The final – hair raising – best of the fest

DSC_0791The final x-change at the British Science Festival had it all; the big names and the exquisitely unusual. As the September sunlight waned it cast its orange glow on the evening skies over Guildford and the last few events at the Festival closed their doors to the applause of satisfied science enthusiasts. An unusual calm settled around; everywhere except, Chancellors Bar, where a buzz was growing.  Today’s guest blogger Henry Lau tells us more.

The first guest on at the x-change was Robert Winston. During the build up he caused the barmaid to run out screaming to tell all her co-workers when she served him a coffee. With our host Sue Nelson he raised the issue of unrestricted access to the consideration of fertility treatment, which is currently not happening in the health system.

The moustached man was followed by chemist Lorelly Wilson. She was promoting simple science experiments that can be done at home to encourage children to get involved with science. She demonstrated a few experiments that she uses in her show while firing banter at a front row of particularly lively University of Surrey physicists.

Craig Underwood took us into orbit with his tale of the first UK satellite UoSAT-OSCAR 9 which he helped build for amateur radio. The satellite features the voice synthesiser chip off an educational toy so school children could tune into the talking clock coming from space. He even did an impression of the robot sounding voice.

Phil Nathan was on next, leading an experiment in trying to find the area of the body with the most pain receptors. The aforementioned physicists must have regretted their liveliness when one of them was chosen to have hairs pulled from his head, chest, foot and nose.

The writer Bill Bryson appeared at ease on stage despite this being his first Festival. Talking about the magic that science carries, he mentioned the need to have science classes in schools that cater for those children who will not go follow a career in science.

The final guest Jim Al-Khalili closed the last x-change with a riotous outgassing about Sue Nelson’s blatant discrimination against him in her perfect science communicator equation that features in her blog http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8240096.stm Sporting neither facial hair nor a large quiff, he demanded the equation be changed to include chest hair – he then demonstrated to the audience that he had a clear advantage over the competition.

The x-change team would like to thank all the guests that appeared at the event and our wonderful host Sue Nelson.

Henry Lau

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