Cheltenham Science Festival review

From fingerprinting fun and taking a seat on the jury, to astounding food facts and inspirational mental health heroes, SoGlos learnt something new every day and had plenty of fascinating fun during Cheltenham Science Festival 2017.

Encompassing topics such as mental health, forensics, technology, and mysteries of the mind, Cheltenham Science Festival’s 2017 programme promised six days of fascinating talks, workshops and debates.

And, while SoGlos’s editorial team might not boast many scientific accolades apart from the odd GSCE, we couldn’t help but get excited about this year’s line-up – and one week later we’re feeling inspired and very well educated!

While SoGlos's editorial team might not boast many scientific accolades apart from the odd GSCE, we couldn't help but get excited about this year's line-up!

It’s fair to say that our trio loves a good old mystery, with frequent discussions about the latest detective shows over morning brews, so the forensics and criminology theme was right up our street.

The Real CSI proved an irresistible experience for SoGlos’s wannabe sleuth, who couldn’t wait to try her hand at true-to-life forensics. Allowing you to live the detective dream for an hour, fingerprinting, identifying insects, and finding trace evidence on your own clothing was all part of the fun!

Meanwhile, A Guide to Forensics not only offered a revealing, and perhaps gruesome insight into the science, but delighted the editorial team's Silent Witness fan, as pathologist Stuart Hamilton revealed his role as an advisor for the show.

A highlight was without doubt Jury LIVE which invited crime-hungry audiences to witness a mock trial based on a real-life case, hearing the evidence from the experts and deciding if the defendant was innocent or guilty.

For those who shy away from the dark world of forensics and crime, there were endless other events to enjoy, with the health and lifestyle theme offering discussions on issues such as social media and mental health, which have never been more prevalent in today’s society.

Touching on subjects which go beyond everyday issues, Stress discussed PTSD and torture, in addition to advice about dealing with everyday worries and anxieties – something which the SoGlos team took on board!

Young Minds Under Pressure saw journalist and mental health campaigner Bryony Gordon joined by health expert Ann John, and emotional disorders specialist, Martina Di Simplico, offering a brilliant blend of scientific information and first-hand experiences.

The compelling talk addressed complex issues of depression, OCD, social media and anxiety, with Bryony’s personal revelations and passion for making a difference resonating with the audience. Not to mention that she exuded warmth and handed out comforting hugs during, and after, the event.


Moving away from mental health, the ever-diverse festival offered food for thought, quite literally, during Food: A Guilt Free Future, a mind-blowing talk about food and the environment – teaching audiences that there are more than 2,000 types of British apple, and just what percent of the population adheres to the Eatwell Guide.

We also got to experience first-hand accounts from the man behind the lens, Doug Allan, during his Adventures Of A Wildlife Cameraman talk, which gave the audience an insight into his impressive career capturing incredible footage of animals in the Arctic and Antarctic.

A trained scientist, Doug discussed the importance of science in his work and how deeper scientific knowledge can help with capturing never-before-seen animal behaviour, while he also touched on the topical issues of global warming and education.

Showcasing the many, many ways science has an impact on our day-to-day life, from the food we eat and technology we use, to our thoughts and feelings, the festival definitely sparked the SoGlos team’s interest and proves that science isn’t just for the classroom.

For more information about Cheltenham Science Festival and upcoming festivals in 2017, visit cheltenhamfestivals.com directly.

By Kathryn Godfrey

© SoGlos
Monday 12 June 2017

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