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Festival time for the mind

By Paula Morgenstern, on 12 June 2012

Festival time – yeah! I pack my bright red wellies, those oversized sunglasses my sister gave me last Christmas and a box of earplugs. Good to go. But stop – because this festival is going to be different. Instead of music blasting from enormous speakers and people happily dancing away to it, here there are interesting talks and challenging discussions waiting for me. I am going to the Cheltenham Science Festival.

The line-up is exciting and more varied than Glastonbury could ever dream of being. Thinking robots meet electricity generating buildings; MRI scanners discover if someone is telling the truth and Vivienne Westwood promotes sustainability, while Anonymous’ attacks on websites to promote free speech are fiercely debated. I want to see it all!

Of course, I cannot see it all. But I am looking forward to six interesting days full of debate and more question than answers. Two of them are: what is the role of science in society? How can science help to make our world a better place for everyone?

It may sound naïve, but apart from an interest in many of the topics presented at the festival, more than anything, it is these questions that I am hoping to get fresh ideas on.

I might still take my wellies and my sunglasses – with the British weather you never know. But for sure, I will unpack my earplugs. I want my ears (and my eyes) to be wide open over the following days to take in all the Cheltenham Science Festival has to offer. Good to go…

Image: Red wellies (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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