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Fifty Shades of Science at Bradford Festival
7:00am Monday 1st October 2012 in News
Erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey appears to have inspired the ‘adult’ programme for the first Bradford Science Festival .
Organisers of the five-day event said a “brainwave around the water cooler” saw them pick the theme for their over-18s programme – with Fifty Shades of Science examining the science of sex and physical attraction.
Helen Barraclough, of Space Connections, which will run the event, said: “The Bradford Science Festival is all about illustrating how science affects all our lives, in every aspect.
“We needed to choose subjects that people were interested in and, after a consultation around the water cooler, we decided on the science of sex.”
The programme will begin on Wednesday, October 17, with a talk by Jennifer Saul, head of Sheffield University’s philosophy department, who will speak about sexism in science, followed by a session with Natasha NcKeever looking at the issue of sexual consent.
The next day, psychologist and sociologist Paul Kilgallon, of charity PRISM, will lead an experiment, with audience participation, which will use a ‘matching hypothesis’ which suggests why people are attracted to their partner.
On Friday, October 19, there will be an alcohol-themed evening, called From the Brew to the Spew, looking at the science and method of brewing and beer-tasting, with six local ales and stouts.
Factory Street Studios will host an evening of rock and roll science on Saturday, October 20, where residents can make their own Diddley Bow – a one-string guitar made from recycled materials.
On Sunday, October 21, from 7pm to 9pm, Bradford will host its own cafe scientifique with Dr Laura Nelson, who studied at the University of Cambridge and has a doctorate in neuroscience, who will talk about whether women’s and men’s brains are different.
In September 2011, Dr Nelson ran a campaign against toy shop Hamleys which led to the store’s gender signs being replaced by toy category signs.
Helen added: “Sex covers all aspects of science and affects everyone – the biological mechanics, the chemical reactions – but we wanted to go deeper and explore the psychological aspects of attraction and the philosophical questions of consent.
“From one lecture, the programme blossomed as more people and places wanted to be involved.”
The Bradford Science Festival follows the success of the British Science Festival , which visited Bradford last September.
The festival’s children’s programme will see about 5,000 young people at Yorkshire schools and colleges attend science workshops and demonstrations given by experts from Bradford Council, Bradford College, BASF , Fabric, Participate Projects, the National Media Museum and the University of Bradford, as well as science-promoting organisations from around the country.
All events in the adult programme, except rock and roll science, are being held at Bradford’s Gumption-Glyde House. Tickets cost £5. To book a place, call 0845 6522406.