Sussex University academics to share expertise at ‘world’s greatest science festival’

Children interact with a robot at the science fair
Children interact with a robot at the science fair

Three Sussex University professors will share their science knowledge with tens of thousands at the ‘greatest festival of science’.

Professor Kathy Romer, Dr Gianluca Memoli, and Professor Sarah Garfinkel will take part in New Scientist Live, which starts today (10 October).

The trio will be appearing alongside astronaut Tim Peake, who was born in Sussex.

Also making an appearance are writer and broadcaster Professor Alice Roberts, astronaut Al Worden, and former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq.

The professors will talk on the influence of signals from internal organs on human thought, the destructive potential of dark matter, and more.

Visitors to Dr Gianluca Memoli and his team’s stand will be given the chance to see levitating butterflies made of sound, touch acoustic holograms, and experience an acoustic rainbow.

Dr Memoli said: “I am extremely excited by the possibility of exhibiting my research at the New Scientist Live.

“For me, taking science ‘out there’ is not only a duty, but more a rare mind-opening opportunity. My own vision is strengthened and transformed through discussions with non-scientists.”

Prof Romer, a professor of astrophysics at the University’s school of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, said: “I absolutely love talking to the public about cosmology, both the mind blowing weirdness of it, and the dogged hard work and technological innovations that are needed to make progress in the field.

“All types of public engagement are important, but high profile events like New Scientist Live not only reach lots of people directly in a short space of time, they also heighten the profile of science in the media, so they reach many more people indirectly.

“There is still a way to go, but one day hopefully we’ll hit on a winning formula for public engagement with science that will have the same effect as what The Great British Bake Off has done for baking.”

Prof Garfinkel, a professor of clinical and affective neuroscience at Sussex, said that they are ‘delighted’ to be attending the event which is ‘the biggest’ they have ever talked at.

She said: “It’s wonderful that these science events can attract so many people. At a time where experts are being increasingly derided, there is a growing need to highlight the role of science in breaking boundaries and opening up the potential for new technology and medical treatments.

“It’s also really exciting personally for me. I spend so much of my time in the lab so it’s fantastic to have this opportunity to interact with so many people and share all the exciting research we are doing here at Sussex.”

The event, which runs for four days at London’s ExCeL Centre, is expected to attract up to 40,000 people with 120 engaging talks and more than 150 interactive experiences.

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