Saturday, 27 October 2007

It's not all over...

Oh yes it is! Oh no it isn't!

There's loads still to do from Monday 29 Oct until Sunday 4 Nov!

For a start almost all the exhbitions continue to be on display across the city, and there are all sorts of wonderful and weird activities at MoSI, plus a fab show about forces at Touchstones Rochdale.

See the website for more info!

Sir Bernard Lovell

A wonderful quote to end the festival on...

Sir Bernard Lovell, answering an audience-member's question about being optomistic for the future, said, "Science has no frontier".

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Thursday, 25 October 2007

Naked science

Dr Chris Smith is a worthy winner of the inaugral Josh Award - go and see The Naked Scientists at their site and download their chart-topping podcast.

Their website is about to reach 10m hits in a month for the first time. Here's hoping we can drive a little extra traffic their way...

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Jurassic Park! On the big screen!

So, apart from the beers, I also got to indulge in another personal passion in the name of work yesterday - sitting in a darkened room with 50 others, watching Jurassic Park on the big screen!

Having not seen it for about a decade, I'd forgotten how many great lines Jeff Goldblum gets in this wonderfully put together film. For instance I love Dr. Ian "I'm a chaos mathematician" Malcolm's line - "God help us; we're in the hands of engineers."

But I still think this might be his best:

"God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs..."

Completed by Ellie's riposte, "Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth..."

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Festival beers!

Yep, that's supposed to be plural!

There is already the wonderful "Joule's Gold" (above), but last night, 40 of us crammed into the upstairs room of The Briton's Protection to hear James Sumner's talk about science, beer and pubs in history. He whisked us through 350 thrilling years of brewing, excise, pubs and ale in just under two hours (with a pint pit-stop en route)!

Probably the first and last time I'll legitimately timesheet and get paid for drinking beer in one of my favourite watering holes!!

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Monday, 22 October 2007

Things to look out for: Mon, Tues, Wed

You can see a daily diary of what's on at the calendar on the website, but here are some things to fit in if you can!

A Cafe Sci tonight on facts, information and belief

A lecture this evening demonstrating how and why molecules are magnetic and what it could mean for the future

A very special IMAX screening of 3D Aliens of the Deep

Murder and mystery at MoSI - try solving the forensic clues in this CSI Manchester workshop

The first of two Acoustics and Architecture tours at The Bridgewater Hall

A chance to find out of the Stradivarius string sound is a myth or reality

Toys and a chance to meet a scientist at the Arndale Market

A once-in-a-festival chance to see Speilberg's dinos run riot on the big screen

Johnny Ball's talk and demo about the history of science in the NW

And not one, but two, flash bang demos

And after all that, the chance to put your feet up and have a well-earned rest with a pint!

A series of lectures on genetics and faces at Nowgen, with a free lunch - every day, 12-1.30

The Big Science Draw all week at Manchester Museum

More than we can list here at MoSI every day - pick up a daily leaflet from the Information Desk on arrival.

And of course there's all the ongoing exhibitions at MoSI, CUBE, Whitworth, Nowgen, and more...

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Festival madness...

We're in full festival swing! Everything seems to be going well and it seems very busy everywhere I've been so far.

Some highlights so far:

The IOP walk is now available to get as an MP3 to dowload from Science Places

Getting a picture and piece on the backpage of "Things to do this week" in The Guardian Family section

There's Bluetooth messages and science busking at Manchester Piccadilly station this morning, Tuesday and Wednesday (this pic was taken this morning)

Please note that the following events are already full: An Audience with Sir Bernard Lovell, and tomorrow night's Facing Up To Addiction debate.

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Thursday, 18 October 2007

nearly here!

We do hope that you’ve started to notice the build up to the festival throughout the city – the IOP’s physics facts bus posters, our own six trailblazer events (all sadly finished now), plenty of press coverage and our radio campaign, the special Bluetooth messages being beamed out to mobiles at Piccadilly station and MoSI, and much more besides!...

So, in the relative calm before the storm, we thought we’d give the lowdown on some exciting upcoming events!

This is just a selection of the events running between 20-28 October at venues across Greater Manchester – do check the website for the full list.

Some suggestions of things to do this weekend (Sat 20 and Sun 21):

Find out about the science of cartoon capers and heroes at the Odeon (Saturday only)

See singing sands and the Face of Manchester at the Museum of Science and Industry

Go on a science city walk, starting from Manchester Museum

See you there?

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Monday, 15 October 2007

Less than a week to go!

It's less than a week to go until we launch! There's a lot that's been done and a lot more still to do...

Firstly, thanks to the Lit Fest and all the Doctor Who contributors who turned out for yesterday's sold out trailblazer on science fiction/ fact. It was a fabulous event - despite the air con/ heating breaking!

Also we've just been tipped off about a great new website to support the film "Earth". Go and have a look!

The Bluetooth broadcasting has started - in Piccadilly station and at MoSI. In both locations, we're sending out trivia messages and festival info, a different message every hour each day! Make sure you enable your Bluetooth function to receive them.

And tomorrow is our last trailblazer - Cafe RSA on the topic "Science hearts Art". See you there?

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Thursday, 11 October 2007

Spotted: gecko!

Following on from my earlier post, I was delighted last night to spot three of the IOP bus posters in the city!

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Monday, 8 October 2007

Gecko alert!

Look out for this little fella hanging around on some of the city's buses, with thanks to the guys from the IOP...

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Friday, 5 October 2007

Trailblazer #2 - Rainforest Day

Tomorrow's the second of our trailblazer events - it's Rainforest Day at The Manchester Museum.

Drop over there for a family-friendly day of exploration where you can find out about plants and animals from the rainforest and beyond! Meet some live amphibians, learn some amazing facts about them, and take part in art and craft activities, object handling and tours.

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Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Trailblazer #1

Last night's first trailblazer event went off with a big bang!

Prof Brian Boyle gave us a sparkling tour from the view of "the year 2032" back over the 100 years of radio astronomy, and a tour it was! Taking in quasars, pulsars and more, he whisked us through the discovery and development of the technology and looked forward (ahem I mean back) to creation and findings of the Square Kilometre Array, a new global initiative in radio astronomy. And it all nicely tied in with the 50th anniversary of the Lovell Telescope...

I think the whole thing's going to be a Jod-cast, so that's a great chance to catch up on what he said if you weren't there...

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Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Blog link - The Manchizzle

You spend the best part of this year planning, programming and preparing for a festival with more than 25 key partners from across the city-region.

Then you spend a good few weeks grinding out a post every 48 hours on this humble blog.

Then your website goes live highlighting all that hard work... and suddenly we get a lovely link from the Manchizzle (one of Mcr's stellar bloggers)! Nice one, ta.

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Monday, 1 October 2007

Site online!

Visit now at Manchester Science Festival!

And don't forget tomorrow night is our first event - see here for more info.

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Sunday, 30 September 2007

Website launch

Apologies to those who are waiting to see it, and thanks again for your patience, but the website is not yet live with the programme for October. There were a few niggly, last minute problems at the end of the week and hence it'll go up on Monday (we hope!). More when we have it.

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Friday, 28 September 2007

Post-launch Friday-itis...

No, this isn't a reference to the fact that I'm suffering from a severe case of goldfish-memory-itis this afternoon (though it might as well be!). It's one of the hundreds of images that we've been selecting to put on the website - see if you can spot them when it finally goes live on Monday!

Yesterday's programme launch went really well and I was delighted to see so many faces there, familiar and new. Everyone seemed to have a good time networking, looking through the programme and drinking champagne! But today it's back down to earth with a bump, as I do the final proofs for the website, sort out a very special busking location (more soon!) and deal with a million (I exaggerate) emails and messages from yesterday when I was busy running round with the event.

Anyway the weekend is beckoning and I suspect that this will be the last quiet one until the end of October...

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Monday, 24 September 2007

Trailblazers - first one next week!

As part of the run up to the festival (four weeks and counting), but as from next week, we're running a series of trailblazer events, working with other festivals and partners to bring a little bit of science to food, drink, writing, and the stars…

We're delighted to be working with Jodrell Bank, Manchester Literature Festival, Manchester Food and Drink Festival, and The RSA to bring you these special science collaboration events.

A week on Tuesday (2 October, 7pm) we're co-hosting our first event with University of Manchester and Jodrell Bank - '100 Years of Radio Astronomy: A Future Retrospective', by Professor Brian Boyle, Director of CSIRO’s Australia Telescope National Facility. He's an inspiring, exciting speaker, and this lecture ‘looks back’ from the year 2030 to review a century of radio astronomy - pulsars, quasars, the radiation from the Big Bang - and the new view it gives us of our Universe.

Tickets: Free! Contact Jodrell Bank by phone on 01477 571321.

2007 is the 50th Anniversary of the Lovell Telescope, the iconic radio telescope at Jodrell Bank created by Manchester scientist, Sir Bernard Lovell. This lecture is part of a series of events to celebrate this wonderful anniversary.

More on the other trailblazers soon... both here and on the main site!

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Friday, 21 September 2007

Me, me, me...

This post nicely follows the "work, work, work" one - things only come in threes round here it seems!

Of course, the festival couldn't happen without the help and goodwill of a lot of people and organisations - it's not all "me, me, me". And here are two of them to prove it! Owen and Caroline work at MoSI in the learning centre and have programmed ALL of the content at the museum - a huge task.

Thank you guys - for your effort, your enthusiasm, your patience, and most of all, your good humour!

[BTW - note on the wall in the background the cutting from the Guardian saying that orange clothes are "going up" - festival T-shirts here we come!]

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End of the week rush...

It's Friday morning about 10.30am.

I've played with updating content on the newly delivered website, arranged for delivery of 100k postcards and 20k festival programmes, sent an email to the volunteers about the launch next week, and fielded calls/ emails about the festival from as close as Leyland and as far away as Sweden and Singapore!

All of which leaves me with one question... Is it time to go home yet?

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Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Press coverage in MEN

The Manchester Evening News has been kind enough to cover two stories that we've put out in the last few months, so I thought I'd link to them here.

One was a piece in yesterday's edition by Angie Robinson from Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, relating the reduced numbers of students taking science subjects to the need to make science fun, and thus the festival. The other (from which the photo is taken) was the launch event back in April, celebreating the wonderful Joule's Gold beer that Paradise Brewery created for us.

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A week and a day...

It's a week and a day until we launch and go public with both the programme and the website. I don't know if it'll be a huge relief or completely terrifying - probably both!

I've just seen the final proofs for the website and I'm really pleased with them. Given that we've worked with three different designers on the three major marketing elements (print, web and education - long story as to why!) I'm delighted that they've all turned out to look so similar and feel like a united brand. And that all the designers have been so patient and flexible! Thanks to Raid Associates, Idaho and A&P.

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Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Work, work, work...

With less than 10 days till the programme launch, and less than five weeks until the festival itself, things are moving on apace!

I always find this an exciting time – when the majority of the hard work is behind you (or should be, apart from the festival itself!) and the preparation is starting to pay off. It’s not that thrilling for all of you I’m guessing (!), but knowing that the programmes, postcards, Tshirts, banners, badges, and other stuff is all ordered and due in time means I sleep better at night!

And generally, things seem to be going smoothly, even if I am a bit busy overall. I say “seem to” because my colleague in the office said the other day that this is always the calm before the storm – I know I’m prepared for what I should be prepared for, it’s just what I didn’t know I needed to be prepared for that I need to worry about…

Don’t forget that we’re running a series of trailblazers during October, in partnership with lots of other Manchester institutions and festivals – I’ll post more about those in due course.

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Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Other things to look out for during the festival…

A new Salford REdGENERATION nail varnish on sale at festival outlets

A project collecting your ‘Favourite Manchester Sounds’ aiming to discover what Mancunians think about their city’s soundscape and to reveal the Manchester of the ear

A city-wide pub quiz with Manchester Food and Drink Festival

Lots of other workshops, talks, shows, activities and events at the Museum of Science and Industry – there are just too many to list here!

Bluetooth messages broadcasting festival information in key locations

“Joule’s Gold”, our festival beer, made by Paradise Brewery, on sale at their stall in the Arndale Market and other select locations

Busloads of physics as the cities buses play host to a Manchester-exclusive poster campaign

The Josh Award for Science Communication

A special IMAX short showing only at the Odeon in the Printworks

A chance to get together with other “fizz-ics” readers because of Richard Hammond’s book “Can you feel the force?”

Some fantastic science busking and tricks at a variety of locations throughout the festival

Murder, mystery and crime-solving at the Museum of Science and Industry

Books and posters by 1001 Inventions being sold through festival outlets

And the festival fun doesn’t stop at midnight on the 28 October. Oh no. We know some of you are on half-term the week after so we’ve laid on some special events and activities just for you – check the MOSI website for things happening between 29 Oct - 4 Nov!

For all of these and more check the festival website when it goes live later this month - Manchester Science Festival

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Poet in Residence

That first flight in 1908
his name might have entered the record books
but a number out
a witness misplaced
and the name fades, a colour-wash drawing lifts
from the paper before it is set
soars above Manchester
and paints its lines over the map of the world.

by Helen Clare, Poet in Residence, Museum of Science and Industry.

For more information about the residency.

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Thursday, 16 August 2007

Welcome to Manchester Science Festival!

2007 is the festival’s inaugural year – we look forward to seeing you at an event during October and making our first festival a great success! Manchester Science Festival aims to enthuse and inspire everyone about science, technology and engineering. There will be more than 100 events between 20-28 October - you’ll be able to go on a city walk, draw your own animal, make computerized music, play with robots, see special film screenings, and more! Don’t forget the latest info is on the website -

Thank you to North West Development Agency and the Museum of Science and Industry for the support, financial and otherwise. Thanks also to all the partner organisations who’ve advised, and to those who are running and hosting events – you are too numerous to mention but no less important for it.

This year there are more than 100 events as part of the festival – here you can find out what’s going on, when and where! All the events in the festival are related to six themes:

  • ‘Manchesticity' - the city's endeavours, achievements, people, places and ideas
  • Mind & Body - activities and topics about our brains and brawn
  • Planet - exploring our impact on and use of the earth, and looking into space
  • Extra-Ordinary - the science, technology and engineering of the everyday
  • Past, Present, Future - looking forward and back in time
  • Lifestyle - the science of all things fun - food, shopping, sport, music, and more!

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Friday, 20 July 2007

first of many...

OK, well it seemed like the decent thing to do - chronicle the ups and downs, good and bad of our first attempt at a science festival, up here in England's Northwest. Now here's the chance to explore the highs and lows, programming options, background details and more... Look forward to hearing from you all in the coming months.

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