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24 September 2014
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Cheltenham's festival of the future
Dinosaur  eye
Keeping an eye on the Festival of Science
Last updated: 14 June 2004 1430 BST
lineUFOs, mutants and artificial intelligence - no, it's not the new series of Doctor Who but some of the topics under discussion at the Cheltenham Festival of Science.
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There was something at the Cheltenham Festival of Science to capture any imagination, even if you're still stuck on chapter two of A Brief History of Time, or your understanding of quantum theory is based solely upon old Star Trek episodes.

This year's event attracted 27,000 punters, with over a third of the events selling out.

From UFOs and mutants to self-sufficiency and wildlife television, the festival's five venues played host to some of science's best and biggest brains.

View our photos of the event:-

Photo Gallery
(20 Pictures)

Photo Gallery
(13 Pictures)

Discovery

The town hall was transformed into the 'Discover Zone', where adults looked on jealously as young visitors built robots, abseiled, and took part in a musical megalab.

Robots Oscar and Inkha took up residence in the entrance foyer of the town hall, while elsewhere in the building attendees could take part in art installations or pick the brains of available scientists.

Astronaut

Television's Robert Winston was the guest director of the event, whose speakers included Colin Pillinger, creator of the missing Beagle 2 space probe and NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.

quoteThis is something unique in Cheltenham that will be copied around the world.
quote
Prof David King

Gloucestershire-based writer Marcus Moore discussed his forthcoming experiment to live for two years, two months and two days without money (in a shed).

Meanwhile, Ian Morison of SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) and ex-MOD man Nick Pope examined to fact and fiction behind UFO sightings.

Unique

The government's chief scientist, Professor David King, applauded the festival.

Speaking at the opening night launch, he said:
"This is something quite unique in Cheltenham that will be copied around the world.

"Cheltenham has an outstanding history of festivals. You should be proud of it."

Discover Zone
The Discover Zone

Advances

Professor King went on to describe the radical advances which have recently taken place in science.

"For one of my birthdays a PhD student gave me a card saying: 'Happy birthday Dave,' written in atoms.

"That would have been impossible 50 years ago.

"The next 50 years will bring even more enormous challenges...This festival is remarkably important for the UK."

The festival's guest director, Lord Robert Winston, added: 'I go to many science festivals around the world and this is the best one. It is setting the example.'

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