Three Sussex academics are set to wow the general public at “the world’s greatest science festival”.
Professor Kathy Romer, Dr Gianluca Memoli and Professor Sarah Garfinkel are lined-up to take part in the New Scientist Live event which starts later this week.
The University of Sussex academics will share their expertise into the signals from internal organs that influence human thoughts, the destructive potential of dark matter and how to create a rainbow of sound.
The event, which run for four days from Thursday at the ExCeL Centre in London, is expected to attract total audiences of up to 40,000 people.
The University of Sussex trio will be appearing alongside writer and broadcaster Professor Alice Roberts, astronauts Tim Peake and Al Worden as well as former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq at the event which features 120 engaging talks and over 150 interactive experiences.
Prof Kathy Romer will be participating at New Scientist Live on Friday where she will be taking part in an informal Q&A in The Space Shed at 3:15pm before giving a talk titled Will dark energy destroy the universe? at 5:30pm on the Cosmos stage.
Prof Romer, a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Sussex’s School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, said: “I absolutely love talking to the public about cosmology, both the mind blowing weirdness of it, and the dogged hard work and technological innovations that are needed to make progress in the field.
“All types of public engagement are important, but high profile events like New Scientist Live not only reach lots of people directly in a short space of time, they also heighten the profile of science in the media, so they reach many more people indirectly. There is still a way to go, but one day hopefully we’ll hit on a winning formula for public engagement with science that will have the same effect as what The Great British Bake Off has done for baking.”
Professor Sarah Garfinkel will appear on the Humans stage at 11.45am on Thursday to talk about gut instinct and explain the role our bodies play in shaping our minds including how signals from the heart influence our thoughts, emotions, and memories.
Prof Garfinkel, a professor of clinical and affective neuroscience at the University of Sussex with a specialism in interoception, the sixth sense which monitors internal bodily sensations, said: “I’m delighted to be able to speak at New Scientist Live, it will be one of the biggest venues I’ve ever talked at.
“It’s wonderful that these science events can attract so many people. At a time where experts are being increasingly derided, there is a growing need to highlight the role of science in breaking boundaries and opening up the potential for new technology and medical treatments.
“It’s also really exciting personally or me. I spend so much of my time in the lab so it’s fantastic to have this opportunity to interact with so many people and share all the exciting research we are doing here at Sussex.”
Dr Gianluca Memoli, a Senior Lecturer in Novel Interfaces and Interactions in the University of Sussex’s School of Engineering and Informatics, and his team will be demonstrating their work in developing new technology harnessing the untapped potential of sound.
Visitors to the team’s demonstration stand will be given the chance to see levitating butterflies made of sound, touch acoustic holograms and experience an acoustic rainbow.
Dr Memoli said: “I am extremely excited by the possibility of exhibiting my research at the New Scientist Live.
“For me, taking science ‘out there’ is not only a duty, but more a rare mind-opening opportunity. My own vision is strengthened and transformed through discussions with non-scientists.”
University of Sussex students, staff or alumni interested in attending New Scientist Live can benefit from a 15% discount on standard and all access tickets if they use the discount code JACQUI15.
To book tickets visit live.newscientist.com/#/ .
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By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Wednesday, 9 October 2019