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Issued:14/02/17

The Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering 2017, organised by Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield, will spark into life next month bringing world-leading research to life.

TV scientist Professor Alice Roberts delivers the festival’s launch event The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being, which will explore the evolutionary history all of us have as humans, growing from a single cell into a fully formed human in just a few short months and will be held on Sunday 5 March at Sheffield Hallam.

The festival, which runs throughout March, is an opportunity for schools and colleges, families and individuals to engage with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through a series of exciting events including talks, exhibitions, tours, hands-on activities and even beer tasting. The festival coincides with British Science Week, and aims to celebrate the world-class science and engineering research at both of Sheffield's universities.

The festival will also welcome Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2016. He will give a talk at the University of Sheffield on 14 March, where he conducted some of his groundbreaking science research.

There are two strands to the festival; the schools programme with researchers from both universities and partner organisations visiting more than 100 schools across South Yorkshire to deliver over 200 free talks and activities to pupils of all ages.

The public side features a wide range of free events, open to everyone, taking place across the region in multiple venues including both Universities. In 2015 more than 6,600 people attended the public programme.

Dr Katherine Rawlinson, one of Sheffield Hallam's lead organisers, said: "This year's festival is the biggest so far and we are very excited about the range of events open to everyone in Sheffield and the region. Alice Roberts' event is one of the early highlights of the festival and we hope that by the end of the festival, people of all ages and backgrounds will have learned or discovered something that fascinates them."

Professor Tony Ryan, from the University of Sheffield, who is also one of the festival’s key organisers, said: "I'm delighted to once again be involved in this fantastic festival. It is wonderful to see so many scientists and engineers from across the region giving up their time to engage with the public and bring their work to life.

"This year there are more than 50 events in diverse locations including museums, pubs and cafes showcasing the region's achievements in science and engineering research. From hearing leading scientists discuss how they played a part in major breakthroughs like the recent detection of the Higgs boson to looking at the part robots will play in the future, there really is something for everyone."

Professor Alice Roberts
Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering 2017

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Two highlight events for children and families are Explore Science and Engineering @SHU on March 11th with 20 stands featuring hands-on science activities. University of Sheffield will hold their own Discovery Night on March 10th.

Talking about the Explore event, Dr Rawlinson said: "There is a great sense of excitement and wonder when children come to learn about science through exciting hands-on activities that really motivate them – it’s great to see such enthusiasm and from the parents too."

Other events from across the festival include theBitesize X-Lectures in the Sheffield Tap, featuring four academics discussing their work over a beer, including topics such as fertility in young people; doping in sport; fingerprint technology; and why flies are more interesting than the birds and the bees.

There will also be a chance for the public to experience technologies of the future at the festival. Co-biotics: Our Future Shared with Robots will take place on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 March in the Adelphi Room at the Crucible Theatre demonstrating the potential of human-robot collaboration. There will also be a hands-on exhibition on Saturday 11 March where a living room comes to the Winter Garden to allow visitors to test how new technology can help people to live well and age well in the future.

The Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering is taking place throughout March, with British Science Week running 10–19 March. For details on all the festival events, tickets and details please visit www.scienceweeksy.org.uk.

You can also follow the festival on twitter using the hashtag #SFOSE.

For press information: Tim Ward in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2811 or email tim.ward@shu.ac.uk