This year’s Science Festival is fast approaching, and as always, it’s chock full of things to see and do. The 11-day fest, which takes place at the Science and Industry Museum and venues across the city, features exhibitions, talks, screenings, and tours. Here’s just five of the best events…
Jon Ronson’s Psychopath Afternoon – at The Lowry
Some years ago, the affable journalist and broadcaster Jon Ronson waded into the disturbing but intriguing world of psychopathy. And at this matinee show, he recounts the curious events that led to the creation of the resulting book 'The Psychopath Test'. A runaway hit, it spent a year on the UK’s book charts and 10 weeks on The New York Times best seller list. Ronson explores both the science and the quackery of psychopathy, and how it sits with the broader mental health industry and the mass media.
Sat 20 Oct, The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ, Tel: 0843 208 6000, 3pm, £24.50, www.manchestersciencefestival.com
You and A.I. with Jim Al Khalili – at The RX Theatre
The Royal Society has teamed up with artificial intelligence research lab DeepMind for this one-off event. Physicist, author and broadcaster Jim Al Khalili is hosting a debate which explores whether A.I. can increase our capacity to understand the mysteries of the universe and tackle some real-world challenges. You will be invited to put your questions to a very special line-up of knowledgeable people, and discover how far the boundaries of AI are being pushed. Confirmed for the panel are Dr Ewa Luger, from the University of Edinburgh; and Dame Wendy Hall, from Southampton Uni.
Sun 28 Oct, Royal Exchange Theatre, St. Ann's Square, Manchester, M2 7DH, Tel: 0161 833 9833, 5.30pm – 7pm, £10, www.manchestersciencefestival.com/you-and-ai
Electricity: The spark of life – at the Science and Industry Museum
One of the festival's headline events, this wide-ranging exhibition looks at the history of humans' attempts to harness and control electricity. Featuring commissions from three contemporary artists, 'The spark of life' examines how scientists experimented with electricity and how mass generation and distribution changed our lives. Through iconic objects such as Edison lightbulbs and emerging smart technologies, it aims to show how supply companies convinced us of electricity’s importance and explore electricity’s place in a low carbon future. There's also 'Spark Space', an area especially for kids.
Thu 18 Oct - Sun 28 Apr, Science and Industry Museum, Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4FP, 10am - 5pm, FREE, www.manchestersciencefestival.com/electricity
Distortions in Spacetime – at the Science and Industry Museum
Another headliner, this event sees London-based design collective Marshmallow Laser Feast create an innovative audio-visual exhibit. They aim to show visitors what it would be like to step into a black hole. You can see the stretching and squashing of light that occurs around a quantum singularity, as you experience one of the biggest mysteries of the universe unravel all around you. Booking is required, and the free tickets will be available closer to the festival.
Thu 18 Oct – Sun 28 Oct, Science and Industry Museum, Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4FP, 10am – 5pm, FREE, www.manchestersciencefestival.com/distortions
Conserving Science: Preventing Extinction – at The Great Northern
This pop-up lab from Chester Zoo and The University of Manchester shows how the two organisations are working together to help save some of the world’s most endangered species. Featured case studies include macaques, Asian songbirds, black rhinos, and mountain zebras. You can explore research from the field and even take part in a live link-up with a Kenyan lab. Staff from Chester Zoo will be around to chat on select dates. See the link below for details.
Thu 18 Oct – Sun 28 Oct, Great Northern, Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4EN, Open 24 hours, FREE, www.manchestersciencefestival.com/conserving