14 June 2010

Back at #cheltscifest

So, we were back at Cheltenham Science Festival again this year to edit the festival newsletter, the Litmus Paper. And not just back; back in style. We were given the full run of the press room this year, which had, to our amazement, a KETTLE, POT PLANTS and - wait for it - WINDOWS. Wonders will never cease.

Anyway, I was glad to see that the hashtag #cheltscifest for Cheltenham Science Festival had really taken off this year, resulting in hundreds of tweets for us to choose from for our Festival Feed section - instead of us having to use boring comments about the weather and train delays. All the tweets, and the rest of the Litmus, by the way, can be found in the Litmus archives for 2010.

It being the first week of the World Cup, we managed to crowbar in some football science, under the yawnworthy title of You Must Be Kicking (see right). Unfortunately, as we all know, England's competition campaign was more akin to the original title of the column i.e. You Must Be Kidding.

My highlight of the week - okay, the ONLY thing I got to go and see at all what with the kerfuffle of editing a daily paper - was Rebecca Skloot in Saturday afternoon's science writing talk. I've already ordered her book on Amazon. It's about Henrietta Lacks, the lady whose cells were used to create the immortal HeLa cell line - HeLa has made incredibly important contributions to science but never earned Henrietta, who died of cervical cancer, a penny.

And after all the anticipation of the arrival of guest director Brian Cox (Brian Cox OBE - announced on the day of his visit), the man couldn't be persuaded to speak to "anyone" in the media. Especially not the likes of us. (Although I notice he managed to find a couple of minutes for the Times...)

Finally, and most importantly, it was my birthday, so we consumed an extraordinary amount of cake, including this one (below). Thanks to my friend Cielle, who baked it and stuck all the Smarties on it.
Oooh, and a quick thanks to all the volunteers, who were brilliant this year (they did, by the way, write the whole damn thing) and never missed a deadline.