See some of the world's brightest minds when they come to Cheltenham this summer

Over 200 of the world's brightest minds are on the line-up for this year's Cheltenham Science Festival, with the likes of Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Brian Cox, Susie Dent, Tim Peake and Dara Ó Briain coming to the Regency town this June 2024.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
Cheltenham Science Festival 2024 brings 200 exciting speakers to the town, including physicist Brian Cox, astronaut Tim Peake, space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock and many more.

Giving science fans a chance to have their minds blown by bestselling authors, activists, scientists and even a real-life astronaut, Cheltenham Science Festival returns to the town from Tuesday 4 to Sunday 9 June 2024.

With over 100 events spanning everything from the role of science in predicting election results to discussing whether we're alone in the universe, the event brings some of the world's brightest minds to Cheltenham for the five-day celebration of science.

This year's guest curators are science journalist, author and one of Forbes Thirty Under Thirty, Sophia Smith Galer, who is discussing the science of desire as part of the festival; Belgian cosmologist Thomas Hertog, who recalls his work with Stephen Hawking to develop a new theory of the Big Bang; and the world's first AI Science Festival curator, AIDA.

Some of this year's most exciting speakers include space scientist and The Sky At Night presenter Maggie Aderin-Pocock, cosmology professor Andrew Pontzen and comedian Dara Ó Briain taking a tour of the solar system and asking if we're really alone out there; famous physicist Brian Cox diving into the concept of black holes and taking audiences on a journey through a century of physics, spanning Einstein to Hawking and beyond; particle physics professor David Wark and writer Ben Platts-Mills discussing the legacy of J. Robert Oppenheimer and the scientists that worked with him at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project; and astronaut Tim Peake looking into the future of space and its impact on our people and planet with space ecosystems manager Anuradha Damale-Day and Anu Ojha from the UK Space Agency. 

Dara Ó Briain is also discussing whether science can predict election results and what data can tell us about democracy with elections analyst Jane Green, mathematician Kit Yates and political scientist John Curtice; bestselling author and historian, Peter Frankopan, shows how the natural world and climate change has shaped human history; BBC presenter Maddie Moate looks at how spies keep our country safe online and in the real world; while The Traitors star Andrew Jenkins teams up with game theorist and mathematician Marcus Du Sautoy, kidnap negotiator Scott Walker and psychologist Catherine Loveday to explore the science of deception.

Foodies will love seeing local favourite and TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall sharing the health benefits of adding 30 more vegetables to your diet each week; aerospace engineer and Netflix's Baking Impossible judge Andrew Smyth exploring the connections between everyday bakes and the engineering that keeps astronauts alive; Great British Bake Off finalist Josh Smalley cooking up a storm; and material scientist Mark Miodownik and chemist Andrea Sella showing how to turn your kitchen into a laboratory.

Cheltenham Science Festival is proud to be nurturing emerging talent in the world of science, with Young Changemakers including activist Charli Clement; Dark Sky Officer for Snowdonia National Park, Dani Roberson; data engineer and STEM ambassador Tosin Sonubi; and food campaigner Tasha Mhakayakora bringing their fresh perspectives to the festival. 

For families, podcast 'The Infinite Monkey Cage' hosts a family special bringing together Steve Backshall, Brian Cox and comedians Adam Kay and Robin Ince for a festival first; palaeontologist Steve Brusatte shares the latest dinosaur discoveries and shows little ones what dinosaurs really looked like in a hands-on workshop; while award-winning science communicator Jamie Gallagher shows kids how to create their very own viral TikTok using the science behind the social media phenomenon. The event also welcomes around 8,000 children from 85 local schools as part of its Science for Schools programme. 

There's plenty of free entertainment at the inspiring Festival Village taking over Imperial Gardens in the centre of town, with three free interactive zones — The Arcade, MakerShake and Discover Zone; the chance to sit in the cockpit of an F2 powerboat with its pilot Mette Bjerknes; and late-night entertainment like Variety Night and off-site evening walks taking place, too. 

Cheltenham Science Festival also invites visitors to 'Be The Change' and take real-world action on the issues raised throughout the event. 

Tickets for Cheltenham Science Festival go on general sale on Wednesday 24 April 2024.

For more information, or to book tickets, visit


Cheltenham Science Festival


Imperial Gardens, Cheltenham


Tuesday 4 to Sunday 9 June 2024


Times vary per event


Prices vary per event


(01242) 850270

In partnership with Cheltenham Festivals  |

More on Cheltenham Festivals

More from Culture