Anglia Ruskin academics head to Cheltenham

Published: 28 May 2015 at 16:11

Ben Garrod and Professor Farah Mendlesohn to take part in Science Festival

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Anglia Ruskin University academics Ben Garrod and Professor Farah Mendlesohn both have starring roles in next week’s The Times Cheltenham Science Festival.

Ben, an evolutionary biologist and primatologist, has recently joined Anglia Ruskin as a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Life Sciences. 

He studied BSc Animal Behaviour at Anglia Ruskin from 2002-05 and last year presented the six-part BBC4 series Secrets of Bones, which explained how bones have allowed animals to colonise the Earth.

Ben will be running workshops on Tuesday, 2 June called “You Are What You Eat: Owl Pellet Dissection”, along with Jimmi Hill of the International Centre for Birds of Prey. 

The pair will show how owl pellets provide an incredible insight into the everyday lives of these fascinating nocturnal creatures, from what they’ve eaten to where they’ve been.

On Saturday, 6 June (10am) Ben will present “Spectacular Sea Dragons”, a talk focusing on huge reptiles called plesiosaurs, which ruled the sea and sat at the very top of their food chain 200 million years ago.

Ben said:

“Cheltenham Science Festival is a great opportunity to bring science out of the lab and right into the heart of the community.  Where else can you see eminent researchers, time-travelling cars and dinosaurs all under that same roof?”

Farah Mendlesohn, Professor of Literary History at Anglia Ruskin, is taking part in “Sci-Fi and the Future” on Thursday, 4 June (8pm).

From the classics of Jules Verne and HG Wells to modern day shows such as Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who, science fiction has been a social commentary of the time in which it’s written.

Farah joins author Stephen Baxter and computer scientist Seth Bullock to explore the effect of culture on sci-fi, and vice versa, and what today’s science fiction says about us.

For more information about The Times Cheltenham Science Festival, which this year also features talks by Alice Roberts, Brian Cox, Steve Backshall and Robert Winston, please visit

Visit BBC Earth YouTube channel to watch Ben talk about how he constructs his skeletons and to follow Farah and Ben on Twitter, go to @effjayem and @Ben_garrod.