Cheltenham Science Festival

Returning for its first full-scale event since 2019, Cheltenham Science Festival has a packed programme of over 130 events for its 20th anniversary celebration.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
There are talks from the brightest minds in science, fascinating demonstrations and interactive family fun, when Cheltenham Science Festival returns to the town, this June 2022.
There are talks from the brightest minds in science, fascinating demonstrations and interactive family fun, when Cheltenham Science Festival returns to the town, this June 2022.

Cheltenham Science Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the return of its first full-scale event since 2019, from Tuesday 7 to Sunday 12 June 2022.

With the theme of ‘Be The Change’ and over 130 ticketed events, from in-person talks to interactive family fun, there’s plenty for people of all ages to enjoy at this year’s festival.

Here are just some of SoGlos’s handpicked highlights…

Talks at Cheltenham Science Festival 2022

Jess Wade and Suzie Sheehy discuss the 12 experiments that changed our world in The Matter of Everything on Tuesday 7 June 2022.

Afghanistan war survivor and NHS doctor Waheed Arian discusses Medicine on the Front Line; GCHQ’s Jamie Susskind talks about protecting our freedoms in Technology, Society and the Digital Revolution; and clinical psychologist Sam Akbar teaches audiences how to be ‘Stressilient’ on Wednesday 8 June 2022.

On Thursday 9 June 2022, Angela Gallop talks to Julia Wheeler about How To Solve a Crime; neuroscientist Anil Seth presents a radical new theory of consciousness and self in Being You: The Science of Consciousness; while Kathryn Harkup discusses whether poison in the ear, snakebites and lack of sleep could really have killed off his characters in Death by Shakespeare.

Heading into the weekend, renowned forensic anthropologist Sue Black shows how our skeletons can tell stories in Written in Bone and Nathan H. Lents wonders whether humans will all eventually become cyborgs on Friday 10 June 2022.

On Saturday 11 June 2022, podcaster and campaigner Deborah James discusses whether we can cure cancer in our lifetime; guest curator Daze Aghaji talks to environmentalist Jonathan Porritt about Tackling the Climate Crisis; and Variant Hunter Sophie Prosolek talks about her work sequencing Covid-19 and the importance of genome sequencing in fighting infectious diseases.

Then on Sunday 12 June 2022, Jeff Forshaw asks physicists Ivette Fuentes and Vlatko Vedral and IBM quantum ambassador Leigh Chase, Is The World a Hologram? Zoologist Lucy Cook dispels the lingering myth that females are the weaker of the species; Young Changemaker and mental health campaigner Sophia Badhan explores Inequality in Mental Health with a particular focus on Gen Z; and Adam Rutherford talks about The Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics.

Demonstrations at Cheltenham Science Festival 2022

On Tuesday 7 June 2022, musician Nabihah Iqbal and visual artist and quantum physicist Libby Heaney present the immersive audio-visual event Cascade; Stephanie Posavec shows how to Draw with Data while bingo meets chemistry for Phil Bell-Young and *Mark Lorch*’s The Periodic Dinner Table Show on Wednesday 8 June 2022.

Discover the secrets of Victorian Magic from Jamie Gallagher, Kirsty Turner and Neil Monteiro or go on a brewery tour and learn the science of the perfect pint with scientist Mark Miodownik and beer sommelier Natalya Watson and DEYA Brewery on Thursday 9 June 2022.

Learn the secrets of the perfect G&T from Mark Miodownik and Andy Whiting in Just The (Gin &) Tonic on Friday 10 June 2022.

Mathematician Kyle D Evans invites audiences to a mind-bending evening of Maths Tricks To Blow Your Mind on Saturday 11 June 2022; while physicist and LEGO enthusiast Ben Still shows how to build your own periodic table from blocks.

And the Over Ambitious Demo Challenge pits three scientists against each other to create the most showstopping science demo they can in front of a live audience on Sunday 12 June 2022.

Family events at Cheltenham Science Festival 2022

On Wednesday 8 June 2022, palaeontologist Dean Lomax takes families through 200 years of fossil discovery in Mary Anning and the ‘Sea Dragons’ at the Helix Auditorium.

On Saturday 11 June 2022, scientist Jon Chase explains the science behind Star Wars and our favourite superheroes; adventurer Lindsey Cole shares the story of the Mermaid and the Cow, telling children all about plastic pollution and animal rescue; Great British Bake Off finalist and engineer Andrew Smyth hosts an ‘edible exploration of engineering’ in his ‘Bakineering’ show at Cheltenham Town Hall; and BBC The One Show resident scientist Marty Jopson presents his show One Million Volts.

While on Sunday 12 June 2022, Dogology Vs Catology from Stefan Gates explains the science behind our most popular pets; mathematician Katie Steckles shares the stories of the people who developed the maths we use today; and Jamie Gallagher presents Kitchen Chemistry exploring the sights, sounds and smells of everyday chemistry.

Free events at Cheltenham Science Festival 2022

There are seven free interactive zones at this year’s festival, including the brand-new Arcade with fun, creative and cryptic challenges to try, as well as returning favourites the Discover Zone and MakerShack. Follow the free Science Trail around the festival site, learn about the science of sport at the Hartpury Science Hub, meet the nature detectives at The Woodland Trust, explore engineering in the GE Pavillion, or head to Waterstones pop-up bookshop for book signings, too.

VOICEBOX is hosting a series of free events on Instagram and TikTok, covering topics from neurodiversity and body image to game design, sustainable fashion and life hacks.

Jamie Gallagher and Hana Ayoob test your science knowledge with Lets Get Quizzical on Tuesday 7 June 2022; Jonny Berliner sings about all the things we don’t know in Mysteries of the Universe on Wednesday 8 June 2022; the Vagina Museum presents Bajingo Bingo on Thursday 9 June 2022; the Science Festival celebrates the FameLab UK finalists while GameLab presents an evening of experimental gaming on Friday 10 June 2022.

While on Saturday 11 June 2022, Cheltenham Science Festival heads to the High Street with a spectacular, gravity-defying physical theatre performance from Highly Strung and scientists Mark Miodownik and Andrea Sella host an evening of sophisticated silliness at Cocktail Hour.

There are free, family-friendly talks and workshops on the Apollo Stage too, with highlights including guest curator Alom Shaha showing how to transform and recycle household objects into homemade toys and machines; Sarah Bearchell creating clouds from dry ice to see, feel and taste; BLOBFISH! author Olaf Falafel introducing children to the issue of plastics in the ocean; The Juggling of Science explaining particle physics through juggling and circus skills; biologist Phil Bell-Young and Hana Ayoob presenting Things We Know We Don’t Know about the animals and plants that share our planet; and autism advocate and award-winning author Camilla Pang sharing the science of growing up.


Cheltenham Science Festival 2022


Tuesday 7 to Sunday 12 June 2022


Times vary per event.


Prices vary per event.


(01242) 850270

In partnership with Cheltenham Festivals  |

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