Daresbury Laboratory's 'Talking Science' - celebrating 20 years and coming to a venue near you!

Daresbury Talking Science 2018-19
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30 August 2018: The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at Daresbury Laboratory is celebrating 20 years of bringing inspirational science talks to the general public. This year it is bringing its exciting new ‘Talking Science’ lecture programme out of the laboratory to locations across the region, including Liverpool, Warrington, Widnes and Runcorn. 

From our deepest oceans to the origins of the universe, and from the parasites in our bodies to the science behind the thrills of the circus – the programme is jam-packed with fascinating, age-appropriate talks for anyone who wants to know more about the amazing science and research that is happening all around us right now, and its positive impact on our daily lives.

Professor Anthony Ryan from the University of Sheffield was the first ever speaker for Talking Science in 1998, and in its 20th year it is only fitting to invite him back. His latest talk will convey how scientists from the University of Sheffield have been working with the UNHCR and refugees from the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, to co-create solutions to the daily struggles of living in the camps.

Wendy Cotterill, Senior Pubic Engagement Officer at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, and organiser of the Talking Science programme, said: “We are thrilled to be celebrating 20 years of Talking Science and to be bringing our monthly public lectures out to venues across the region for this year’s programme. The Daresbury Laboratory lecture theatre is also due for refurbishment, so we saw this as a perfect opportunity take the talks off-campus, and what better way to celebrate our twentieth year than to bring Talking Science out to the public.” 

Booking is essential and will open six weeks in advance of each lecture date with confirmation of the venue location and travel information. Please see the STFC Talking Science webpage for more details. If you have any queries, email dltalkingscience@stfc.ac.uk, or call 01925 603040 (24 hour answerphone). Bookings are already open (book here) for the first event that will take place at The Heath Conference Centre in Runcorn on 19 September at 7pm.

STFC Daresbury Laboratory Talking Science Programme 2018-2019

19 September 2018, 7pm – The Heath Conferencing Centre, Runcorn

Professor Anthony Ryan: Where necessity is the mother of invention; putting science & technology to work for refugees in Za'atari. (6+)

Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan has a staggering 80,000 people squeezed into six square kilometres. Using materials to hand scientists and engineers from the University of Sheffield have been working with the UNHCR at Za’atari refugee camp to work on “scrap yard challenges” that come up with co-created solutions from electricity generation to building school buses. The people who live in these camps face daily struggles that many of us cannot imagine but they have an adaptable approach to solving problems, an aversion to waste, and a sense of community. So there is much we can learn from these refugees. ***BOOKINGS OPEN***

25 October 2018, 7pm (11+)

Dr Chris Edmonds, Dr Barry King, Dr Laura Harkness Brennan, Laurence Payot: Tale of two tunnels

The Large Hadron Collider is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider and the largest single machine in the world. It is housed in a 27 km circumference tunnel located beneath the Swiss-French border, where it brings new understanding to the origins of our universe. Imagine if the next generation particle accelerator was located in Merseyrail’s Wirral loop line tunnel? Join University of Liverpool physicists and artists for this hands-on workshop in helping us design a next generation particle accelerator and find out about their amazing applications.

15 November 2018, 7pm (14+)

Prof. Averil MacDonald: Plastic: Destroyer or saviour of the planet

What if we could ban plastic? A return to paper bags for our shopping, wooden crates to contain fruit and veg, cardboard boxes for tinned items and grease proof paper for our cheese and bacon would certainly reduce the amount of ‘single use plastic’ and the resulting plastic litter in the oceans. And, as plastic uses up valuable oil, perhaps we should go further and stop using (and making) plastic entirely. The talk will consider how both our health and our environment would suffer without plastic and suggest why biodegradable plastic could be the worst option possible.

10 December 2018, 7pm (10+)

Dr William Taylor, Dr Alastair Bruce and Mr Martin Black: Auld Reekie Astro’s awesome astronomy and space review 2018

Hailing from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Ali, William, and Martin (otherwise known as Auld Reekie Astro) will arrive with their trademark enthusiasm for all things astronomy. During this inspirational talk they will fire your imagination by taking you on a journey through their favourite astro-headlines of the year, and may even introduce some areas of space science which, to be honest, they are still trying to get to grips with themselves! Expect the unexpected as they will try their best not to argue, but can’t promise not to make you laugh. All astro-beginners welcome!

30 January 2019, 7pm (6+)

Prof. Sheena Cruikshank: On you, in you: the amazing and horrible world of parasites

Parasites are the most common form of cellular life on our planet and can be defined as organisms that live in or on us, taking from us without giving anything back. Everything from mammals, insects to plants can be infected by parasites- so parasites are incredibly successful. They can hide from our body’s defences and may even change the behaviour of some of the animals they infect. They are also important as not only can they cause terrible diseases but they can be critical elements of food webs and contribute to biodiversity. Find out how parasites are so successful and how new scientific methods, which help us visualise parasites, are helping us unlock even more of their secrets.

22 February 2019, 7pm (11+)

Prof. Trevor Cox: Electrifying the Voice

If you’ve ever felt the shock of listening to a recording of your own voice, you realise how important your voice is to your personal identity. We judge others, not just by their words but by the way they talk: their intonation, their pitch, their accent. Join Professor of Acoustics Trevor Cox, as he explores the most exquisite musical instrument: the human voice. Talking comes naturally to most of us so it is easy to overlook how truly remarkable the voice is. Mixing scientific analysis with musical interludes, Trevor will explore the workings of the voice and how it can be adapted to different styles. In particular, Trevor will focus on how technology has changed the way people sing and the stage craft of actors.

7 March 2019, 7pm (12+)

Dr Kathryn Harkup: Dying to be beautiful

Join chemist and author Kathryn Harkup as she takes us on a journey throughout history where humans have sought to embellish and augment their physical appearance. As fashions change new contraptions, cosmetics and costumes are devised. There has often been little regard given to comfort and well-being when it comes to the body beautiful, and as this talk illustrates, some fashions can be fatal.

2 & 3 April 2019, 2pm (5+)

Dr Ken Farquhar: Science of the circus

Roll up, roll up and explore the science behind the thrills and spills of the circus. As Doctor Ken takes you on a voyage of discovery investigating how performers make use of many scientific principles in their tricks and stunts. Find out why jugglers love gravity, how clowns use the force like a Jedi and why unicyclists need to keep moving to stay still. It’s science but not as you may know it! Join us as we maintain an equilibrium on a tightrope, learn to juggle on the moon and explore the forces of other circus props. Put on your science hats as this is going to be fun!

11 April 2019, 2pm (6+)

Greg Foot: Deep ocean lab

What happens as you dive further and further into the deep dark ocean? Join YouTuber & Blue Peter Science Guy Greg Foot for the story of his scientific adventure to the deep. With experiments and stunning videos, Greg will show you the high-tech submersibles that took him down a crazy 1000ft into the Twilight Zone. He’ll explain the importance of our oceans, and - thanks to Greg’s work with the Blue Planet II team - uncover the effect we’re having on them. You’ll also get the chance to meet a creature from the deep!

1 May 2019, 70pm (11+)

Dr Michael de Podesta: How do we know anything? And how can we know things better?

Measurement is at the heart of all science and engineering. And progress in science and engineering is often linked to progress in metrology – the science of measurement. After all, if we cannot measure something then we cannot begin to understand it (science) or improve it (engineering). In this talk, Michael will explain how the International System of Units works, and why, from May 2019 scientists are planning subtle but profound changes in the definitions of four of these base units – the kilogram, ampere, kelvin and mole.

7 June 2019, 7pm (11+)

Prof. Quentin Ramasse and Demie Kepaptsoglou: Characterizing the Nano-World: materials through the eyes electrons

We live in a material world. From stone and iron to plastic, human history and civilization have always been closely intertwined with the understanding, harnessing and manipulation of matter. But never have our daily lives depended more on materials than in the modern era. New material growth techniques are used to build materials literally one atom at the time. Electron microscopy lies at the heart of new materials research by using electrons that can magnify materials more than 10 million times. This technique enables researchers to gain unprecedented understanding and insight into the properties of materials, paving new ways for atomic material design.


Media Contact:

Wendy Ellison

Daresbury Laboratory

Science and Technology Facilities Council

Tel: 01925 603232


Last updated: 12 September 2018


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