Organised by Cambridge Biologists, sponsored by AstraZeneca and run in partnership with the Cambridge Festival, BBD has expanded, in the decade since it started, to become one of the largest free-to-attend festivals in the UK that has a sole focus on the biological sciences. It is the brainchild of Ian Harvey, biology teacher and former Head of Department at Hills Road Sixth Form College. Big Biology Day has annually welcomed over 2000 visitors of all ages through the doors for a full day of hands-on biology activities, providing entertainment alongside education and careers advice since 2012. The event focuses on getting close-up and personal with biology and meeting scientists from a wide range of backgrounds.
A special feature this year is a talk by Georgie Bull, a Hills Road alumnus, entitled “Spurdog: Underdog of our oceans?” Georgie recently completed her BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology & Coastal Ecology at the University of Plymouth and is determined to bring the underappreciated diversity of UK marine life to the public eye.
Ian Harvey said “It’s so great to have BBD back. We have such a fantastic biology community in Cambridge and beyond, we’re all friends and we love working together to share our enthusiasm and knowledge with our visitors”.
“Organising BBD is a big job but when it all comes together on the day and I see the visitors and exhibitors having so much fun together, I know it was all worthwhile”
Ian added “There is genuinely something for all ages at BBD and often something that several generations of the same family can enjoy together.”
“We promote biology careers alongside the hands-on activities and our visitors can talk to a wide range of experts working in the varied fields of biology and medicine. Maybe coming to BBD will kick-start an enthusiasm in young minds to study biology and eventually lead to a career in the biological or medical sciences. Who knows, maybe a 10-year-old visiting BBD may one day win a Nobel Prize!”
Exhibitors at this year's event include: Sainsbury Laboratory/Botanical Garden, Astra Zeneca, MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, Wellcome Connecting Science, British Society for Immunology, British Antarctic Survey, Gatsby Plant Science, Cambridge University Dept of Pharmacology, Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour, East Anglian Air Ambulance, Cambridge University Plant Metabolism Laboratory, Cambridge Natural History Society, Kingfishers Bridge Nature Reserve, Cambridge Natural History Society, Royal Papworth Hospital, MRC Epidemiology Unit, Addenbrooke’s Blood Sciences Department (Haematology and Biochemistry Labs)
a big thanks to you both and all your helpers and supporters. You put on an amazing day of learning, adventure and excitement for our children and us adults. We will be back. The 4 hour drive is well worth it. It was utterly fabulous- thank you for all your hard work. My 7-year-old absolutely loved it and even my moody 13-year-old had to admit is was ‘alright’!!! Great day- thank you again.BBD Visitor
All my kids loved it, yet another brilliant Big Biology Day, well done and thank you! A huge THANK YOU for all the effort you put in. We always spend at least three hours learning and having fun, and it always feels as if we've not seen half of what's on offer.BBD Visitor