Public invited to explore the magical possibilities of science
As part of Festival of the Mind, the University of Sheffield is inviting the people of Sheffield to explore whether new magic-like sciences can solve the world's problems and help people to realise their dreams.
With sciences like nanotechnology and synthetic biology promising developments such as invisibility cloaks, shape-shifting objects that make themselves, and miniature robot surgeons to cure diseases, the public are invited to a debate considering whether science, like the promise of magic, can solve the problems of the modern world, or whether the human race is using the potential of these sciences as an excuse to await magical answers to problems like climate change and sustainable energy.
In an open discussion entitled Is Science Magic?, Professor Tony Ryan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science, and Professor Richard Jones, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, will explore some new science that looks like magic, but is very real, whilst unearthing some unexpected historical connections between the worlds of science and magic along the way.
Professor Tony Ryan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science at the University of Sheffield, said: "When alchemy became chemistry, science grew out of magic, but these conflicting world views have long been associated with each other, providing inspiration in both directions. The magic portrayed in popular books and films is actually much closer than people think - some truly astonishing things are now possible through new sciences. This event is a fantastic opportunity for the people of Sheffield to explore where these magical sciences may lead us."
Professor Richard Jones, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation added: "To many people, what science makes possible now can look pretty magical, so the promise of powerful new technologies like nanotechnology and synthetic biology can seem both exciting and frightening. Tony and I will be exploring, with the help of our audience, not just what science can and can't do, but what it should and should not do."
The debate is being held as part of the University’s Festival of the Mind, a celebration of ideas, culture and collaboration open to all. Is Science Magic? will take place in the festival’s Spiegeltent in Barkers Pool on Wednesday 26 September 2012.
Festival of the Mind
Festival of the Mind is a collaboration between the city and the University of Sheffield which will showcase the University’s cultural strengths by bringing together research staff from the University and the cultural and creative industries in the city, through a series of high impact knowledge exchange partnerships. The Festival of the Mind is for everyone - the general public, academic colleagues and the professional and cultural quarter.
Five themes have been identified for the Festival of the Mind to enable individuals to highlight cross-cutting research which can be linked to outreach and wider collaboration in the city: Magic, Space, Identity, City and Craft.
The Festival will also mark the official launch of Civic University, a celebration of the University’s strong connections in the city and its founding principles to put knowledge to work for the good of others. This practical approach inspires collaboration across subject areas and with individuals, businesses and organisations beyond the University to solve the more pressing problems we face, both close to home and around the world. Events take place between 20–30 September 2012. For further information and the full programme, visit: http://www.shef.ac.uk/festivalofthemind
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