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The One to Watch: Liverpool Science Festival

If you thought the cosmic microwave background was something to do with a Pot Noodle, get along to this exciting new event

Published on June 24th 2014.

The One to Watch: Liverpool Science Festival

IN Liverpool it is always the festive season. This city is awash with festivals: festivals that have the words “arts” or “music” and “festival” in the title. Since 2008, when Liverpool was European capital of Culture, we have latched onto the F-word like limpets. Quite simply, we are a white noise of festivals.

Is that a complaint at the back there, sir?
God, no. We could all be living in Thetford.

Blessed, then, we may be in the 'Pool.
Indeed, but with such an embarrassment of riches, we might be forgiven for occasionally overlooking these wondrous occasions. 

Now, however, we have a brand new festival that doesn't have the words art, or music, or culture anywhere in the title. Yet it definitely demands your full attention.

Oye, I mean oh aye?
This week marks the start of the Liverpool Science Festival. It is part of the mysterious International Festival For Business. The blurb says it features “leading national, international and regional scientists and science communicators”. 

Stop it, you're getting me all hot under the collar.
It goes on: “Liverpool Science Festival was founded with the mission to create a unique platform to engage the public in all things scientific – from natural science to science in its most interdisciplinary and cultural contexts”.

You've got one minute to sex this up or I'm off.
Ruby Wax is here on Sunday.

More, more.
Big Bang any good to you? 

In theory.
In that case, the Liverpool Science Festival is attracting some very big hitters and is contributing events to CERN's 60th birthday celebrations. CERN, in Switzerland, is the birthplace of the internet, site of the discovery of the Higgs Boson sub atomic particle. - and home to scientists from more than 100 countries. It is responsible for the world’s biggest scientific experiment which sees beams of sub-atomic particles make 11,000 circuits of 27km every second, meeting in collisions to recreate the beginnings of the universe. 

How does it work?
Dunno, but fortunately a man who can tell you is here on Saturday afternoon (June 28). 

Dr Lyn Evans, chief engineer at CERN, flies in from Geneva, to speak at the Rum Warehouse, Titanic Hotel, Stanley Dock. It is an event that anyone from the age of 12 up can attend. 

It will also feature Prof Jon Butterworth, author of Smashing Physics, media pundit and head of Physics and Astronomy at UCL, who will talk about chasing the Higgs Boson. He will also be signing copies of his book at Waterstones on Friday evening (June 27). 

I can't make that, but it's not the end of the world.
Aha, but this is! Imagine an asteroid hit Earth. Perhaps a nuclear war reduced our cities to radioactive rubble. Or avian flu killed most of the population....

...Oh cheers mate, roll on death...
….Whatever the cause, the apocalypse has happened and now the survivors must start again. But how? How do you smelt metals, make gunpowder, or build a primitive radio set? Dr Lewis Dartnell is the author of he Knowledge, How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch has all the answers and he will be revealing all at the Titanic Hotel, Stanley Dock, from 6pm. Or as Bear Grylls says: "Say your prayers that you never need this book."

Ruby Wax 

 If Dr Dartnell is so clever, maybe he will know what to do with the Tobacco Warehouse.
Or if not, maybe Ruby Wax will. She brings her unique wit to the festival with her Sane New World stage show, to the Stanley Dock on the evening of June 28. Since obtaining a Masters Degree in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy from Oxford University, Wax has become arespected campaigner for mental illness in the UK, they will have you know.

Who's "they"?
Chap called Wynn Abbott is at the helm. As founder-director of Liverpool Science Festival, he says: “After several years running a successful science festival in London, I’m excited to be back in Liverpool to launch this new science festival, in the city where I was a student of science at the University of Liverpool. Liverpool is one of the most interesting and exciting cities in the World - high on talent, creativity, individuality and innovation. 

Any more?
How about The Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Solar System? This journey begins at the source of the river Mersey (Stockport) on Wednesday (June 25) and terminates two weeks later in Liverpool.

Two weeks? That's faster than the stopper from Piccadilly to Lime Street.
Billed as “one river, nine planets, 14 days and 70 miles”, it uses the Mersey as a metaphor for a cosmic scale. The length of the river will be used to map out a scale model of the Solar System, stopping off along the way to mark the points of the planets and local astronomy experts will deliver pop-up astronomy events along the way. It all ends on Crosby Beach on the evening of Wednesday 9 July.

Let's end the article with a particle.
OK. Three months ahead of its UK general release, Liverpool Science Festival has special permission to screen Particle Fever, a new movie on CERN and the hunt for the Higgs Boson. The screening will be followed by a Q&A featuring Professor Tara Shears, CERN particle physicist and the University of Liverpool’s first ever female professor of physics. It takes place on the evening of 5 July at, where else, The Titanic Hotel. Do you ever get that thinking feeling?

Do say: “Mind-blowing. Awesome. Cosmic. Wicked.”

Don't say: Is that a Large Hadron Collider or are you just pleased to see me?

Liverpool Science Festival, June 25-July 9. Visit website for full details and tickets.

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