Tim Peake and Margaret Atwood among galactic speakers at New Scientist Live this weekend

We’re at a time when science has never been more exciting and – arguably – more terrifying (naming no climate change-denying, nuclear-weapon-wielding President’s names). So thank Hawking for the return of the New Scientist Live event to ExCel London this weekend.

From Thursday to Sunday, more than 120 inspirational speakers – including Tim Peake, Heston Blumenthal, Chris Packham and Margaret Atwood – will enrich the festival with their sci-fi knowledge and potentially world-changing discoveries.

The event will be sectioned into five zones, with interactive exhibits and speakers for each zone.

A MAN’S BEST FRIEND: Wildlife expert Chris Packham is one of the speakers

Cosmos is all things space – speakers will be looking back to how the universe began, and jumping forward to consider where space exploration is going in the future.

Hear from British astronaut Peake as well as Helen Sharman and Al Worden, three astronauts from three eras of space travel.

Earth will bring proceedings slightly closer to home with some disconcerting investigations into what’s happening around us, including the effects of air pollution and the consequences of losing our rainforests.

The Engineering zone will show just how widely the effects of modern engineering can be felt – from a talk on how science is used in the movies, to a lesson on how to keep your Mars Rover alive in space.

Talks in the Human zone will consider whether there’s a cure for ageing, if the current meditation craze holds any scientific weight, and how psychedelic drugs may be a viable treatment for depression.

And in the Technology zone you’ll learn how advances in robotics are making the droids of Star Wars slightly less fictional.

A TALE TO TELL: Margaret Atwood will also be speaking. Credit Liam Sharp

With a line-up which includes Atwood, the author of The Handmaid’s Tale, and Michelin-star chef Blumenthal, there are no limits to the scope of this fest’s exploration.

A four-day adult pass costs £78 or a standard day ticket is £26. Child tickets (aged 5-17) cost £45 and £15, and family and VIP packages are available. Children under 5 enter for free.

The festival is open 10-5pm every day and you can buy your tickets and get more information at

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