Apollo Main Auditorium Free Learn how to transform and recycle household objects into homemade toys and machines with Mr Shaha’s Marvellous Machines, the new book from science teacher, author and Dad, Alom Shaha. Create your very own marvellous machines to take home in this hands-on workshop. Suitable for ages 5+
Sharks go fin to fin with whales in the ultimate underwater duel. Who do you think is the biggest, loudest, strongest? In the blue corner, oceanographer Russell Arnott will be representing sharks from around the world as he fact-battles against marine biologist Claudia Allen – also in the blue corner – competing for Team Whale. Discover which creature is so loud it can shock you to death with its vibrations, or which sea explorer uses electricity to find its food! In this fin-tastic fight, will you be on Team Shark or Team Whale? Suitable for ages 7+
Helix Auditorium £7
Fantastic Forensics Apollo Main Auditorium Free There’s been a burglary! Can you help Diatom Dave to catch the sticky-fingered culprit? Using real forensic techniques as seen in popular TV shows like CSI, CSI: Miami and – you guessed it – CSI:NY! Use chemistry, physics and biology to eliminate suspects and identify the “Bakery Bandit” who stole the tasty contents of Bob’s Buns. Suitable for ages 4+
The Cube £7 Mathematics permeates every aspect of science and technology, but it’s easy to forget that mathematical ideas and techniques were invented and discovered by human beings. Mathematician Katie Steckles shares the stories of those who spent months, years and even lifetimes developing the maths we use today, and explores how their lives and work across centuries are all connected through numbers. Suitable for ages 10+
Other familyfriendly events taking place across the festival Aged 10+ A Day at Cotswold Wildlife Park page 15 Victorian Magic page 25 We Make Tomorrow page 33 Evie Meg meets Daze Aghaji page 45 Beach, Please! page 35 Young Minds Under Pressure page 35 Famelab: A Celebration page 30 Games Dev Live: How to Make a Game page 17 Watch and Wonder: A Bird-Spotting Walk page 19 The Secret Lives of Elements page 21 Dinosaurs: New Visions of a Lost World page 22 Mind the Gap: Inequality in Mental Health page 46
SUNDAY 12 JUNE
Kitchen Chemistry Helix Auditorium £7 12.45-13.15pm
The Juggling of Science Apollo Main Auditorium Free Join jugglers Ben and Fred for an exciting and fun-filled discovery of key scientific concepts in The Juggling of Science. In this award-winning performance, you won’t just be entertained by juggling and circus tricks, you’ll learn tons of new things too! Learn about everything from particle physics to covalent bonds and hydrogen fuel cells using juggling and hula hooping skills. Suitable for ages 7+.
BLOBFISH! Apollo Main Auditorium Free
Blobfish lives deep, deep, deep under the sea and loves telling jokes. The only problem? He has no one to share them with, so he sets off on an adventure to find a friend. But sometimes friends turn up in the most unexpected places. Join Olaf Falafel, author of BLOBFISH! for an energetic and exciting afternoon packed full of jokes and drawing, while also gently introducing children to the issue of plastics in our oceans. Suitable for ages 5+
Chemical reactions aren’t just bubbling beakers in laboratories – our day to day lives are packed with amazing and overlooked chemical reactions. Take a tour around the kitchen with Jamie Gallagher and explore the sights, sounds and smells of everyday chemistry. Explosive oranges, disgusting cola and the secrets of sugar all lie in wait as we put the ‘ordinary’ world under a microscope. The kitchen becomes the scientist’s playground in this jam-packed show filled with fun experiments guaranteed to make you look at science in a whole new light. Suitable for ages 7+
SUNDAY 12 JUNE
The Future of Cancer
Financial Wellness and How to Find It
Town Hall, Main Hall £10 Cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery are rapidly evolving for the next generation. Scientists have made great strides in unravelling the complexities of cancer, but what comes next in the race to find a cure? From cutting-edge surgical techniques and personalised medicine designed to complement an individual’s genes, to more holistic lifestyle changes, cancer biologist Fran Balkwill, medical oncologist and precision medicine specialist Gary Middelton, and Prehab4Cancer programme manager Kirsty Rowlinson-Groves share their perspectives on how our approach to the disease might adapt and evolve in the future. This event has been Guest Curated by writer, podcast host and campaigner Deborah James whose ‘rebellious hope’ is an inspiration to those living with and impacted by cancer. Although Deborah is no longer able to be present at the Festival she has been very involved in curating her events and keen that her name and her foundation be used to get people talking about cancer. She has sent us her best wishes and told us “I know it’s going to be amazing”. We hope that with Deborah’s curatorship, Cheltenham Science Festival can help continue her work and share the different perspectives on the approach to cancer.
Town Hall, Pillar Room £8 When you feel bad about money, it can be hard to feel good about yourself. Entrepreneur Melanie Eusebe takes finance out of the business pages and into our personal lives, exploring the link between money and wellness. Discover tools and resources to help you reset your relationship with money and take charge of your financial happiness, regardless of your situation or the economy.
Rewiring Britain Helix Auditorium £9
Evie Meg meets Daze Aghaji Apollo Main Auditorium Free TikTok sensation and Tourettes awareness advocate Evie Meg @thistrippyhippy chats with activist Daze Aghaji about her new book My Nonidentical Twin. With over 500 million likes under her belt, Evie Meg gives an insight into what it is like living with Tourettes and breaks down the misconceptions around it. In this conversation with two of our Young Changemakers, you’ll get the chance to know Evie Meg even better.
Every day we use electricity to power our homes, factories and offices. So how can we re-wire Britain for an electrified world? Looking at how this infrastructure needs to change to accommodate electric vehicles and local networks, Helen Czerski speaks to architect Toby Smith and sustainable energy systems researcher Peter Taylor about electrifying our world. This event will include live captioning
SUNDAY 12 JUNE
Mind the Gap: Inequality in Mental Health The Cube £8 In May 2021 it was announced that the Mental Health Act would be reformed after almost 40 years, with the Government promising to tackle disparities in mental health services. For certain communities, the risk of receiving lower quality care – and more severe outcomes as a result – is much higher. Mental health campaigner and Young Changemaker Sophia Badhan and others explore how, when it comes to both policy-making and practical support, we can shape the conditions that allow everyone’s mental health to flourish. Chaired by Brad Gudger.
Gut Feelingz Apollo Main Auditorium Free Dive in and swim through the most majestic place on earth: the gut! Get ready for a gutwrenching journey from the mouth through the intestines and out through the anus with double act, geneticist Charlotte Mykura and anatomist Leo Polchar as your guides. Set with original songs such as Thanks to My Pancreas and Where’s My Bumhole, along with some mind-bending facts, you’ll just 46 have to trust your gut on this one.
Bitch: A Revolutionary Guide to Sex, Evolution and the Female Animal Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9 What does it mean to be female? Mother, carer, the weaker sex? Think again. In the last few decades, a revolution has been brewing in zoology and evolutionary biology. From the female lemurs of Madagascar that dominate the males of their species, to the meerkat mothers of the Kalahari Desert – the most murderous mammals on the planet – zoologist and presenter Lucy Cooke overturns outdated binary expectations of bodies, brains, biology and behaviour. She introduces us to a riotous cast of animals that are redefining everything we thought we knew about sex, sexual identity and sexuality in animals, and with it, the very forces that shape evolution. Chaired by Kathy Sykes.
Life Time: The New Science of the Body Clock Town Hall, Main Hall £9 Could our body clock hold the key to helping us live our best lives? Russell Foster (Life Time), a world-leading expert on circadian neuroscience, takes us on a fascinating journey to explore how we can work, eat and sleep better. He joins Julia Wheeler to bust long-standing myths about the best daily routine, from how to use light for a better night’s sleep to using mealtimes to supercharge your metabolism, to the extraordinary effects the time we take medication can have on our risk of life-threatening conditions such as strokes. You’ll leave ready to get back into the rhythm and lead a healthier, sharper life.
SUNDAY 12 JUNE
Idealistically: Tolmeia Gregory
Town Hall, Pillar Room £9
Have you ever admitted to something you didn’t do? It’s surprisingly common for innocent people to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. For juries, confessions trump most other forms of evidence. While some people voluntarily confess to things they are innocent of, vulnerable suspects can be led to confess by some forms of police interviewing. From personality factors to lies, threats and torture, psychologist Faye Skelton explores the psychology of false confessions and what we can do to prevent them.
In Idealistically, climate justice activist and illustrator Tolmeia Gregory balances the difficult conversations around the current state of the world with hope for the future. What would the world look like if we dream a little bigger? In this live event, Tolmeia chats to a very special guest about their ideal vision of the world, and what we can do to get there.
Earth: The Story of Life on Our Planet The Cube £9 The evolution of life is an epic tale full of twists and turns, surprising heroes, and unlikely survivors. Accompanied by a series of beautiful images, Elsa Panciroli captures the vast scale of the history of life on Earth using 47 carefully selected organisms from our planetary history. In conversation with Hana Ayoob, she shares the ingenuity of evolutionary biologies, considers our own brief part in this epic history, and shows our disproportionate impact on the world we call home.
Flying Taxis 5.30-6.30pm
Let’s Go with LEGO © Bottle of Sauce Games Room £8 Be the master of your own universe with brilliant block builder and physicist Ben Still. Make sure to have your LEGO © to hand as you’ll be assembling different atoms to build your very own periodic table. The rules of nature definitely don’t apply in this fun and interactive session.LEGO © will be provided or bring your personal stash along.
Helix Auditorium £9 Forget flying to the Moon – are flying taxis the next best thing? Urban-Air Port’s Chief Technology Officer Alan Jones and drone expert and engineer Stephen Prior join Danielle Purkiss to discuss the technology, the practicalities, and the governance of air taxis, and whether we might be seeing them sooner than we think. This event will include live captioning
SUNDAY 12 JUNE
Otherlands: A World in the Making
Control: The Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics
Parabola Arts Centre, Main Auditorium £9
Town Hall, Pillar Room £10
Palaeontologist and evolutionary biologist Thomas Halliday has many strings to his bow, having recently added Sunday Times bestselling author to the list. From Ice Age Alaska to the birthplace of humanity, join Halliday on a dazzling tour of astounding ancient landscapes. Travel across the continents, visit the birthplaces of humanity, and hear the crashing of the highest waterfall the Earth has ever known. While these lost worlds seem fantastical, every element – even the colour of a beetle’s shell – is engraved in the fossil record.
Throughout history, people have sought to improve themselves, and society, by eliminating disease, to enhance desirable qualities in their children or control populations with rules about who can procreate and who can live. Adam Rutherford shares how new techniques in genetics and gene editing have prompted much needed discussion about improving the ‘quality’ of the population. He explores the science, history and future of eugenics, and the practice of population control through selective procreation. Chaired by Julia Wheeler.
Let’s Go with LEGO ©
Bottle of Sauce Games Room £8
Be the master of your own universe with brilliant block builder and physicist Ben Still. Make sure to have your LEGO © to hand as you’ll be assembling different atoms to build your very own periodic table. The rules of nature definitely don’t apply in this fun and interactive session. LEGO © will be provided or bring your personal stash along.
Town Hall, Main Hall £10
Over Ambitious Demo Challenge Our infamous annual contest to find the most spectacular, show-stopping science demos. Expect overambitious escapades by our brave challengers Katie Steckles, Melanie Hannah and Nate Adams as they complete to become the 2022 champion – who gets your vote? Hosted by Andrea Sella and Steve Mould.
PATRONS We would like to thank all our Patrons for their generous support including those who have chosen to remain anonymous: Life Patrons Dr Lynda Albertyn and Pat Gallasch Mark and Sue Blanchfield Peter and Anne Bond Dominic and Jannene Collier Michael and Felicia Crystal Colin and Suzanne Doak Miles and Monica Dunkley The Eaton Family The Fingerhuth Leung Family Charles Fisher Mr and Mrs D M Gates Lucy Freeman and Peter Hulett David and John Hall Margaret Headen Diane and Mark Hill Jeremy and Germaine Hitchins Family Jonathan and Cassinha Hitchins Family Stephen and Tania Hitchins Family Jeff and Keren Iliffe Elizabeth and Michael Jones and Family Rick and Lisa Jones Steven and Linda Jones Hugh and Sue Koch Robert and Moira Leechman Hazel and Jeremy Lewis Eileen Lockwood The McKelvie Family Fiona McLeod The McWilliam Family in loving memory of Ruth McWilliam Keith Norton and Piers Norton Mark and Elizabeth Philip-Sorensen Jason Robson and Shelley Bence John and Susan Singer Simon Skinner and Jean Gouldsmith Skinner
Andrew Smith Phil and Jennifer Stapleton Liz and Neil Stewart Sharon Studer and Graham Beckett Chris and Bridgette Sunman Fiona and David Symondson Michelle Thorley Luanne and Hodson Thornber The Walker Family Jaqueline Woof
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Gold Patrons Nicholas and Alixandra Avery Sigrid and Ben Atkinson Geraldine and Jim Beaty Christopher Bence Sam Berwick Stephen and Victoria Bond Charlie Chan Stuart and Gillian Corbyn Ian Culverhouse Wallace and Morag Dobbin Peter and Sue Elliott Marc and Melanie Gillespie Mike and Judie Hill Mr and Mrs Riff Heber-Percy Lord and Lady Hoffmann Elizabeth Jacobs Sir Michael and Lady McWilliam Paul and Kathy Mottershead Kim Moore Stuart Palmer Dr Julia Pearson and Dr Keith England Adrian and Cassandra Phillips Martin and Susan Pickard Shelley and Paul Roberts Toby and Sharon Roberts Zoe and Khal Rudin Brenda Salters and Harold Longmate Esther and Peter Smedvig Su-Mei and Marcus Thompson We would also like to thank all our Silver Patrons who are listed on the website:
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Cheltenham Science Festival is presented by Cheltenham Festivals Ltd, a Charity and company limited by guarantee. Cheltenham Festivals Board of Trustees Diane Savory OBE (Chair) Mark Philip-Sorensen (Vice Chair) Deborah Cogan Thacker Sarah Cooksley Adrian Farnell Beverley Grimster Peter Howarth Caroline Hutton Shamil Makhecha Co-CEOs Ian George Ali Mawle Senior Management Team Helena Bibby Suzanne Ross Company Secretary Matthew Clayton Head of Programming Marieke Navin Programme and VOICEBOX Manager Emma Whittle
Marketing and Box Office Jade Beard, Phil Brook, Daisy Burgan, Hannah Franklin, Emily Johnson, Bairbre Lloyd, Martin Perks, Madelaine Richards, Louise Sinclair Development Katherine Cox, Gemma Fletcher, Maria Gushchina, Becky Harte, Helen Knowles, Jenna Marks, Tara Patterson, Eleri Thomas, Ellie Topham Learning and Participation Philippa Claridge, Khazana McLaughlin, Rebecca Smith, Rose Wood Operations and Production Ollie Bradstock, Louise Carles, Claire Crawford, Kate Hadley, Adrian Hensley, James Kitto, Natasha Russell Event Management and Production, Rosy Turner, Rhianna Smith, Mo Soper, Matthew Tosh
Family and Schools Programme Manager Matthew Allen
Finance Ben Bates, Russ Poole
Festival Coordinator Ffion Molyneux
With many thanks to the staff and volunteers who provide invaluable support and help make the Festival a success.
Festival Programmer Hana Ayoob MakerShack Curator Olivia Clemence
Festivals Administrator Holly Van Ryssen
The Arcade Curator Gary Kerr
Company No. 456573 Charity No. 251765 Main switchboard no. 01242 511 211 VAT Registration No. 100114013 Artwork Credits Adult programme illustration © Vicky Scott 2022 Family programme illustration © Lydia Monks 2022 This brochure is correct at time of going to press – find programme updates online at cheltenhamfestivals.com/science.
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Getting To The Festival Cheltenham is easily accessible from all over the UK by road and rail. Most events take place on the main Festival site, located in central Cheltenham on Imperial Gardens (GL50 1QA). Other venues are within walking distance. For more information on public transport and car parks go to cheltenhamfestivals.com/your-visit.
Booking Fee A booking fee of £3 will be charged per order.
Access Requirements Booking Dates Life Patrons 5 April 2022 Director’s Circle Patrons 9 April 2022 Gold Patrons 11 April 2022 Silver Patrons 14 April 2022 Members 19 April 2022 16-25 Members 20 April 2022 General Booking 26 April 2022 Adult programme illustration © Vicky Scott 2022 Family programme illustration © Lydia Monks 2022
Please book using our online form at cheltenhamfestivals. com/access-requirements
Refunds Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable, except in the case of a cancelled event. See cheltenhamfestivals. com/booking for details.
Gift Certificates Gift certificates may be purchased at our Box Office or online at cheltenhamfestivals.com/gift-certificates and may be redeemed against ticket or Membership purchases.
1 Imperial Gardens GL50 1QA 2 Cheltenham Town Hall GL50 1QA 3 Cheltenham Ladies’ College Parabola Arts Centre GL50 3AA 4 Bottle of Sauce GL50 3LH
5 High Street GL50 1DE 6 School House Café GL50 4EZ 7 DEYA Brewing Company Gl51 8PL 8 Queens Hotel Gl50 1NN
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