Harpenden ‘Festival of Ideas’ to celebrate science and biotechnology

PUBLISHED: 09:10 06 June 2018

Rothamsted research, who collated the data. Photo: Danny Loo.

Rothamsted research, who collated the data. Photo: Danny Loo.


Rothamsted Research Centre in Harpenden is celebrating its 175th anniversary with a ‘Festival of Ideas’.

Rothamsted research, who collated the data. Photo: Danny Loo.Rothamsted research, who collated the data. Photo: Danny Loo.

The festival, which will be held from Saturday, June 23 to Sunday, June 24, is a weekend of activities, exhibitions and demonstrations showcasing the research centre’s work in science and biotechnology work.

Visitors will be able to ‘speed-date’ experts, ride a tractor around the grounds, meet a Dalek, and explore a range of interactive displays and exhibits. There will be ten zones, with exhibits in each, giving visitors the chance to learn about the science of feeding the world and the future of farming.

The Wheat Zone will teach people about the history of wheat, which goes back half a million years, and why smaller is better when it comes to wheat crops. The Tech Zone will show one of the centre’s agricultural drones in action, and the Grassland Zone will demonstrate why crop rotation is back in fashion. Meanwhile, the Global Zone will give visitors the chance to have a go at feeding the global population.

There will also be an Insect Zone, which will demonstrate why bees and ladybirds matter, and a Gene Zone which will show how plants have been changed to become the food we eat.

A pop up chemistry lab will be set up in the Experiment Zone, visitors will be able to become a ‘cereal killer’ by infecting a crop plant, and in the Soil Zone people can learn about the earthworms shaping the ground beneath their feet.

Finally, the Heritage Zone will have information about the original founders of Rothamsted Research.

The festival, which is free to enter, will run from 11am to 5pm on both days, at Rothamsted Research in West Common.

Rothamsted Research public engagement manager Erin O’Rourke said: “The Festival of Ideas is all about the science of feeding the world, and that’s one of the most important questions facing us all.

“This free, public weekend is a great opportunity to come and ask the questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

“There’s time for relaxation too, with local beer and food, and the chance to treat yourself to a cream tea at Rothamsted Manor.”

To register your interest go to https://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/events/rothamsted-festival-ideas

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