Since the dawn of time, science and discovery have been two ever present aspects fascinating mankind dating back to the days of the Neanderthal with the creation of fire, burning through the veins of British explorers such as Sir Francis Drake, whose passion drove him to voyage across perilous conditions to the New World, known today as America.
Today, British Science is still something which is celebrated today. Hosted by Swansea University and sponsored by Siemens, The British Science Festival takes place across the week of the 6th to the 9th of September, where events take place within the University campus and across the city of Swansea in celebration of British Science.
The University of Swansea was established in 1920 and has since earned a reputation of being world-class, research-led facility, with picturesque views across Swansea Bay to an area which holds the merit of being the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Gower Peninsula.
Over the course of the four days, guests are invited to expand their horizons through a plethora of free events, talks and performances, each in the name of science. Leading academics discover, discuss and debate innovations and theories that look to change the future of the world, with a full daytime and night time schedule meticulously planned out.
The longest established science festival in Europe, the first British Science Festival was held in York in 1831, growing from a tradition of the annual meetings of the Association. Since then, the British Science Festival has been held at various cities all over the United Kingdom. These meetings brought together scientists to discuss their latest discoveries and investigations with each other and arguabl more importantly, with the general public.
In the past, these festivals have often served almost like a soapbox; it was here that James Prescott Joule first announced his advances in the mechanical equivalent of heat in the 1840s, where Sir Oliver Lodge first demonstrated wireless transmission over a few hundred years, where J.J Thomson announced his discovery of the electron in 1899 and many more. It was at the British Science Festival where the term ‘scientist’ was coined, and where the ‘dinosaur’ was given its name. This year, several topics are up for discussion, including how to calculate cancer risks and the solutions to the global environment issue of marine litter and many more.
A fascinating side note, revolutionary theorist Charles Darwin’s ‘The Origin of Species’ was published in 1859, however Charles’ health sadly failed him, and he was unable to attend the British Science Festival held in Oxford that year, but in his absence, T.H Huxley, a man considered to be ‘Darwin’s bulldog’ attended. Here, Huxley was able to debate Darwinism with Samuel Wilberforce to an impressive extent, who was the Lord Bishop of Oxford and Vice President of the Association at the time.
2016 marks the fifth year where Swansea has played host to the festival, previously taking place in 1848, 1880, 1971 and then again in 1990. To appeal to the masses and share the gift of science with the general public, the British Science Association aspire to deliver a new approach to the Festival, exhibiting science in a way which can be enjoyed and understood by an audience of non-specialists with a broad interest in science, with whom the British Science Association can engage and share an enjoyment.
Find out more about British Science Festival at: