Soapbox Science is set to transform Bristol’s amphitheatre into a site of scientific debate when leading female scientists engage passers-by in cutting edge research.

The pioneering event aims to challenge traditional science stereotypes and to take science out of institutions and directly to the public.

Soapbox Science Bristol will feature 12 female scientists from across the South West, who will ditch their power points and lecture halls in favour of down to earth settings to bring the latest scientific discoveries to a wider audience.

Using robots to understand how people think and behave will be the research topic discussed by Dr Joanna Bryson from our Department of Computer Science.

Dr Bryson explained why she wanted to get involved in the event: “It seems like an awesome thing to do. I always wanted to be one of those crazy people on a soapbox, and I love arguing and educating about science.”

Dr Mirella di Lorenzo from our Department of Chemical Engineering will explain how bacteria can make electricity from waste which powers your smart phone.

She said: “I want to inspire young people to explain that the future is in our hands: we have the responsibility and the opportunity to create a more sustainable world.”

The event will follow the format of London’s historic arena for public debate - Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner. Speakers stand on custom-made soapboxes, arranged in a semi-circle facing slightly inwards to create space for a crowd to gather. The public will be invited to learn, question and interact with the researchers during one-hour sessions, which showcase four to five speakers per session.

Dr Seirian Sumner, who helped organise the event, said: “There’s more to Soapbox than just a science outreach event. Soapbox champions the fabulous female scientists we have in the UK, providing accessible role models for the next generation of female scientists, and promoting the visibility of women in science to the general audience.”

Soapbox Science is supported by the Zoological Society London, the University of Bristol, and the University of Swansea. It is sponsored by L'Oreal.

Soapbox Science Bristol takes place from 1pm – 4pm on Saturday 14 June at the Amphitheatre on the Harbourside. More information can be found at the Bristol event page and on the Soapbox Science website. You can follow Soapbox Science via the Twitter handle @soapboxscience.