Brilliant sunshine brought huge crowds to the opening Saturday of Cambridge Science Festival and the excitement continues with a full programme of events from now until the closing day next Saturday. Evening lectures on space exploration and the history of the cosmos are just two of the highlights of the coming week.

This year the festival pushes back the boundaries between CP Snow’s ‘two cultures’ by making links between science and the arts: in Extremes of Vision (Faculty of Law, Sidgwick Site, Wednesday, March 19, 7.30-9pm) a distinguished panel will examine the different ways in which artists and scientists view the world and take questions from the floor.

Events for slightly older children and adults continue throughout next week. The Institute of Astronomy is running Night Sky viewing sessions for ages eight upwards on Wednesdays 19 and 26 March from 8-9pm, and Saturday, 22 March, from 7-9pm. Sessions will run only if the sky is clear (to check call the institute after 5pm on 01223 337548).

Science Festival events are not confined to the university. Organisations actively contributing to the scheme this year include Wysing Arts, the Arts Picture House, Cambridge & County Folk Museum, and Borders Bookshop. The ADC Theatre invites schools and adults to join British Antarctic Scientists and artists to create an installation in an inflatable dome called White Canary (20, 21 and 22 March to book places phone the box office on 01223 511511).

Highlights of the second Saturday (22 March) include a Maths Public Open Day at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences (Wilberforce Road), where mathematicians working on everything from prime numbers to volcanoes are staging displays, interactive demonstrations and talks to illustrate the huge range of their work. At 2pm, in a talk called Ozone and Climate, with a Solar Spin-off, aimed at ages 11 and up, Professor Michael McIntyre will ask some fundamental questions about global warming and explain how the sun spins internally.

Last year Cambridge Science Festival attracted more than 35,000 visits, with as many as 50 per cent of visitors coming for the first time. Most visitors were part of family groups, with primary age children representing the second largest group after adults. There was a marked increase in visitors travelling 10 miles or more to take part in events.

"We're thrilled that the festival is attracting increasing numbers, including people who may not visit the country's major science museums," says organiser Sarah Shaw. "Our events have the kind of informal, lively atmosphere that families really like. Visitors get the chance to meet lots of young scientists, who are full of enthusiasm about their work. And everything's free!"

For more information on Cambridge Science Festival phone 01223 766766 or go to

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