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About the British Science Festival

The British Science Festival is Europe’s longest-running science festival, with hundreds of top scientists and speakers to share the latest and greatest scientific breakthroughs. There will be over 100 talks, activities and performances – including over 50 of our own academics taking part. There’ll be something for everyone and even better – it’s free to attend.

The Festival is a hugely exciting opportunity for the general public to get involved with science. And it’s the first time it's been hosted in Coventry, with events across campus and in the city from 10-13th September.

The Festival will celebrate the world-leading research taking place at the University of Warwick and more broadly across Coventry, Warwickshire and the West Midlands. It will shine a spotlight on areas such as energy, transport, healthcare and digital innovation.

The Festival will be followed by an extra-special Family Day on campus on Saturday 14th September: explore, discover, experiment.

Three reasons to be excited that we’re hosting the Festival:

  • We’ll build a lasting legacy for people to engage with science and engineering;
  • We’ll celebrate the world-leading interdisciplinary research that we do at Warwick;
  • We’ll show what our region has to offer in major areas like energy, transport, healthcare and digital innovation.

The Festival is being supported by industry leaders Cadent, Jaguar Land Rover and Lubrizol, along with the two regional LEPs (CWLEP and GBSLEP).

The history of the Festival

The British Science Festival is the longest-standing science Festival in the UK. Organised by the British Science Association, it grew out of the tradition of the annual meetings of the Association – first held in York in 1831, and annually at cities across the UK, and further afield, ever since – bringing scientists together to discuss their ground-breaking work with one another, across scientific disciplines, and, crucially, with the general public.

It was at these annual meetings that major scientific advances were announced: Joule’s experiments on the mechanical equivalent of heat in the 1840s; Bessemer’s steel process (1856); the discovery of the first of the inert gases, Argon, by Rayleigh and Ramsay (1894); the first public demonstration of wireless transmission over a few hundred yards by Sir Oliver Lodge (1894); and J.J. Thomson’s discovery of the electron (1899). It was at these meetings that the term ‘scientist’ was coined, and the ‘dinosaur’ named.

The annual meetings were designed to engender discussion and debate. Perhaps the best remembered of all was at Oxford in 1860: Darwin’s ‘The Origin of Species’ had been published in 1859, but his health was not good enough to allow him to go to the Oxford meeting. Darwin’s ‘bulldog’, T.H. Huxley, was there, though, and brilliantly debated Darwinism with Samuel Wilberforce, Lord Bishop of Oxford who was Vice President of the Association at the time.

Visit the British Science Festival website to discover more!