Robin Ince and Usain Bolt on the scene for Cambridge Science Festival 2012 line-up

By Laura McArthur | 13 February 2012
A photo of a man in a white labcoat tending to an enormous ball of yellow fire
Festival: Cambridge Science Festival, various venues, Cambridge, until March 25 2012

Organisers are hoping to eclipse the popularity they enjoyed last year – when 35,000 visitors turned up – as bookings for this year’s Science Festival in Cambridge open.

A festival that pays particular attention to the unceasing progress of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the programme of events for children and adults of all tastes and ages takes a theme of “breaking boundaries”.

The festival hopes to break new ground in celebration of London 2012. It poses the question of precisely how fast Usain Bolt can run, and hosts a range of events with a special Olympics and Paralympics theme.

For the first time, the festival will have a guest director in the form of comedian, actor and author Robin Ince, who co-hosts the BBC’s Infinite Monkey Cage programme with Professor Brian Cox.

A photo of a man in a chair staring intently into the camera
Robin Ince is the esteemed host
“The last few years have seen a reinvigoration of public engagement with science that has been both hopeful and thrilling,” says Robin Ince.

“I have looked at audiences at the Cambridge Science Festival and elsewhere and seen a broad mix of age, gender and hairstyles.

“Asking the question ‘why’ and then using what we have at our disposal to try and fashion an answer is one of the adventures of being human.”

Some of the highlights include evening lectures on topics as diverse as plants for the future, crisp packet fireworks with visiting Naked Scientists and events to help us understand excess. Experts on Alan Turing and figures from the BBC’s Frozen Planet are also lined up.

Although most of the 180 events are free, the best seats are on a first-come, first-served basis, and fans are advised to arrive in good time to avoid disappointment.

Pictures from last year's fun:

A photo of a scientist in a lab coat tending to an enormous yellow flame
A photo of a young girl standing next to a skeleton
A photo of a young woman standing next to a silver robot in profile
A photo of a young girl and a supervisor in lab coats carrying out scientific experiments
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