Thousands of science fans are preparing to descend on Manchester as the New Scientist Live festival arrives in the city for the first time.

Over 9,000 visitors, 40 speakers and 30 exhibitors are expected at the event at Manchester Central, alongside a global audience of thousands registered online.

The first two days, a Saturday and Sunday, are open to all, and the final day, Monday, is dedicated to schools and home learners where people will get the chance to meet the people who are shaping the world of science and technology.

From the fight against climate change and exploring the deep oceans to growing a supermassive black hole, our relationship with artificial intelligence and the mind’s power to impact health and longevity, New Scientist Live will stimulate, challenge and inspire with some of today’s biggest scientific discoveries and ideas.

It will be the first time New Scientist Live has come to Manchester, a world-class hub of scientific and technological learning, research, innovation and industry.

Adrian Newton, commercial and events director of New Scientist Live, said: “We are bringing to Manchester a mind-blowing festival of ideas and discoveries for anyone curious about science and technology and why it matters. It’s amazing to host this event in Manchester which is, of course, internationally recognised as one of the leading global science and technology hubs.

“The event is aimed at anyone who has an enquiring and inquisitive mind. The unique mix of demonstrations, discussions and interactive experiences will amaze and inspire.

“The scientific and technological heritage of Manchester means it’s the perfect location for the world’s greatest science festival.”

Brain and body, the universe, the earth and technology & engineering are the four themes that will run through stimulating talks, interactive performances, workshops and hands-on activities geared towards scientists of all ages.

Talks and discussions will be led by leading academics, entrepreneurs and experts in their field include Radha Boya (Chair of Nanoscience at University of Manchester), Christopher Jackson (Chair in Sustainable Geoscience at the University of Manchester), Dallas Campbell (TV presenter and author) and Jon Chase who is best known for his science ‘raps’ for NASA, BBC and Chester Zoo.

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Speakers include:

On the Brain and Body stage, Professor Daniel Davis from the University of Manchester will reveal how the latest advances in our understanding of the human body can lead to future technologies such as cognition-improving drugs and bespoke cancer predictions.

Professor Jim Al-Khalili, a science communicator and theoretical physicist at the University of Surrey, will be explaining how we can navigate some of the complexities and unpredictabilities of modern life by thinking more like a scientist. 

Planetary scientist Dr Suzie Imber and science TV presenter Dallas Campbell will be on The Universe stage as they draw on space technologies, missions and stories to provide a comprehensive guide to space travel.

The teachings and mysteries of the solar system’s ice giants – Neptune and Uranus – will be unravelled by Dr Leigh Fletcher from the University of Leicester, who will speak about the planned missions to explore these planets in the near future.

On the Earth stage, archaeologist Professor Penny Spikins from the University of York will explain what the archaeological record reveals about how to survive an ecological catastrophe, and how we can look to millions of years of evolution for clues in preventing one – today, an ever-pressing necessity.

Freelance science writer Michael Marshall will be on hand to unpick old theories of life’s origins and propose a rethink of what we previously thought we knew.

Recent advances in materials engineering, such as one-atom-thin graphene and two-dimensional voids, are the subject of Professor Radha Boya’s (University of Manchester) talk on the Technology and Engineering stage.

Dr Jess Wade, a research fellow at Imperial College, and structural engineer Roma Agrawal will also be delving into the fascinating world of nano and its applications.