Issam Kourbaj, artist in residence at Christ’s College, University of Cambridge, has proposed a project designed to recreate a planned 16th century spire designed for Great St Mary’s Church, housing a ’‘camera obscura’ to provide visitors with panoramic views of Cambridge’s spaces and skyline. The talk will be part of the ’‘Spotlight on Science’ lecture series at the Cambridge Science Festival tonight (March 16) from 6-7 pm at the Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick Avenue.

Called the ‘EyeCone project’, it is based on plans by Matthew Parker, the 16th century Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge and Archbishop of Canterbury, to add a dramatic 80 foot spire to the famous 15th century church. The Camera Obscura — a device to capture, through an arrangement of lenses and mirrors, a clear image of the views all around the tower — would be placed within the hollow cone of his new spire and the image projected on a large screen within a darkened viewing-chamber. The spire would be built from lightweight modern materials rather than the original planned stone, and be a temporary feature of the church, with the possibility of being lifted off intact and used educationally on a new site.

Issam Kourbaj will discuss the proposed project in detail at the lecture.

The Cambridge Science Festival is the UK’s largest free festival of scientific events and will be held until 26 March 2006 in and around the University of Cambridge. There is a wide range of events for children and adults of all ages.

Celebrity mathematician and University of Cambridge graduate Carol Vorderman will be opening the 2006 Cambridge Science Festival, and delivering an inaugural talk for a family audience on Saturday 18 March.

The Science Festival provides people of all ages the opportunity to explore science through hands-on activities and talks hosted by people who study or work with science, engineering and technology.

The first ‘Science Weekend’ will be held 18-19 March, when many of the laboratory tours, demonstrations and hands-on activities will take place. Vorderman will open up the Science weekend on Saturday, March 18 in the Courtyard, Downing Site, Downing Street, Cambridge. A second ‘Science on Saturday’ event takes place on March 25, with further Open Days at Physics, Astronomy, and Maths.

The Festival will also continue its ‘Spotlight on Science’ lecture series, which will include environmentally-focused lectures such as ‘Climate Change Begins at Home’ and ‘Priorities for People and Planet’, as well as health and technology lectures ‘Autism and the Extreme Male Brain’ and ‘The Mathematics of Luck, Risk and Gambling’.

The 2006 Cambridge Science Festival is sponsored by Cambridge University Press, The Technology Partnership, Microsoft Research, the Vodafone UK Foundation, Science Magazine and Oracle. Supporters of the Festival include Cambridge Evening News, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and Q103.

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