3 reasons to go to the British Science Festival By Maryum Ahmed, Social Mobility Foundation work experience student The British Science Festival is the longest-standing science festival in Europe and is held by the British Science Association in a different location each year. This time round, it comes to Coventry and Warwickshire from 10 - 13 September, hosted by the University of Warwick. With over 100 (free!) events, the Festival connects people with experts in multiple scientific fields to show how science can be integrated into everyday life. If that isn’t tempting enough, I’m going to give you 3 more reasons why you should be at the Festival this year... 1. See world-class researchers showcase fascinating topics One of the events that caught my eye immediately was Playing by the unwritten rules - a talk by Nick Chater about unspoken social rules and what they say about us as people. As an A-level psychology student who is looking to study psychology at university, this talk appealed to me because not only do I find it incredibly fascinating, it's also not too dissimilar from the content that I am already learning and could provide extra knowledge that is always useful to have. It could also give me ideas for what field of psychology I would like to go into in the future. Nick Chater is a renowned cognitive and behavioural scientist from the University of Warwick who has over 200 publications, 4 national awards for psychological research, is a Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society and of the British Academy and so much more! It’s safe to say he knows what he’s talking about and he is someone that I greatly admire. 2. Go to fun and unexpected events Another event that I can’t wait for is called Signals, a comedic play about searching for meaning in the universe, where 2 astronomers hunt for alien life. It is presented by the Cosmic Shambles Network and shows how science can be explored and understood in a fun and creative way, proving that anyone can be involved in science no matter what your interests are. It follows a discussion called Staging the future, where sci-fi playwrights will discuss the role of theatre in science and how things like drama performances can spark important conversations about the future of science and its impact on individuals and society. As an avid theatre lover myself, this event provides the perfect combination of drama and science in an accessible way, with a few laughs thrown in too. Signals is definitely one that’s not to be missed. 3. Be part of an inclusive and diverse Festival The final event that I’ve chosen to talk about is one that I think is incredibly important as it provides a platform for people who may not normally be given one. It’s called Out Thinkers and showcases the talent of LGBTQ+ researchers. Three Ph.D. students will be sharing their research in a safe space where they can truly be themselves. Their research varies from space to bees to soil microbiology. The event is run by Pride in STEM, an amazing organisation that helped to create LGBTSTEM Day. It is vital that everybody has the opportunity to express themselves and to do things like simply present their research without the fear of being discriminated against for their sexuality, gender or race and this event ensures inclusivity for all. To book tickets for these events and find out more about the other things on offer, head on over to the website and plan your perfect week. We look forward to seeing you there!