Come and find out about our brilliant brain

  • 20th February 2023

Ever wondered how your brain learns to overcome disgust or thinks when asleep? People of all ages will have the opportunity to find out about the power of our cleverest organ at next month’s Bristol Neuroscience Festival, organised by the University of Bristol.

The FREE three-day science festival, from Thursday 2 to Saturday 4 March 2023, in the Wills Memorial Building, Bristol, will give visitors a unique insight into the wonders and complexities of the human brain.

Over 2,000 primary and secondary school pupils will attend the festival’s first two days, with the public invited to attend on Saturday 4 March. The event is free, and visitors are welcome anytime but booking is advised to guarantee entry on the day.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Bristol Neuroscience and the return of the festival after being cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. There will be lots of brain-themed fun including a brain art exhibition, which will showcase work from schools and community groups across Bristol, and the chance to talk to neuroscience researchers, clinicians and local organisations about all things brain-related.

Festivalgoers will also be able to get stuck into a variety of hands-on exhibitions and activities, including psychology experiments, brainwave games, an evolution of the brain exhibit, and a voyage through the brain in collaboration with Bristol’s Explorer Dome.

There will also be a series of free short talks, with Bristol’s brain-experts talking about their research and major discoveries they have been involved with – covering everything from reaping the rewards of sleep, future treatments for Parkinson’s disease, looking beyond memory symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease and the latest brain tumour research.

Emma Robinson, Professor of Psychopharmacology and one of the festival’s organisers, said:

“This is a wonderful chance for the public to speak to our brain-experts – neuroscience psychologists, physiologists, biochemists, pharmacologists, neurosurgeons and engineers – about their ground-breaking research and discoveries.

“There’s activities for people of all ages and we look forward to welcoming everyone to the fascinating world of neuroscience.”

Dr David Turk, Reader in the School of Psychological Science and one of the festival’s organisers, added:

“We’re excited to be celebrating our 20th anniversary with our visitors. The festival is a great opportunity for local people to find out about some of the world leading research that’s happening on their doorstep.”

The festival will close with a public talk ‘How psychedelic medicine is changing our understanding of psychiatric disorders, their treatments, and the fundamental biology of the brain’ by David Nutt, Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology and director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit in the Division of Brain Sciences at Imperial College, London, and Professor Emma Robinson on Saturday 4 March at 5 pm in the Victoria Rooms, Bristol.

In the lecture, Professor David Nutt will discuss the latest discoveries from clinical studies about how psychedelic drugs affect the brain and the exciting clinical potential these drugs offer. Professor Emma Robinson will focus on studies using psychedelics to explore the fundamental biology of emotional behaviour, what we have learnt about how antidepressants may work from studying these drugs and even what this may mean for the underlying causes of depression.

The lecture, suitable for people aged 16 years and over, is free but tickets must be booked in advance.

The 2023 Bristol Neuroscience Festival public event is on Saturday 4 March 2023 from 10 am to 4 pm, at the University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ, with the public lecture on Saturday evening in the Victoria Rooms, Queen’s Road, Bristol BS8 1SA. 

All events are free, but booking is advised, and tickets are required for the talks.

For more information, email [email protected]