England

Pint of Science festival brings beer and brains together

Promotional drawing for Pint of Science festival
Image caption Organisers said they wanted to discuss topics of interest to everyone, including the science of human attraction

The brain, body and biotechnology are to be discussed over pints of beer at a new three-day science festival.

Pint of Science takes place at 15 London, Oxford and Cambridge pubs, bringing specialists in their fields together with members of the public.

It is the brainchild of academics from universities and colleges in the three cities who "enjoy a pint or two".

Subjects being discussed include the medical applications of dynamite and the science of laughter and sleep.

Lucy Brooks, one of the organisers, said: "The idea for the festival came from Dr Michael Motskin, a researcher at Imperial College, London, and former Cambridge University student.

"He was inspired by similar small events but wanted to do it on a much grander scale and make it more accessible to everyone.

'Quenching curiosity'

"After talking to friends and colleagues at other universities, the ball started rolling very fast."

About 65 students, postgraduates and researchers were involved in organising the festival, and 75 speakers are taking part, Miss Brooks said.

"One of the first scientists we approached was former government drugs adviser David Nutt," she added.

Prof Nutt's views on ecstasy and LSD being less harmful than alcohol were well-publicised and led to him being sacked from that position.

He recently hit the headlines after saying 'absurd' laws dealing with magic mushrooms, ecstasy and cannabis were hindering medical research.

His session on "science and non-science in drug policy" at a London pub, sold out within hours of being publicised.

Other sessions designed to "quench the curiosity" of those attending the free festival include injection-free vaccines, "switching" the brain on and off, and robots and the future of transport.

It takes place from 14 until 16 May.

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