Less than a month to go before Royal Society opens doors for annual Summer Science Exhibition

03 June 2024

With less than a month to go before the Royal Society opens its doors for its annual Summer Science Exhibition (2-7 July 2024), excitement is building for this annual celebration of cutting-edge science.

This year’s extravaganza will take place from 2 to 7 July, kicking off with an adults-only Lates event on Tuesday 2 July; followed by a full opening to the general public at 10am on 3 July.

Visitors will not only get the chance to see a huge range of science and talk to hundreds of leading scientists at the top of their game, but also meet the scientists of tomorrow from schools around the UK.

Fourteen flagship exhibits will showcase mind-blowing science spanning topics from invisible neutrinos to measuring our oceans’ temperatures, quantum dark matter detectors to stem cell embryos, ancient Antarctic ice bubbles to sustainable batteries for the future, and much more.

Cosmologist Carlos Frenk, Fellow of the Royal Society and Chair of the Public Engagement Committee, said:

“The range of top science on offer at the 2024 edition of the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition is truly astounding.

“We are expecting more than 10,000 visitors over the course of the week and we have something for all ages and all interests. Science is so important in everything we do in our everyday lives, and that has never been truer than in recent years, with the pandemic and the challenges of climate change. I would urge visitors to come and see some of the truly amazing work being done by scientists across the UK for the benefit of us all. They will not be disappointed.”

Lates event

The over-18s Lates event on the evening of Tuesday 2 July, which will kick-off the Exhibition, will focus on sports science with academics from across the UK exploring a range of themes.

Paralympic medallist Stef Reid will discuss her relentless pursuit of excellence in sports, her fight for inclusivity and innovation in athletics and her thoughts on the future of sport and technology.

Dr Neal Smith, reader in Biomechanics at the University of Chichester, will deliver a hands-on activity about his work on the impact of headers in football.

Researchers from the University of Bath’s CAMERA (Centre for Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications) will give hands-on demonstrations of their sports performance, biomechanics, and human-computer interaction research. Visitors will be able to explore how markerless motion capture research can be used to improve Olympic athletic performance and how it can be used in clinical settings for rehabilitation.

The evening will also include a talk by Professor Alan Wilson FRS, who will explore the limits to athletic performance in humans, horses and in fast-running African mammals and offer advice on the best strategy to outrun a cheetah.

Talks and activities

As well as the main exhibits there will also be dozens of talks, workshops, and hands-on activities throughout the week.

On Wednesday 3 July Dr Alina Patelli, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at Aston University in Birmingham, will deliver a talk on ways urban transportation can be improved with the help of AI in an ethical, safe and considerate way to preserve the planet and improve people’s lives.

Winner of this year’s Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize and renowned scientist and science communicator, Dr Maggie Aderin Pocock MBE, will also give a talk on 3 July, focusing on the challenges and opportunities she has faced in her career.

On Friday 5 July, research scientist Dr Güneş Taylor, from the Francis Crick Institute, will present a scientist’s guide to reimagining human reproduction, deepen her audience’s understanding of how the reproductive system is built during embryonic development and how it matures upon puberty.

The weekend of 6 and 7 July promises even more scintillating science. On Saturday 6 July, Dr Geoffrey Neal, a Fellow from the Royal Academy of Engineering, will talk about how scientists are investigating how to design materials to store and transport liquid hydrogen and prevent it from leaking. On Sunday 7 July, Neil Lawrence, the inaugural DeepMind Professor of Machine Learning at the University of Cambridge, will explore society’s fascination and fears about AI – could machines ever think like humans, or truly understand us?

Visitors will also be able to discover stories from museums across the country with activities and workshops led by some of the Royal Society’s 2022 Places of Science grant awardees. They will get the chance to learn about the amazing work of engineer Marc Brunel and create magic with mirrors by building their own kaleidoscope with the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe. Or perhaps create a chain reaction inspired by Heath Robinson’s humorous drawings over overcomplicated gadgets cobbled together to achieve a simple or silly task, with the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner.

Installations

Throughout the week, visitors will also be able to marvel at Mirror Moon, a unique artwork created by renowned artist Luke Jerram, being exhibited for the first time in London. Made from stainless steel using NASA’s accurate topographical data of the moon’s surface, the public will be able to feel and touch every crater, valley and mountain. Mr Jerram will also be giving a talk about his work during the event.

The British Geological Survey will also be displaying their Commoditree at the entrance of the exhibition. The tree will introduce the public to the critical minerals we rely on every day, looking at how they get from the ground to our homes and their importance in the shift to a green economy.

Finally, the Exhibition will feature a collaborative exhibit between the Royal Society and France’s Académie des Sciences which will showcase scientists’ efforts to understand, measure and model the size and shape of the Earth from the seventeenth century to the modern day. The exhibit includes historical artefacts being brought over from France for the first time, before the exhibition relocates to France later in the year.

For full details of all the activities and events at the Summer Science Exhibition click here.

The Summer Science Exhibition will open with an adults-only Lates event on Tuesday 2 July at 6pm at the Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG. The exhibition will open its doors to the public from 10am on Wednesday 3 July to Sunday 7 July 2024. The event is free and open to the public – no ticket required, but we ask visitors to please register their interest via Eventbrite.Twitter Hashtag: #summerscience