Tuesday, 7 July 2009

From astronauts to physicists...

It's a busy week for the Manchester Science Festival!

Last night we were rubbing shoulders with astronauts from the STS-119 space shuttle that flew to the international space station in March. They gave various talks to school students and an evening event at the Museum of Science and Industry and got interviewed by students at the BBC 21st Century Classroom in Salford who made podcasts and videos about space. They were really inspiring and gave a great insight into their experiences in space. My favourite bit of the evening event was a video clip of one of the crew sucking some floating water into his mouth. There were lots of great questions about careers as astronauts and what it's like to go into space. The astronauts were here as part of a mission to enthuse young people about science and to take up careers in science, engineering, technology and maths.

And tonight we have our second MSF trailablazer. Physicists Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw take to the stage to talk about their new book Why does e=mc2? (and why should we care?). Why Does E=mc2? (and why should we care?) is a groundbreaking journey into the real meaning of Einstein’s iconic equation, E=mc2. Raising lots of questions along the way – what is energy? what is mass? – the enthusiastic scientists take us to the site of the infamous ‘big bang machine’, the 27km Large Hadron Collider.

QI host and professional genius Stephen Fry praised Brian Cox. He said: “I can think of no one, Stephen Hawking included, who more perfectly combines authority, knowledge, passion, clarity and powers of elucidation than Brian Cox.

“If you really want to know how Big Science works and why it matters to each of us in the smallest way, then be entertained by this dazzlingly enthusiastic man.”

The launch is on Tuesday July 7th 7.15 – 9.15pm in the Cardwell Auditorium at the Museum of Science and Industry (Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester M3 4FP).

Tickets are £1, redeemable against one copy of the book on the night, and are available from Blackwell University Bookshop, Precinct Centre, Oxford Road, Manchester (telephone 0161 274 3331).

Image credits: Astronauts: Chris Foster/MOSI, Brian Cox, Jeff Forshaw

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