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Language Sciences at the Science Festival

This a selection of public events relating to language sciences, presented as part of the University of Cambridge Science Festival.

For maps and to see the full programme visit

Advance booking is essential on all pre-book events. Bookings open on 3 February 2014. Book at or tel. 01223 766766.

Wednesday 12 March

6pm-8.30pm Brains and building blocks


MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, 15 Chaucer Road, CB2 7EF


Friday 14 March

8pm-10pm Music and science: Cambridge Graduate Orchestra concert

West Road Concert Hall, West Road, CB3 9DP

The Cambridge Graduate Orchestra (CGO) will perform a concert of film music featuring Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean and Lawrence of Arabia. It will be preceded by a talk given by Ian Cross, Professor of Music and Science in the Faculty of Music.

Event: 56, Map: 53, Performance/Talk, All ages, Pre-book visit:

Saturday 15 March

10am – 12.30pm Total immersion: meet a foreign language in the lab!

Titan Teaching Room 1

Like just about every other member of the human species, you're a fully competent user of at least one language, using it every day to reflect privately, interact publicly, write and record, listen and learn. But how will you cope when immersed in an unknown language? Come along and find out what you can make of a completely unusual language, in a series of computerised tasks which will test your creativity and adaptability to the limit! Andrew Caines and Christian Bentz.

Event: 93, Map: 49, Hands on, Drop in, Ages 8+

1pm – 2pm How languages are built

Keynes Hall, King's College, CB2 1ST

Have you ever wondered how and why one language differs from another? Professor Ian Roberts, a world-renowned expert on the syntax of Celtic, Romance and Germanic languages, will describe some of the building blocks of language.
Event: 127, Map: 26, Talk, Ages 12+, Pre book

2pm – 3pm Puzzles and patterns in language


Keynes Hall, King's College, CB2 1ST

Join us for an interactive workshop to take a look at some puzzling data from a variety of languages. These puzzles, and their proposed solutions, may provide interesting insights into the human capacity of language in general. Georg Höhn and members of the ReCoS group
Event: 129, Map: 26, Talk, Ages 12+, Pre book*

2pm-4pm A Language Experience: Project Nim

Hester Adrian Centre, Hawthorn Way, CB4 1AX

This film focuses on Project Nim, a research project that was mounted to determine whether a primate raised in close contact with humans could develop a limited language based on American Sign Language.

Event: 130, Map: online, Film, All ages, Pre book tel: 01223 315191, email: ladanteinfo@gmail. com, or visit: 

Wednesday 19 March

6pm - 7pm Making machines see

Mill Lane Lecture Rooms, Mill Lane, CB2 1RW

Computer vision is the science and technology of making machines that see. Join Professor Roberto Cipolla to find out about the theory, design and implementation of algorithms that can automatically process visual data to recognise objects, track and recover their shape and their spatial layout.
Event: 168, Map: 30, Talk, Ages 12+, Pre book*


Thursday 20 March

7pm-8pm SciBar: Can we live without rhythm?

Arts Picturehouse Bar, St Andrews Street, CB2 3AR

Our bodies are connected with sound in complex ways, both with the sounds we make and with those that others make. Science paints a fascinating picture of the patterns and structures of human social and cultural rhythm, with research from kinesics, anthropology, music psychology and neuroscience. With Dr Satinder P Gill.

Event: 185, Map: 3, Talk, Adults, Pre book email:, visit: