Science takes centre stage in Oxford as the city dives into a festival of knowledge.

The IF Oxford Science and Ideas Festival, which starts tomorrow, will see cutting edge research colliding with the everyday in song, dance and comedy. There will be striking performances, provocative music and entertaining surprises to bewitch you with biology or fuel fascination in science fiction.

Tunes come to the fore at Somerville College Chapel for its Music and the Mind event on Tuesday, 22 October.

Music has the ability to get inside the listener’s soul or capture a nation’s hearts to become an iconic anthem that causes the skin to tingle and the heart to race. The audience are invited to question why this happens with Daniel Anthony, Professor of Experimental Neuropathology. The power of melody over mood, physiology and the mind will be brought to life with live music and experiments.

Experiments are also the topic of a series of popular songs performed for a festival concert by local a cappella group, the Beatroots for Research in Harmony, at Hertford College Chapel, tomorrow (Friday, 18 October).

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Written by the researchers at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics and the Jenner Institute in a modern musical style that draws on beatboxing, vocal percussion and choral singing in harmony, their light-hearted lyrics tell stories of science and offer an insight into life as a biomedical research scientist.

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Over at the Old Fire Station, two exceptional dancers who each performed on BBC TV’s Strictly professionals last year, are performing a new duet set to powerful and evocative music.

Wheelchair user Joel Brown of Candoco Dance Company, and Eve Mutso, former principal dancer of the Scottish Ballet, showcase the amazing capabilities of the human body as they explore their different strengths and vulnerabilities in a beautiful athletic performance called 111 – One Hundred and Eleven.

111 is the imaginary number of vertebrae that Joel and Eve have between them: Eve ‘moves like she has a 100’, while paraplegic Joel’s spine is fused and he jokes he only has 11.

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Interacting with one another across the stage, their bodies exhibit incredible flexibility and yet are confined by physical structures – the skeleton, Joel’s wheelchair and a scaffold set. With a choreographed eloquence and oscillating rhythm, both dancers team energetic physicality with quiet humility and extraordinary control.

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Families can explore the universe inside our bodies with CELL, a family dance performance on Saturday (19 October) at St Michael’s Primary School, Marston, in which giant inflatable cells will ‘come alive’ to music.

Looking for ways to feel grounded in times of trauma, chaos and mass migration, musician Emma Smith from the Oxford Contemporary Music Boom Programme leads an immersive multi-sensory performance called The Relentless Approach of Better Times; at the Oxford Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre in St Ebbes, on Thursday, 24 October).

With double bass, loops and visuals, Her performance is inspired by psychologist Mark Wittman, an expert in the field of ‘felt time’ – the perception of time speeding up as we grow older and the reason why it feels as if our whole lives pass before our eyes in moments of extreme peril.

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Emma uses music to explore this conundrum of how we experience time at different speeds and our sense of time during a state of shock, drawing on her work with children in Palestine, and the connection between time and consciousness.

IF... you want a laugh!

Once the ingredient of time is added to the trauma of break-ups it allows first for closure then humorous reflection, so award-winning comedian, author and accidental relationship guru Rosie Wilby is bringing her comedy chat show, The Break Up monologues, to IF Oxford at The Bullingdon (October 23).

In a line-up put together specifically for the festival she converses with Oxford Brookes historian Sally Holloway, science communicator Charvy Narain and Oxford University evolutionary anthropologist and relationship scientist Dr Anna Machin – an expert on the neuroscience of love and the interplay of biology and culture in romance.

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Together they unpick the science of heartbreak, divorce and the practice of ‘ghosting’ (breaking off a relationship by simply stopping all communication), and offer a frank and funny insight into the modern world that many of us navigate.

Pushing at the boundaries of the space-time continuum, comedian Brian Malow is bringing his light-hearted stand-up show Just Add Gravity! to the Wig and Pen pub in George Street (October 19). Malow tells jokes and anecdotes that have the audience both chuckling and pondering, and his pertinent observations pairs his life and studies of human behaviour with science from the grass we walk upon to the Big Bang.

He asks whether humans evolved to become bipedal because of their nagging parents, whether his own wife dresses in bright colours to trick predators that she’s poisonous, when electrical sockets are like watering holes, what is the similarity between an aeroplane in the middle of the sky and the Serengeti, and what dinosaurs have to do with Christmas.

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With absurdity, geekiness and a rational irreverence, Malow puts his sunny science humour in the spotlight – after all, sunshine is the light and energy that encompasses and fuels everything, he might explain – to get the audience smiling. “And by the end of the hour,’ he promises, “you’ll have a new appreciation for gravity. You’ll never look at birds the same way again.”

There’s more comedy from across the pond as Evil Cyborg Sea Monsters join the fray bringing sci-fi to Oxford Town Hall (October 20). Comics and comedy collide in a multimedia slide and stand-up show by comedian-cartoonist hybrid, Michael Capozzola. It’s a pop culture extravaganza of superheroes and monsters, a celebration of super-cool geek culture from James Bond to Spiderman. There’s Iron Man and the Iron Throne, Star Trek and time-travel.

Festival goers can also enjoy out of this world entertainment with solar system stand-up, Jurassic jokes and rip-roaring robots at the Out of This World Science Cabaret (Wig and Pen, October 22) with a medley of comedy, music and more from characters including BBC astronomer Chris Lintott and Robot Wars’ Lucy Rogers.

Have fun - and keep learning.