Announcing our 2021 Scientific Section Presidents The British Science Association (BSA) have today announced the full list of Scientific Section Presidents for 2021. Since the foundation of the British Science Festival, the BSA’s Sections have played a crucial role in both developing Festival content and advising on the most relevant topics in their subject areas - shaping our Festival programme each year. Comprised of science professionals, the 17 Scientific Sections contribute to the Festival’s events and arrange activities such as talks, installations and debates, encompassing all topics: from the physical, natural and social sciences to history and science & the arts. Each year, the Sections nominate an individual who has made a significant contribution to their scientific field for Presidency of the Section. They are also invited to give their Presidential Address at the British Science Festival in September to mark the start of this role. The Scientific Section Presidents for 2021 are: Geography: Rosie Robison from Anglia Ruskin University Presidential Address - Energy, power and empowerment What does your energy have to do with justice and democracy? Science and The Arts: Katy Barrett from the Science Museum Presidential Address - Art at the heart of science Delve into what impact, throughout history, painting, sculpture, drawing and photography have had in public conversations around changing ideas. Engineering: Muhammad Imran from the University of Glasgow Presidential Address - Overcoming the digital divide Explore how and why, globally, connectivity is becoming an essential utility and the technology that is being developed to overcome society’s digital divide. Mathematical Sciences: Nira Chamberlain from the Institute for Mathematics Presidential Address - Stopping the AI-pocalypse How do you prevent Artificial Intelligence (AI) from taking over the world? Physics and Astronomy: Catherine Heymans from the University of Edinburgh Presidential Address - The dark side of the Universe The majority of the Universe is shrouded in mystery. Discover how Einstein’s theory of general relativity allows us to see the invisible and explore the true nature of the dark side of our Universe. Psychology: Elena Lieven from the University of Manchester Presidential Address - Baby talk We are told that the easiest time to learn a language is when we’re young. But why is this the case, and can our upbringing influence our ability to become a master linguist? Geology: Jane Francis from the British Antarctic Survey Presidential Address - Climate change on ice Discover what studying climate change at the poles can tell us about our near future. Biological Sciences: Cathie Martin from the John Innes Centre and the University of East Anglia Presidential Address - Getting the most from food For thousands of years, humans have bred crops to our preferred shape, size and flavour. But to what degree can we alter our foods to maximise their health benefits? Agriculture and Food: Lisa Collins from the University of Leeds Presidential Address - 2051: A food odyssey Take a journey through time, from the windswept marshes of the past to the technology-filled skies of the future, to consider what shape our agricultural landscape might take in 2051. Archaeology and Anthropology: Joy Hendry from Oxford Brookes University Presidential Address - Indigenous wisdom Examine science through the lens of Indigenous knowledge and challenge the long-held idea that ‘Western’ science is the only legitimate type. Economics: Silvia Sonderegger from the University of Nottingham Presidential Address - The Brexit surprise Find out about the spike in hate crimes directly after the Brexit referendum, why this increase was more extreme in Remain-voting areas, and how this trend is relevant to the global rise in right-wing extremism. History of Science: Pratik Chakrabarti from the University of Manchester Presidential Address – British Science and the Empire Take a trip into the 1800s and explore the role that the British Empire has had on science, and how we can use these learnings to improve the field today. Medical Sciences: Allyson Pollock from Newcastle University Presidential Address – NHS: Up for sale? Delve into the intersection of health and social justice to learn more about issues surrounding the recent history, and future, of British people’s ability to access public healthcare. Chemistry: Nazira Karodia from the University of Wolverhampton Presidential Address - Chemistry of curry Take a spicy and aromatic journey across the periodic table to explore the science behind the nation’s favourite food dish, curry. You’ll leave fragrant, warm and just a little full. Sociology and Social Policy: Gurminder K Bhambra from the University of Sussex Presidential Address – What is Britishness? Why is Britain’s multicultural imperial past so often left out of conversations around what it means to be ‘British’? General: Noel-Ann Bradshaw from the London Metropolitan University Presidential Address - The Lady with the Maths Explore Florence Nightingale’s work in statistics, how she pioneered data visualisation techniques such as infographics, and the long-lasting contributions she has made to modern-day medicine. When the BSA was founded, there were only four sections: physics, chemistry, geology and natural history. Now, with 17 sections covering every corner of science and its intersection with society, the British Science Festival programme remains current and relevant for modern audiences. For more information, visit our Scientific Sections webpage. If you’re interested in being involved in one of our Scientific Sections, please contact [email protected]. If you're already a Section member, you can download the Section's Handbook.