skip to content

Department of Plant Sciences

Plants at the upcoming Science Festival

There's a lot going on that's plant related at the Science Festival this year.  For details of all events, the brochure and a map see University of Cambridge Science Festival.

From 10am–4pm on Saturday 14th March Plant Sciences can be found in the Marquee on the Downing Site outside the Department:

Enlightened plants

Discover the role light plays in the life of plants through hands-on activities and exhibits by researchers from the Department of Plant Sciences, Sainsbury Laboratory, EnAlgae Partnership and NIAB.
Hands-on, All ages

A selection of events that may be of interest:

Women in botany

11am–1pm, Monday 9 March
Botanic Garden, Brookside, CB2 1JE

Christine Bartram of the University of Cambridge herbarium will explore the role of women in 19th Century botany using historic sources from the herbarium and rare books from the Cory Library.
Event: 4, Map: 3, Talk, Adults,

Pre-book tel: 01223 331875
email: or visit:
Donations of £5, in aid of The Cambridge Women's Resources Centre are invited

Trap the light fantastic: plant to power

11am-12.30pm, Tuesday 10 March
Botanic Garden, Brookside, CB2 1JE

Increasing demand for energy means that we need to invent new ways to generate power. Discover the emerging technologies behind Plant to Power, a prototype solar hub at the Botanic Garden 
Event: 17, Map: 3, Talk, Adults,

Pre-book tel: 01223 331875
email: or visit:

The barometer of life

6pm–7pm, Wednesday 11 March
Mill Lane Lecture Rooms, 8 Mill Lane, CB2 1RW
Presented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature

Join the IUCN in a discussion on the Red List of Threatened Species which is a health check for our planet. The Red List categorises the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species and their links to livelihoods. It is a powerful tool to inform and catalyse action for biodiversity conservation and policy change, critical to protecting the natural resources we need to survive.
Event: 35, Map: 30, Talk, Age 15+, Pre-book*

Insect pollinators

2pm–4pm, Friday 13 March
Botanic Garden, Brookside, CB2 1JE

Join experts from the Zoology Museum and get a closer look at some of the insect pollinators that orchids are dependent on. Then visit the orchid display in the Botanic Garden glasshouses.
Event: 52, Map: 3, Exhibition, Talk, Age 12+

Pre-book tel: 01223 331875
email:, £10

See your cells

Saturday 14 March
Cambridge Corn Exchange

Use microscopes to see your own cells and wonder at the hidden beauty of plants and insects with the help of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology’s Microscopes4Schools team. Test your detective skills with our stereomicroscope challenge.
Event: 76

The science of archaeology 

10.30am–4pm, Saturday 14 March
McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

If you thought archaeology was just a load of broken pots and old rubbish, think again! Come and discover bones, stones, and prehistoric plants and see how archaeologists answer questions about our ancient world using science.
Event: 108, Map: 56, Hands-on, All ages,

Look in to the Polar light: family day

10.30am–3.30pm, Saturday 14 March
Scott Polar Research Institute, The Polar Museum, Lensfield Road, CB2 1ER

Brought to you by the British Antarctic Survey and the Polar Museum. How do the Northern Lights work? Why do birds migrate with the light? And how do plants in the ocean store up a greenhouse gas? The Zoology Museum will be popping up at the Polar Museum too. Get your hands on real animal specimens from the Zoology Museum and find out what changes we see in polar region animals as the light changes with the seasons.
Event: 125, Map: 43, Hands-on, All ages

How to grow orchids

6pm–8pm, Tuesday 17 March
Botanic Garden, Brookside, CB2 1JE

If you have an orchid languishing on a windowsill and need advice on how to look after it join Alex Summers, Head of the Botanic Garden’s Glasshouse Range, for this practical session behind the scenes at the Botanic Garden’s Orchid Festival.
Event: 170, Map: 3, Workshop, Adults,

Pre-book tel: 01223 331875,
email: or visit:

Illuminating life at the single cell level

7.30pm–8.30pm, Tuesday 17 March
Auditorium, Sainsbury Laboratory, 47 Bateman Street, CB2 1LR

Advances in microscopy reveal a rich variety in cell behaviour even in genetically identical cells in identical environments. Dr James Locke explores this new research which could affect our understanding of antibiotic resistance, cancer and plant development.
Event: 174, Map: 35, Talk, Age 15+, Pre-book*

Trees: titans of the plant world

10.30am–11.45am, 1pm–2.15pm, 3pm–4.15pm, Saturday 21 March
Botanic Garden, Brookside, CB2 1JE

Trees are not only some of our largest and longest- living neighbours but also some of the most useful. This walk looks at some of the trees in the Botanic Garden, covering their traditional, present day and possible future uses.
Event: 235, Map: 3, Tour, Age 15+, Pre-book*

A trick of the light? How petal surfaces attract pollinators

11am–11.30am, 2pm–2.30pm, Sunday 22 March
Botanic Garden, Brookside, CB2 1JE

Discover how structures on petal surfaces attract pollinators. This short informal talk, led by Professor Beverley Glover, Director of the Botanic Garden, is the first of a new six-part Science on Sundays talks.
Event: 272, Map: 3, Talk, Adults,

Normal admission charges apply

*To pre-book or for more information visit: