Maria Toledo-Rodriguez Talks Fake News Ahead of Pint of Science Festival 2017

12 May 17 words: Gav Squires

Last year, the international festival Pint of Science came to Nottingham for the first time. This year, it's coming back even bigger and better, with an additional emphasis on combining art and science. We sat down with one of the speakers, Maria Toledo-Rodriguez, to get the lowdown.

2016 saw 36 talks held in four venues over three nights. This year, returning venues Rough Trade and Canalhouse are joined by Purecraft, Bunkers Hill and Nottingham Contemporary for a total of 45 talks and three panel discussions, beginning on Monday 15 May and culminating in The Grand Exhibition of science and art on Thursday 18 May. Oo-er.

Maria Toledo-Rodriguez, an assistant professor at the University of Nottingham, is talking about how exercise can improve your mood, your memory and keep your brain sharp in old age, on Tuesday 16 May at Canalhouse. We should all be aiming to do thirty minutes of aerobic exercise, five times a week. Maria advises, “Make exercise part of your weekly routine and try different exercises until you find the one that works for you.” Be careful though as, “studies have shown that too much exercise is worse for your brain than no exercise at all.”

If you can, “exercise before the work day, as it makes you more resilient to daily stresses and increases your concentration. Do not lose the benefits of exercise by not sleeping enough – you need to let the good chemicals released by exercise do their work during your ‘off time’,” recommends Maria.

Maria is looking forward to the opportunity to share her work with the general public, especially scientifically proven facts on how to improve well-being. “To benefit from exercise, you don’t need to spend a penny and it only has positive side effects. Not every pill your doctor prescribes you will make you fit and slim.” She adds: “I believe today it’s more crucial than ever for the public to learn about scientifically proven truths as we live in a word inundated with fake-news and ‘pseudo-truths’.”

Maria is most looking forward to Hey Siri, Google “Where’s my personal data?” on Wednesday 17 May, at Purecraft. There will also be opportunities to learn about plant fossils, addiction, making antibiotics using scorpion venom, sustainable chemistry, black hole collisions and even lonely snails looking for love.

New this year are three panels being held at Nottingham Contemporary featuring both artists and scientists, which will discuss the similarities and feature collaborations between the two field. The grand finale, The Grand Exhibition, will be a celebration of everything art and science. Showcasing the fabulous Creative Reactions artwork, there’ll be exciting performances, talks and even a few extra surprises.

Pint of Science runs from Monday 15 - Thursday 18 May.

Pint of Science Festival website

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