Cancer Research UK’s Nobel Laureate, Sir Paul Nurse, will today meet his match – a larger than life robot with the face and voice of the scientist.

The robot, also a SIR – short for science information robot – is about to go on a grand tour of the UK’s science museums to tell children and adults all about cancer, how it is caused, how it can be treated and how it can be prevented.

Joining Sir Paul will be a class of 11 year olds from Seven Sisters Primary School in North London. They will be the first people to see SIR in action as part of the charity’s National Science Week activities.

SIR has come back from the future to tell young people about cancer and cancer research, to help them lead healthier lives and to encourage them to follow in Sir Paul’s footsteps.

The robot will go first to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester then to other venues including Think Tank in Birmingham and the Centre for Life in Newcastle.

The robot features state of the art technology and is made up of a 42 inch plasma screen, a standard TV screen and two DVD players, and is controlled by a master computer.

National Science Week is co-ordinated by The British Association and aims to celebrate science and its importance to our lives. It gives people from everywhere in the UK the chance to participate in science activities and to engage in science discussions in their local area.

The government has also designated this year the Year of Science. To celebrate this, the charity’s robot will tour the UK, visiting major cities and appearing at The BA’s Festival of Science held in September at the University of Leicester.

Sir Paul Nurse, joint Director General of Cancer Research UK says: “It’s vital that we talk to young people and this robot is a fun way to do that. We hope that we can encourage people to take an interest in science and, who knows, maybe we can inspire a future Nobel prize winner.”

He adds: “This robot is a new way for us take some of the fear away from cancer. Most of us have been touched by the disease in one way or another, including the young people who will meet our robot.

“I hope that people who see the robot will walk away with a better understanding of cancer and how they can help avoid it.”

Cancer Research UK was formed earlier this year by a merger between The Cancer Research Campaign and Imperial Cancer Research Fund. The new initiative fulfils two of the charities new objectives – to be the authoritative source of information on cancer and to encourage more people to take up careers in cancer research.



The robot was at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester from March13 until 20, 2002, Think Tank in Birmingham from March 25 until April 12, 2002 and the Centre for Life in Newcastle from April 13 until April 20, 2002.

Other venues included Bristol, Edinburgh, Wrexham, Glasgow, Belfast, Halifax and London.


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