Congratulations to All Involved with The Times Cheltenham Science Festival

The Times Cheltenham Science Festival Draws to a Close

The Times Cheltenham Science Festival ends today, Sunday’s events will bring to a close six days of infinite curiosity with presentations featuring battling dinosaurs, Lord Robert Winston, Mars exploration, quantum mechanics, the secret lives of dogs and a forensic analysis of King Richard III.  These events reflect the extremely diverse range of activities, presentations and hands-on science experiments that have been available on the Imperial Square site in Cheltenham since the festival began on June 2nd.

Sunshine and Clear Skies for Much of the Festival

Life and the universe explored at the Festival.

Life and the universe explored at the Festival.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Times Cheltenham Science Festival is an annual celebration of how our world works and how science helps us understand it.  Everything Dinosaur team members were invited down and we were most impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication of the volunteers who made all the visitors feel at home.  This year, four big topics were covered, the universe, life, back to the future and of course dinosaurs.   We enjoyed meeting all the young dinosaur fans (not so young dinosaur fans as well) and we were even roped in to help answer some of the questions from the budding palaeontologists who visited the “Dino zone”.

Visiting the “Dino Zone” at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival

Meet the dinosaurs.

Meet the dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Many of the visitors took the opportunity to take part in the Dino zone science trail.  Boards and posters that had been prominently positioned across the well organised site provided the answers, but as we carried a couple of the quiz forms around we were stopped on a couple of occasions and asked to help out with the answers.  Wearing a shirt displaying the Everything Dinosaur logo, we tend to get stopped quite a bit at these sorts of events, all part of the job of being science communicators as we try to explain how the Cretaceous mass extinction came about or how Pterosaurs were able to take to the skies.

Some of the volunteers who were overseeing the science discovery trail were curious to find out more about dinosaurs themselves and we explained how most palaeontologists now accept that a large number of the Dinosauria, at least the Theropods were feathered.  Our knowledge of the Velociraptorinae came in handy too, with a quick bit of dinosaur claw identification, my how we love looking at manual unguals or indeed, pedal unguals (claws of the hand and claws of the foot respectively).

Edmontosaurus annectens on Display

Duck-billed dinosaur on display.

Duck-billed dinosaur on display.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the Dino zone we came across a beautiful Edmontosaurus annectens exhibit.  We spotted some interesting pathology (note the missing neural spines).  Fortunately, the very clever and talented scientists from the University of Manchester were more than happy to discuss what we had seen.  A special thanks to PhD student Jennifer ‘Indy’ Anné, a specialist in palaeopathology who helped us clear up our queries related to the shape and position of the fourth trochanter in tyrannosaurids.

Our congratulations to the organisers, sponsors, volunteers and to all involved in making the Times Cheltenham Science Festival such a successful event.

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