Cheltenham Science Festival 2015

By Becky Waldram 10 June 2015

On the 6th and 7th of June 2015, Materials Live! sent Bruce Rogers, Becky Waldram, Tom Dunlop and Sean James to Cheltenham Science Festival. This year the main themes included dinosaurs...and Back to the Future. We were there to demonstrate the magic of science in the ‘Doc Brown’s Invention Lab’ area, as 2015 was the year travelled to in the second BTTF film. The purpose of this area was to see how close we had come to achieving some of the predictions made in the film.

Armed with a 3D printed model that vaguely resembled a DeLorean, a strip of very strong magnets, some liquid nitrogen and a superconductor, we set out to demonstrate that flying cars are still a very real possibility, despite not being quite as mainstream or practical, as predicted in the film. Partly due to the sunny weather, and the public’s enthusiasm for science, both days saw thousands of people visit the festival. At some points it was so busy, the organisers had to stop entry to the town hall, as there was almost no room to move. Both days the hall was open 10-5, and during this time there was barely a minute where one of us wasn’t engaging with the public.

Everyone we spoke to was very interested in how magnetic levitation worked and could be used, and hopefully we inspired many young people to consider a future in science and engineering. The parents were more interested to know if we could hit 88 mph! Unfortunately we didn’t have enough road to get up to 88, although where we’re going, we don’t need roads…



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