Made to order
I have been delighted to work with sponsors and event organisers to create interactive events to fit in with their theme or attendees needs. Here are some examples:
The Cheltenham Science Festival – “Music and Film with David Puttnam”.
When the Cheltenham Festival asked me if I would like to present an event about ‘Music and Film’ with Oscar award-winning director David Puttnam (Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, The Killing Fields, The Mission, Local Hero), I thought things could not get any better. But we were also joined by composer Howard Blake, who composed the soundtrack for the animated film “The Snowman”. The event involved a series of short film clips and discussion with the audience on how music contributes to the film and its effects on the audience. I came up with a demonstration of how TV advertisements can use sound to create powerful effects that specifically work at the level of the unconscious mind.
The Royal Society – “The Hollywood Science of Spiderman”.
This was a plenary lecture for the Genetic Futures National Forum, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the structure of DNA. It was meant as a ‘reward lecture’ for ~100 specially selected young people from throughout the UK. Sponsors of the lecture included MRC, Royal Society, the BBSRC, DFES, DTi and NESTA.
Pittsburgh SciTech Spectacular – “Pow! The Science of Superheroes”.
How do you make an interactive and fun science event that teaches young people about gene transfer technology and is perfect for young people from age 11 all the way to 17? Superheroes come to the rescue again! Timandra Harkness and I collaborated to make a unique ‘show’ — more than a lecture, it was an experience. We did six of these, and on the Wednesday we had an audience of almost all 12-13-year-olds, the most discerning/demanding audience; they were cheering and yelling so loudly that Timandra and I both thought we were going to go deaf.
The Cheltenham Science Festival – “The Subjective Experience of Time”.
I have been presenting science at the Cheltenham Festival since its inception, and for the first two years they asked me to do lectures on their festival theme. The second year of the festival the theme was “time”, and the psychology, brain chemistry and physiology of time and how we perceive it made for a fascinating show.