Science ‘down the pub’ at the Cheltenham Science Festival
People enjoying a relaxing pint in Cheltenham recently were treated an unexpected form of entertainment; entertainment designed to make them think. A team of roving scientists were out and about in pubs and bars, ‘science busking’ to small groups as they chatted over drinks.
‘Science busking’ is direct, hands-on and face-to-face. Scientists enter the pub in a group, go to a table and start to speak to the drinkers about science. In the picture, Dr Martin Coath of the University of Plymouth is trying to convince the group at the table that the rock he is holding is part of the core of a planet that was destroyed 4.5 billion years ago (it really is!). The meteorite generated interest everywhere it went. “It’s not often that people get the chance to handle a lump of outer space, and certainly not in a pub”.
Science busking is designed to give the public access to scientists, to ask questions and to be inspired and enthused in a relaxed environment. The idea was prompted partly by the enthusiasm of Dr Coath, during the recent Cheltenham Science Festival.
“We were made very welcome in every pub we visited, “ said Dr Coath, “and once the ice was broken the conversation got very lively, detailed and technical.”