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2020 Pint Of Science Festival Will Be Virtual Because Of COVID-19

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here's a chance to study astrophysics while drinking a cold beer. That's pretty much how it works at Pint of Science Festival, which typically takes place in pubs and cafes in the U.K. and around the world. Praveen Paul is one of the co-founders.

PRAVEEN PAUL: Well, we usually held a festival which takes place in bars, cafes and pubs and public spaces, where people can go and hear about the latest research in science and chat with the scientists.

NOEL KING, HOST:

The goal is for scientists and the public to meet face to face and talk about science in a more casual setting that's not so intimidating. But in 2020, face-to-face isn't happening.

DE-SHAINE MURRAY: Pint of Science will now be online this year. So we won't be in restaurants, cafes, pubs or any public place, for that matter. But we will be online.

KING: That's Ph.D. student De-Shaine Murray. He's hosting a panel discussion during the festival between Black scientists. It's called Skin, Society, Science. And he hopes that having the festival online will get even wider audience participation.

MURRAY: We are scientists. We serve the public. A lot of the science we do will actually end up affecting the public. So it's important that they know about the cool science or the great things that we do.

KING: There are talks on a wide range of topics, including artificial intelligence. There's a discussion called Paleontology Rocks! (and other Dad Jokes from the Field).

INSKEEP: I love my dad jokes.

KING: (Laughter).

INSKEEP: Praveen Paul says some of the topics might seem daunting at first.

PAUL: Things like, you know, why do we exist? How big is the universe? That might get easier with (laughter) having a drink to accompany it.

INSKEEP: OK. So the festival runs through Friday. And scientists from more than 15 countries are planning to log in for a virtual Pint of Science.

(SOUNDBITE OF DIAMANS' "PERCEPTION") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.