Celebrating Science: past, present and future

Given the city’s world-class reputation for scientific discovery and innovation, it’s no surprise that several sculptures on the Cows about Cambridge art trail pay homage to the sciences. 

Cows about Cambridge offers a free opportunity for local people to enjoy their city in a new way – exploring the past, present and future as they encounter 90 beautiful bovine sculptures decorated by regional and national artists, schools and community groups. The stunning and udderly unique designs incorporate a broad range of themes, from science to Japanese art to wellington boots. Running throughout the summer until 4 September, the trail has been created by event producers Wild in Art in collaboration with principal partner Cambridge BID, official travel partner Thameslink and Break – a charity working with children and young people in care. 

A playful caricature of one of Cambridge’s most famous Men of Science is to be found near Trinity College, on a spot that he would have passed daily between 1661 and 1696. Sponsored by Cambridge Independent, Sir Isaac Mooton celebrates the man whose work on gravity, calculus and the laws of motion is still taught in schools and universities across the world. The design features some of the discoveries and inventions of this remarkable mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian and author – including a reflecting telescope, Newton’s cannon, light refraction and the much-debated cat flap! 

Dairy Cure Cow is named after Marie Curie, the only person ever to win Nobel Prizes for two different sciences. Her vibrant design is inspired by the brilliant minds of chemical scientists in Cambridge, whose world-leading research has changed our daily lives – from the discovery of DNA in our bodies to new batteries for our phones. Sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the expressionist patterns on the sculpture show how continuous experimentation leads to important breakthroughs.  

Between 11am and 1pm on Thursday 22 and Friday 23 July, the RSC team will be on hand to explain the exciting chemistry featured in Dairy Curie’s design, and to talk about the glow-in-the-dark and UV paints that add an exciting night-time dimension to the sculpture!  

Dr Neil Clark from the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “Cows About Cambridge has provided cow-ntless opportunities for us to show how connected the city is with the history, present and future of chemistry. Dairy Curie is all about making learning about how chemistry helps our everyday lives fun – so make sure you loo-cowt for her at Christ’s Pieces during STEM week, tag her Instagram with an amoosing selfie and pick up one of our udderly brilliant periodic table posters and wordsearches on Thursday and Friday lunchtime.” 

STEM Cow celebrates the city’s rich scientific heritage and its place as a world-leader in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Sponsored by Riverlane, the sculpture’s striking two-tone design was inspired by parts of the Acorn computer. 

Science communicator and artist Kelly Stanford said: “I wanted to get the general public interested in STEM through the sculpture. Often people can be put off from getting involved, figuring that science is a domain reserved only for the exceptionally gifted, which is just not true. With STEM Cow I have tried to break down that fear by presenting the science and scientific achievements of Cambridge in welcoming form.” 

She explained: “The cow is embellished with portraits of famous scientists, illustrations taken from their published works, general science facts, a timeline of Cambridge university and its discoveries, as well as the signatures of 127 current-day researchers from the city – including Jane Goodall, the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees; Eben Upton of Raspberry Pi; and astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell.” 

The next generation of space scientists will be inspired by a Space School to be held beside Mooon Cow in the Lion Yard Shopping Centre this summer.   

Roger Allen, centre manager of Lion Yard commented, “We are really over the ‘Mooon’ to be able to offer some excellent and free entertainment for the little ones this Summer, that not only animates our amazing Space installation but also champions a really nice alternative activity that sits alongside the Cows About Cambridge Trail.”  

Children aged 4-8 are invited to try space food, build a rocket, and listen to stories about space by joining a Space School class on 11, 18 and 25 August. Visit the shopping centre website to pre-book. In addition, two lost astronauts will be wandering across Lion Yard’s moon surface between 11am and 4pm on Saturday 28 August, providing an amoosing selfie opportunity and the opportunity for shoppers to win an ‘out of this world’ chocolate treat.  

Across town at the Gonville Hotel, Mooto Cow is a robotic AI machine that leads us towards the future. The power source for its metal skeleton and joints is a polluting petrol engine – but an electric motor converts the machine from petrol to electric power, illustrating a brighter, cleaner tomorrow. Double helix strands of DNA, entwined around the metal skeleton, are emblematic of the scientific research carried out in the city. Trail-goers who unlock this sculpture on the Cows about Cambridge app are rewarded with a discount voucher for the Gonville Hotel Spa. 

“These science and technology-themed Cows are a fantastic way for people of all ages to engage with subjects that are fundamental to the city’s DNA,” said Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Wild in Art. “You don’t have to be part of the scientific community in Cambridge to appreciate these colourful conversation-starters. They are inspirational even if you simply fancy a Covid-friendly walk with friends.”  

All 90 Cows will come together for a farewell weekend when the trail is over, before the large sculptures are auctioned off to raise vital funds for Break. 

Cows about Cambridge 2021

Cows about Cambridge 2021