Having spent three hours in an Arctic simulator (aka a National Express coach) before dragging my case across a rain-drenched Newcastle, you can imagine my relief at arriving at the heart of the British Science Festival to find a kettle and teabag waiting for me. It was only once I had my case unpacked and drink in hand that I began to wonder, with a nervous, Fresher-like anticipation, whether I should introduce myself to the newcomers in the corridor outside.
Thankfully, the society had arranged a student social to break the ice, at which I wholly expected to be joined by a hoard of outright science nerds. Thankfully though, I quickly came to realise I was wrong, that these people were, in fact, just like me; complete and utter science nerds… in disguise as normal people. Or drowned rats it seems, thanks to the buckets of rain Newcastle had to throw down upon us.
Soon I had a glass of wine in one hand, a plate of curry in the other and all about me excited chatter about the prospect of lectures given by Robert Winston (Child of our Time) and Brian Cox, Electromagnetic Pulse Parties, and, err, whether you’d prefer penis-sized nipples or nipple-sized penises (a hearty discussion which can only result from the mix of young scientific minds with a wine-cellar’s worth of free alcohol).
But enough of that now; I’m here to write about the science, not the free food. The British Science Festival runs from Saturday 7th to Thursday 12th September with lectures and exhibitions on subjects throughout the scientific spectrum and, having been given the opportunity to attend everything I possibly have time for, I hope to guide you through its ups and downs, from terribly dull to the frightfully brilliant.