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Monkeying around at the start of the Manchester Science Festival

06 Oct 2011

Professor Brian Cox ushers in this year’s Manchester Science Festival with his brilliant and irreverent BBC Radio 4 show at The University of Manchester next week.

Professor Brian Cox with Robin Ince
Professor Brian Cox with Robin Ince

The rock star scientist, who has done so much to popularise science through his BBC TV programmes Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe, will be returning to his North West roots and teaming up with regular presenter Robin Ince for their popular Infinite Monkey Cage panel show.

The University of Manchester physicist and Ince will host the 90-minute show, loosely based around the huge contributions Manchester and the North West have made to the history of science.

The show, which will be held in the University Place lecture theatre on Friday 14 October, is a key trailblazer activity in the run-up to his year’s Manchester Science Festival, which showcases the very best research, activities and experiments the city has to offer. It will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 4.30pm on Monday 21 November.

The Infinite Monkey Cage is a fast-paced discussion show, based around the wonders of science. The University show features zoologist Professor Matthew Cobb, who lists fruit fly maggots and genetics among his areas of expertise, and particle physicist Professor Jeff Forshaw – who has just written a book with Professor Cox: ‘The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen’.

They will be joined on the panel by popular comedian and impressionist Jon Culshaw.

Manchester Science Festival formally kicks off on October 22nd running through until the 30th, with events at MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry), The University of Manchester, across the city and beyond. There are a number of trailblazer events taking place over the next few weeks.

University of Manchester academics are heavily involved in the Festival, and will be using their expertise and research to inform and entertain visitors. A full list of University activities can be found at

In addition to the Infinite Monkey cage, the University is also hosting trailblazer events in the form of an A-level lecture series of lectures for local science students; and over 600 have signed up to attend the following events.

On Monday 17th – ‘Biomedical Imaging: where Physics and Medicine meet’. This event will explore the use of physics in medicine, in particular the use of medical imaging to look inside the body and diagnose diseases.

This will be followed on Tuesday 18th by a Star Lecture from the President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell. Entitled ‘A stroke of bad luck: understanding brain disease’, the talk will be a fascinating opportunity for attendees to hear one of the world’s foremost neuroscientists talk about her research.

On Thursday 20th, a final trailblazer lecture entitled ‘Using chemistry to discover new medicines and improve lives’ will show the importance of chemistry in the research and development of new drugs

Further events in the Festival will be run over the following couple of weeks, including  ‘Science Spectacular’ – an free, interactive science fair for all the family on Saturday 29th. See for more details

Professor Colin Hughes, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sceinces, said the Infinite Monkey Cage event would be an exciting start to the Festival.

He added: ““This great radio show makes science accessible with a smile.

“Brian Cox, Robin Ince and guests will doubtless deliver illuminating insight by combining scholarly knowledge with irreverent wit.  A ‘must’ for multi-taskers who like to laugh and learn at the same time.”

Tickets for the show were snapped up in a matter of hours, so there are no further tickets available. People with tickets should still ensure they turn up at around 6pm as only the first 600 guests will be admitted.

Notes for editors

Full details of the Science Festival are available at
Professor Cox will not be available for interviews before the event.

For media enquiries please contact:

Daniel Cochlin
Media Relations Officer
The University of Manchester
0161 275 8387