University of Sheffield to celebrate art, science and music at Cheltenham Science Festival this summer

METABOLON 500

Academics from the University of Sheffield are bringing three nationally renowned sci-art installations to a prestigious festival in June. 

The Cheltenham Science Festival brings together the best scientists, thinkers and writers with 200 events packed into six extraordinary days. 

The event, which is set to attract thousands of visitors, gives audiences a chance to connect with science in different ways, through live experiments, engaging discussion and fun activities.

One of this year’s headline family attractions will be the exhilarating Sound of Science concert, developed by Dr Nate Adams, Professor Duncan Cameron and Mel Hannah from the University of Sheffield, along with renowned Sheffield music producer Dean Horner (I Monster, The ECR) and songwriter Kevin Pearce.

The show explores what the universe and people are made of, delving into key questions about our place on Earth, and the role everyone has in living a more sustainable life.

A team of nine scientists, technicians and musicians from the University and the city have worked together to put on the show. Attendees will experience everything from live music to eye popping 3D visuals and fiery explosions.

Dr Adams, from the University’s Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, will also exhibit the METABOLON and Aegis installations, which were created in collaboration with artist Seiko Kinoshita.

The display blends science and art together whilst giving the public a chance to explore how enzymes help key chemical reactions shape our way of life.

METABOLON explores how chlorophyll is made and why the planet is green, through research that Dr Adams and his colleagues conduct at the University of Sheffield.

These results are presented alongside the Aegis, another art installation that explores the mysteries of accelerated chemical reactions in biology.

Dr Adams, from the University of Sheffield, said: “Cheltenham Science Festival is a great event, as it works with both adult, family and school audiences. They have such a wide variety of content on offer, and are keen to use as many methods of interaction as possible, from discussions and talks, to art and music. It provides an incredible platform to communicate the results of research that takes place at the University.

This year, working with the director of programming, Dr Marieke Navin, we’re taking the best in Science Communication and Public Engagement from this University, and I’m looking forward to having loads of fun.

dr nate adams

“This year, working with the director of programming, Dr Marieke Navin, we’re taking the best in Science Communication and Public Engagement from this University, and I’m looking forward to having loads of fun.”

The giant E. coli installation, which has been suspended from the roof of the Winter Garden in Sheffield, the Eden Project and the Natural History Museum in Oxford, will also make its way to the festival.

Created by artist Luke Jerram with help from University of Sheffield academics, at 90ft long the sculpture is over five million times bigger than an actual E. coli cell. The sculpture is so large that if a person were to be scaled up by the same amount they would stand at a mind-boggling 29,527,000 feet tall.

METABOLON, Aegis and the giant E. coli sculpture are all being exhibited in the new purpose built Discover Zone.

Dr Adams will also present the school science show Ridiculously Rapid Reactions, joining in with the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Cabaret of Elements, and is determined to defend his title of Over Ambitious Demonstration Challenge that he won last year.

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