4th July – 1st August 2016

Festival Weekend 22-24 JULY 2016



Winchester Science Festival is the working project of the not-for-profit organisation Winchester
Science Foundation. We aim to…

Champion and celebrate science with the public
Promote science education and science communication
Raise the awareness of Hampshire science

  • Science
  • Hands on Exhibits
  • Plenty of Entertainment


Catch up on the speakers and themes from #WSF14 with Sean Ellis and The Pod Delusion


While we are working on the 2016 Schedule

Have a look at our speakers from 2015


Flames, brains & nuclear reactors – what links those together? Chemistry!
Human insect eating is common to 80% of the worlds nations and is common on every continent apart from ours (Europe). Dr Jenny Josephs will explain why overcoming our squemishness about bugs may be the most important advance in food security in a generation. You will all have a chance to hold some creepy crawlies after the talk and you can even try some delicious bug snacks in the lunch break!
There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.

We fly through space at thousands of miles an hour on the surface of a planetary spaceship. We may not be able to steer this spaceship (which is just as well because we don’t want to crash into the Sun!) but we are able to change some important properties that we, and all life on Earth depend on. Find out how by coming to this talk that will feature rocket videos, experiments, and the opportunity to try on SCUBA diving kit.

LUNCH 13.30-14.30

Come with me on a flying tour of our celestial home, the Solar System. On our journey we will encounter the planets and other bodies in our local neighbourhood in terms of origin, formation, similarities and differences from Earth. With exciting demos and brilliant photographs you will discover aspects of the Solar System as you have (hopefully) never seen them before.
This highly participative session will explore the environmental impacts of the food sector – around 20% of the UK’s carbon footprint. Attendees will learn about the A-B-C of low carbon eating: AVOID wasting food, BUY in-season food and CHOOSE low carbon food more.

In association with Hampshire Food Festival.

The discovery of the Higgs boson made headlines around the world. Two scientists, Peter Higgs and François Englert, whose theories predicted its existence, shared a Nobel Prize. The discovery was the culmination of the largest experiment ever run, the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

But what really is a Higgs boson and what does it do? How was it found? And how has its discovery changed our understanding of the fundamental laws of nature? And what did it feel like to be part of it?


During the Cretaceous period huge areas of the Sahara Desert were once part of a river system that extended across most of the north of Africa. The river was populated by huge fishes, including sharks, gigantic sawfishes, coelacanths as big as small cars and lungfishes amongst many. Carnivorous dinosaurs roamed the river banks, including Carcharodontosaurus, probably as big as T. rex, and Deltadromeus, a rare raptor. Wading into the river to catch fish was Spinosaurus, the strangest of all the meat-eating dinosaurs, carrying a massive sail down its back. Coming down to the river to drink were sauropods and soaring in the skies above were very large pterosaurs including Alanqa saharica which had no teeth but bore a ‘nut-cracker’ on its jaws, and Coloborhynchus, which had a jaw tip full of long, curved fangs.
Professor Will Percival, will review the latest theories of the history of the Universe from the Big Bang to present day. The evidence for this model will then be considered, focussing on how large surveys of galaxies provide a wealth of information about the Universe in which we live. The Universe has an interesting history, going through periods of rapid acceleration and deceleration, rather like a car in rush-hour traffic. By mapping the Universe as a function of look-back time (the time taken for the light from distant galaxies to reach us), we can observe these different phases, and understand the processes causing them.
From climate change to GM crops, alternative energy to drug use, the world of science is full of controversial topics that divide opinion. TV presenter and science populariser Dallas Campbell will bring together a panel of experts to discuss why we believe what we believe, and why certain areas attract so much controversy.

LUNCH 13.30-14.30

The Mary Rose Tudor warship provides a unique environment for scientific research. Almost 500 years of submersion and burial in marine sediment allowed large quantities of sulphur and iron compounds to build up, which led to the production of wood-degrading sulphuric acid when the ship was raised and exposed to water and oxygen. In this talk we will discover the extreme microbial communities that reside in the Mary Rose and how environmental microbiology research and archaeological conservation combine to protect King Henry VIII’s iconic warship.
The media love to sensationalise the dangers of illicit drug use, whilst downplaying or even ignoring the harms from legal drugs. Suzi takes us on a trip through the current scientific understanding of the harms, and also potential benefits of recreational drugs, both illegal and legal.
Like humans and other primates, macaques have big brains and live in large social groups. In order to live in these complex groups, they need to keep track of each other and take part in intricate social interactions. To do this, they use sophisticated and subtle communication, such as facial expressions, body postures and vocalisations. Humans are closely related to macaques as we have all evolved from a common ancestor. In this talk, Dr Jerome Micheletta will explain how better understanding the macaques’ behaviour helps us to understand how and why humans behave the way we do.


Why are we still not able to communicate with computers as though they were humans, like Captain Kirk could in Star Trek? Through humorous examples, Dale Lane will explain the pitfalls that hinder computers from understanding us, and introduces us to IBM’s Watson, a computer so in tune with humans’ natural language that it can even beat us at our own game (Jeopardy).
Every week the papers report new predictions about future climate change – whether about rising sea levels, more severe heat waves, or better wine making in the UK. Scientists make these predictions using highly complex computer models and measurements of the past. But it’s rare to hear much about how they do this, or the sometimes surprising stories behind the science and technology. What do climate models have in common with car radios? Did you know we use the same algorithms as email spam filters to reject “junk predictions”? Tamsin will lift the curtain on this cutting-edge research area.
Did you know that babies are powered by rocket fuel? You could fit the human race in the volume of a sugar cube? Time travel is not ruled out by the laws of physics? 98% of the universe is invisible? And the most amazing picture in the history of science is a single pixel across? Find out more from Marcus Chown, author of What A Wonderful World.

LUNCH 13.30-14.30

From Climate Change and Surgical Decisions to Motor Insurance or Forensic Evidence, Bayesian reasoning and analysis offers us a remarkable insight into why the world behaves the way it does and how we can prepare ourselves for future events.
Following a 10 year journey to a comet, the Rosetta space mission succeeded in landing Philae onto the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in November 2014. Despite the landing not quite going to plan, Philae sent back a wealth of data that is changing our understanding of comets and the formation of our solar system. In this talk, Dr Andrew Morse will give an overview of the mission and highlight some of the science results so far.
Nature is under attack. The rainforests are shrinking, the ice caps melting, the seas poisoned. But there is one habitat that is expanding and thriving: the urban jungle. Our cities are not just filled with human life but with a surprising array of species that have come to live alongside us. In the heart of the city, evolution is moving at breakneck speed. Countless species are adapting to living in towns and, in some cases, entirely new species are being born. Join Simon Watt as he look s at some of our new neighbours




Dr Ben Littlefield works in the Faculty of Life Sciences at Reading university. He strongly believes in engaging the public with cutting edge research and regularly delivers exciting demonstration lectures and workshops at schools, often involving some memorably spectacular demonstrations

Jenny Josephs

Dr Jenny Josephs is a research psychologist and founder of UK start-up, The Bug Shack.

Inspired by the low maintenance of her own pet bugs, after completing her PhD at Southampton University she began investigating the environmental and nutritional benefits of edible insects. The Bug Shack was launched last year with the aim of promoting edible insects at science and sustainability events and engaging with people who will join the insect food revolution.

Dr Jenny Josephs will be coming to Winchester Science Festival to explain the relevance of eating insects in the modern age, as populations and mega-cities continue to grow, and as environmental and economic sustainability become paramount.

James Dyke

Dr James Dyke model’s the Earth systems in order to try to understand how it works and how humans interact with it.

He joined the University of Southampton in 2011 based in the Agents, Interaction and Complexity group within Electronics & Computer Science. His main role was as a tutor and then Acting Director of the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation Doctoral Training Centre. He transferred to Geography & Environment in August 2014.

His previous job at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry was centrered around the Helmholtz Alliance project Planetary Evolution and Life that was coordinated by the German Aerospace Agency. He is a member of the NASA Astrobiology Focus Group Thermodynamics, Disequilibrium and Evolution.

A planetary physicist, science presenter, secondary school physics teacher and space comedienne with a background in astrophysics and astronomy research from UK universities. Her experience includes being an ambassador of science, public speaking, events organisation, science journalism and school visits. Sheila is currently the education, outreach and diversity officer for the royal astronomical society in London.

She attended Space School UK as a student and was chosen to represent the UK at space camps in Alabama, USA and Moscow,Russia. Her research has taken her to the famous Jodrell Bank Observatory, an Australian telescope facility searching for exoplanets in Sydney and to an old mansion in Surrey where she used the Cassini spacecraft to study the Lord of the Rings, Saturn.

Sheila teaches and mentor at Space School UK, is STEM ambassador for science and enjoys visiting schools, giving talks and workshops, and inspiring future astronauts of any age! She has a keen interest in science comedy in pubs, theatres and science festivals and has performed with Helen Keen, Robin Ince and Helen Arney.

Jon Butterworth

Jon Butterworth is a physics professor at University College London. He is a member of the UCL High Energy Physics group and works on the Atlas experiment at Cern’sLarge Hadron Collider. His book Smashing Physics: The Inside Story of the Hunt for the Higgs was published in May 2014 and Jon will be signing copies of his book after his talk.


I am a reader in Palaeobiology specialising in the life and its ecology of the Cretaceous period. My special interest are in dinosaurs, pterosaurs with some emphasis on the fossils of Gondwana. I am also very interested in how fossils are formed. I have worked in Malawi, Brazil, Papua New Guinea and North Africa. I lead field expeditions to Morocco every year, often taking students along. Presently I am studying new dinosaurs from England and Brazil.

I graduated from Leicester University with a BSc where I stayed to study for my PhD. I was a Harkness Fellow at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, and worked for the Open University. I have been at the University of Portsmouth for the last 20 years.


I am a Professor of Cosmology working in the fields of theoretical and observational cosmology at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation in the University of Portsmouth. The primary aim of my research is to understand the constituents of the Universe, including dark matter and dark energy, and how these influence the formation of large-scale structure. My work straddles the theoretical-observational interface: I have worked on models of structure formation and have also analysed observations to constrain such models.

Dallas Campbell

One of the most versatile and well travelled factual presenters , Dallas has filmed in some of the most extraordinary & challenging locations all over the world – Sewer diving in Mexico City, scaling the world’s tallest building in Dubai, exploring secret chambers in Egypt’s Great Pyramid, filming rocket launches to the International Space Station in Kazakhstan and diving for lost Spanish treasure off the coast of Cuba. On BBC Four he is a regular presenter of the Horizon Guide series that covers a wide variety of big science subjects from dogs to quantum mechanics, as well as presenting Voyager: Beyond the final frontier – the story OF NASA’s Voyager mission and The Drake Equation: The Search for Life

Joanne Preston 2

Dr Joanne Preston is a lecturer in Marine Biology at the University of Portsmouth. Her research seeks to investigate the interactions between marine organisms and their environment, particularly in response to the pressures of climate change. Joanne uses a range of techniques in her research, from DNA sequences to light synchrotrons. These powerful techniques were applied to illuminate our understanding of the microbiology of the Mary Rose Tudor warship. Collaborative research with the Mary Rose trust revealed how microbes found in the Mary Rose hull and other artefacts are interacting with Iron and Sulfur to produce sulphuric acid under extreme conditions.


Dr Suzi Gage is an Epidemiologist at the University of Bristol, investigating associations between substance use and mental health. When not staring at spreadsheets full of ones and zeros she writes the Sifting the Evidence blog on the Guardian website, and has a small obsession with synthesizers.


Dr Jérôme Micheletta is a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Portsmouth and member of the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology. His main interests are the evolution of complex communication and how it relates to characteristics of nonhuman primates’ social systems. He mostly studies the communication system of the socially tolerant and understudied crested macaque (Macaca nigra), combining observations of wild animals and cognitive experiments with captive populations in the Macaque Study Centre at Marwell Zoo.


Dale Lane is one of the developers of IBM Watson, a question answering computer system that became famous when it was entered as a contestant on the US television quiz show Jeopardy! in 2011. Since winning on the TV quiz show, Dale and the rest of the Watson Group have been expanding Watson’s capabilities, and training Watson to be able to help in a number of other domains, from healthcare to retail.


Tamsin is a climate scientist at The Open University. She uses computer models to study climate change, what impacts climate change has on sea level and the environment, and how confident we can be in our knowledge of the past and our predictions of the future.

Marcus Chown -- Credit Eleanor Crow

Marcus Chown is an award-winning writer and broadcaster. Formerly a radio astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, he is cosmology consultant of New Scientist. His books include What A Wonderful World, Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You, Felicity Frobisher and the Three-Headed Aldebaran Dust Devil, and We Need to Talk to Kelvin, which was short-listed for the 2010 Royal Society Book Prize. Marcus has also tried his hand at Apps and won The Bookseller Digital Innovation of the Year for Solar System for iPad. Marcus was a regular guest on the BBC4 comedy-science show, It’s Only A Theory, with Andy Hamilton and Reginald D. Hunter, and often appears on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch. He has appeared at a variety of events from the Cheltenham Literary Festival to the Sydney Writers Festival, from the National Theatre to the Wilderness Festival. And he has done stand-at comedy at a variety of venues from an upturned inflatable cow on London’s South Bank to a glass-bottomed boat in a shark tank at the Brighton Sealife Centre.

Norman Fenton

Norman Fenton is Professor of Risk Information Management at Queen Mary London University and is also Chief Executive Officer of Agena, a company that specialises in risk management for critical systems.

Norman, who is a mathematician by training, works on quantitative risk assessment. This typically involves analysing and predicting the probabilities of unknown events using Bayesian statistical methods including especially causal, probabilistic models (Bayesian networks). This type of reasoning enables improved assessment by taking account of both statistical data and also expert judgment.

In April 2014 Norman was awarded one of the prestigious European Research Council Advanced Grants to focus on these issues. Norman’s experience in risk assessment covers a wide range of application domains such as legal reasoning (he has been an expert witness in major criminal and civil cases), medical analytics, vehicle reliability, embedded software, transport systems, financial services, and football prediction.

Norman has a special interest in raising public awareness of the importance of probability theory and Bayesian reasoning in everyday life (including how to present such reasoning in simple lay terms) and he maintains a website dedicated to this and also a blog focusing on probability and the law. In March 2015 Norman presented the BBC documentary Climate Change by Numbers.

Andrew Morse

Dr. Andrew Morse is a Research Scientist in the Department of Physical Sciences at the Open University. His research interest is in developing mass spectrometers for space missions to determine the conditions and processes occurring during the formation of the solar system. He is part of the team which built Ptolemy, an instrument on-board Philae which, despite the challenging landing, managed to return information about the chemical composition of the comet.


Simon Watt is a biologist, writer, science communicator, comedian and TV presenter. He runs “Ready Steady Science”, a science communication company committed to making information interesting and takes science-based performances into schools, museums, theatres and festivals. His new book “The Ugly Animals: We Can’t All be Pandas” is out now. He has also written dozens of articles for national newspapers and websites including The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, the Daily Mirror and the New York Daily News. He is a regular contributor to TV, radio and web and is perhaps best known as a presenter on the BAFTA winning documentary series Inside Nature’s Giants and the Channel 4 special The Elephant: Life After Death.


Dr Tony Curran runs interactive workshops on various sustainability issues and coordinates the University of Southampton’s Research Roadshow and Researchers’ Café. Tony completed a PhD in waste prevention and recovery in 2008. Between 2009-2014 he was a post-doc on a large EU-funded research project to move industry towards zero waste. Alongside this he worked part time on public engagement projects.

Evening Events

Mon 6th July 7.30pm Discovery Centre

Dan Oakley – Dark Sky Ranger – “Dark Skies Over the South Downs”

The South Downs National Park Authority is trying to become an International Dark-Sky Reserve and join the handful of designated landscapes in the world. The talk will cover what the project is about, where the dark skies are, how you can help and –importantly – how you can enjoy them. Covering everything from Planning to Photography you should leave with an understanding of why dark skies are important and why the SDNPA is trying to protect them.

This event is held in conjunction with Winchester Café Scientifique

Friday 24 July, 7.30pm Winchester Discovery Centre £2 on the door

The WSF (pub) quiz with Egghead Kevin Ashman

How well do you know your nuclear quiz-ics from your quiz-ical chemistry?
Your human quiziology from your marine biology (yes we ran out of science quiz puns pretty quickly!).

Winchester’s Kevin Ashman (Eggheads, Mastermind, Brain of Britain) hosts a lighthearted science and general knowledge quiz with a range of different topics bringing something for everyone. Remember: nobody is an expert in everything!

There will be prizes!

Ages 16+

Saturday 25 July, 7.30pm Winchester Discovery Centre £10

Festival of the Spoken Nerd

Together the Spoken Nerds create a celebration of science with comedy, songs, live experiments and unashamed geekiness.

Since 2011 they’ve appeared in venues across the country, from sold-out shows at London’s.
Bloomsbury Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, Hammersmith Apollo, Theatre Royal Haymarket, British Library and Udderbelly on the South Bank, to Green Man and Latitude music festivals, SciFiWeekender, TED and all the major UK science festivals.
This year they are giving us a preview of their new show on their way to the Edinburgh Fringe.


Thursday July 30th 7.30pm Winchester Discovery Centre £3 on the door

Prof Edzard Ernst – Scientist in Wonderland

‘A SCIENTIST IN WONDERLAND’ is the story of my life as a doctor and a scientist.

In 1993 I was I was appointed to the world’s first chair in complementary medicine, this was an area that had rarely been studied systematically, many of whose adherents exhibited an overtly hostile, anti-scientific attitude towards the objective study of their therapies. My memoir provides a personal insight into the cutthroat politics of academic life and offers a sobering reflection on the damage already done by pseudoscience.

This event is presented in association with Hampshire Skeptics

Mon 3rd August 2015 7.30pm Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry St.

Olly Rouse – Head Chef – Lainston House – “Foam At Home”

A demonstration on various different foams and bubbles, how, when and why to use them. The demonstration will involve hot, cold, set, savoury and sweet foams and bubbles. Olly will share the physiology behind creating this technique, and the phycology of eating them.

This event is presented in association with Hampshire Food Festival and Winchester Café Scientifique.


Come and see our free exhibits and activities for some hands-on science fun!

The University of Southampton’s Bringing Research to Life Roadshow  is back with hands-on and interactive activities showcasing a range of cutting-edge research. As well as a chance to talk to our researchers about their work in stem cells, acoustic levitation, human vision, engineering materials, black holes and other fields of research, we’ll have our collection of intriguing physics toys to hand. Suitable for all ages. Free.  Twitter @UoS_Roadshow

Veolia will be showing how they turn waste into useful resources. Come and have a go with their hands-on model of an energy recovery facility and see what they do with what YOU throw away at home.

Winchester Science Centre will be running the Fantastic Flight workshop. It’s FREE but you need to book on the day to make sure of your place. Look out for their Science Buskers around the Festival too!

STFC Central Laser Facility will be marking the UN International Year of Light by bringing their Incredible Power of Light Roadshow. It’s FREE but you need to book on the day to make sure of your place.

Hampshire and IoW branch of the British Science Association will be along to demonstrate some simple science experiments you can try for yourself

Southampton Makerspace will be demonstrating 3D printing and some of the other amazing projects that you could get involved with.

Science Festival or Beach? Thanks to HIWWT you can do both right here in the Discovery Centre. Come and play on their wildlife beach and find out about the wildlife on our shores.

History Heroes will be showing their Award Winning Scientist Heroes, winner of an award for best designed toy aged 6+. Enter their competition by seeing if you can identify famous scientists from their pictures!


Winchester Science Festival is grateful for the kind and generous support of the the following partners.





We look forward to seeing you!

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