26 June, 2017
If you have not heard of it before, Pint of Science is a yearly science festival run by volunteers. This year it reached 26 cities across the UK and many more globally. The festival’s goal is to bring some brilliant scientists to talk to the public about their current research in one of the most relaxing environments around, the pub.
In Cambridge, the event took place in nine local pubs, all dedicated to different scientific themes. I was part of the team that recruited speakers under the broad theme ‘Our body’. The event lasted three nights with different sub-topics, ranging from Development to Ageing. The second night was all about Epigenetics and I had no shortage of great experts to choose from at the Babraham Institute.
The first speaker of the evening was Clara Novo from Peter Rugg-Gunn’s lab. She gave an excellent talk about “How cells play DNA Origami with Epigenetics”, explaining the basics of the subject and how the DNA is folded in our cells in specific ways. The second speaker was Laetitia Chauve from Olivia Casanueva’s lab. Her talk, titled “Can a little bit of stress extend lifespan?”, introduced her work with C. elegans and showed how these worms are a great model for epigenetic studies.
The third and final speaker of the evening did not disappoint either. Ferdinand Von Meyenn from Wolf Reik’s lab gave an excellent presentation about “Epigenetics in Early Development”. All three scientists did a great job at explaining a difficult subject in a simple yet interesting way to a non-professional audience. They were also happy to answer the many insightful questions that were asked after the talks.
As part of the Pint of Science initiative, all speakers were paired with an artist who produced some kind of art piece related to the scientist’s talk. These creations were exhibited during the end of the week and anyone could come along to see great paintings, drawings, sculptures, jewellery and other great art pieces related to all the topics of the festival. As one of the artists involved, Rachel Fellows, a PhD student in Patrick Varga-Weisz’s lab, produced a beautiful painting related to a talk about axon transport during ageing. Pint of Science was a great success this year and I highly recommend taking part in it as either an organiser, speaker, artist or audience member.
26 June 2017
By Dorottya Horkai