Published in February 2014 issue of Prospect Magazine
The British Science Association stubbornly refuses to limit National Science and Engineering Week to seven days; so its annual celebration, starting on 14th March, will again be a nine-day nationwide brainfest. There is Einstein’s Birthday Party in Whitby for infants; safe-cracking in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter; and a hydraulics tutorial in a Bristol crane workshop, cunningly called Lifting Aspirations. Many cities, including Oxford and Cambridge, run their science festivals around the same time. More at www.britishscienceassociation.org. Keep your eyes on the South Downs this month, and not just because the chalk downlands boast 86 Sites of Special Scientific Interest. This month, the South Downs Park Authority will rule on a fracking application submitted by Celtique Energie, which wants to build a temporary well near the Sussex village of Fernhurst. Local landed gentry have already denied Celtique permission for boreholes to extend horizontally under their land; the area could soon become a national site of special legal interest, as the government— which supports shale gas prospecting and is considering softening trespass laws—squares up to landowners. Technopop, an eight-week science, technology, design and innovation festival, launches on 1st March in Stratford City, London. Each week covers a different theme, such as sports science, the built environment and inspiring women. There is a special family programme over Easter (www.technopop.co.uk). Adults must be accompanied by a child. The sour arguments recently reported in the newspapers over whether sugar is killing us shows there is an appetite for discussing dietary guidelines and the science behind them. The Royal Society of Medicine (www.rsm.ac.uk) will serve up a taster session on 27th March, when Bruce Griffin, professor of nutrional metabolism at Surrey University, will explain why health officials should be scrambling to include eggs in the national diet.