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The Physiological Society at Science Festivals
Each year, The Physiological Society aims to have a presence at the key science festivals around the UK.
If you have an idea for an festival or public event that The Society could support, or would like to volunteer to help at one of our public engagement events, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is an outline of some of our current and past activities.
Glasgow Science Festival
In 2012 our Designer athletes event came to Glasgow, featuring a panel of speakers including the Olympic bronze medal-winner Alain Baxter. The event was chaired by former BBC presenter Dougie Donnelly, and focussed on the tale of Alain's over-turned drug doping conviction. Members of The Society from University of Glasgow Niall Macfarlane and Ronald Baxendale, and lecturer in ethics in biosciences Barbara Cogdell, discussed with the audience the topic of "cheating" in sports.
Cheltenham Science Festival
The Cheltenham Science Festival takes place each June and is one of the “premier” science festivals in the UK.
In 2012 we ran an event with Dr Kevin Fong, Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Fellow. The event, "While You Were Sleeping", explored the topic of anaesthesia with a panel of doctors: Dr Jerry Nolan, Consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine at the Royal United Hospital, Bath; Dr Natasha Curran , Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine at University College London Hospitals; and Dr Kate Prior, Consultant Anaesthetist for the Royal Navy and has worked in Iraq.
In 2011, The Society co-sponsored an event on ageing in partnership with the Academy of Medical Sciences. The discussion, held at Cheltenham’s largest auditorium featured Linda Partridge from UCL and David Barker from the University of Oxford. BBC Radio 4’s Geoff Watts chaired the fascinating session which explored questions such as, “What influences how we age? What does an ageing generation mean for society?”
The lively audience discussion that followed covered issues including whether we should use medical interventions to prolong a life of poor health. The Society live-reported the session – a first for us – on Twitter, and online followers could also submit questions. Read the full report of this event here.
In 2010, we ran an event on the topic of asthma titled "Struggling for breath: Latest advances in medical research for asthma patients".
Cambridge Science Festival
The Cambridge Science Festival takes place during March to coincide with National Science and Engineering Week.
In 2012, we ran ran the public discussion event “Designer athletes: fair play or foul?”. This event was chaired by New Scientist's Linda Geddes and featured Prof Chris Cooper, biochemsit from the University of Essex, Dr Steve Ingham, Head of Physiology at the English Institute of Sport and Dr Steve Haake, expert in sports technology from Sheffield Hallam University.
Brighton Science Festival
The Brighton Science Festival takes place throughout February.
In 2012, we ran our Modern Pentathlon Challenge for children and families at the festival's "White Heat" Family Fun Day. We also ran Bright Club: Bodies, "the thinking person's variety night". Six researchers, including four physiologists, took to the stage to tell the audience all about their work using amusing anecdotes and comedy. The night was compered by professional comedian Angela Barnes.
You can read about Bright Club: Bodies in Brighton in the Spring 2012 edition of Physiology News.
Edinburgh Science Festival
The Edinburgh International Science Festival takes place each April. The festival features hundreds of talks, tours and exhibitions for children, families and adults in locations around the city.
In 2012 The Society ran the public discussion event “Designer athletes: fair play or foul?”. This event was chaired by the BBC's David Eades and featured Andy Miah, Professor of Ethics, University of West Scotland, Prof Chris Cooper, biochemsit from the University of Essex and Michele Veronken from Sporting Integrity. For more information on this event and the festival itself, please click here.
We also supported Bright Club: Bodies, run by Bright Club Edinburgh. This event gives academics the chance to try stand-up comedy for just one night. Members Keith Stevenson and Callum Johnston performed along with four other academics including two physiologists. The night was hosted by professional comedian Andy Zaltzmann. You can listen to a recording of our Outreach Manager's plug at the end of the night here.
In 2011, The Society ran an event on cystic fibrosis, one of the UK’s most common inherited diseases. The event outlined how early identification, specialist patient care and continuing research to develop new drug therapies, are making a real difference to the lifespan of cystic fibrosis patients. Physiologist Dr David Sheppard, University of Bristol, and Vicky Cowell, the mother of a cystic fibrosis patient provided insight into cutting edge research that has the potential to change lives.
British Science Festival
The British Science Festival is one of the largest science festivals in Europe. The event, coordinated by the British Science Association, takes place in a different location in the UK each September.
In 2011, The Society ran an event on ageing in partnership with the Academy of Medical Sciences. It explored how and why we age, the societal and policy implications of this and what we can do to remain healthy in old age. The event featured speakers Penelope Mason and Kenneth Howse from the University of Oxford, Dawn Skelton from Glasgow Caledonian and was chaired by BBC Radio 4’s Geoff Watts.
In 2010, our event was titled "Struggling for breath: Latest advances in medical research for asthma patients.
In 2009, The Physiological Society contributed to the Discover Biology programme.