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

  • The University of Sheffield will exhibit multiple attractions at the six-day Cheltenham Science Festival
  • Sell out show Sound of Science will take to the main stage with a collaboration of live music and creative demonstrations of science
  • The METABOLON, Aegis and Giant E. coli sculptures will be displayed in the new purpose-built Discover Zone


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 Honer (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.”

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.

The Cheltenham Science Festival is set to run 4 June 2019 to 9 June 2019, for more information or to buy tickets for the event, please visit:

Additional Information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Emma Griffiths
Media and PR Assistant
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 1034