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Out and about at Manchester Science Festival #msf13

2 Nov
Ian Russell exploding custard.  Picture taken by Jo Keogh (@Jo_Keogh)

Ian Russell exploding custard.
Picture taken by Jo Keogh (@Jo_Keogh)

Manchester Science Festival is in full swing and I’ve been filling my evenings with some really interesting and fun events. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

21st centaury coffee house: Penny University

This event was in MOSI cafe and involved having a nice sit, having a nice coffee and having a nice listen to some interesting talks. We heard about the science and history of coffee, mummification in the bronze age, ozone and smog (with the aid of oranges), research into cures for cystic fibrosis and the importance of wonder and phenomena in science communication (hence the exploding custard). It was a really interesting event, my only regret is I didn’t buy cake.

Will we ever read minds?

After the 21st century coffee house I popped upstairs in MOSI and went to the lecture from Medical Physisist Dr Heather Williams and Neuroscientist Dr Rebecca Elliott. It was a panel format with questions being asked by Dr Mark Lewney. The answer to the question in the lecture title is: unlikely. It was very interesting to hear from Rebecca and Heather about how the brain works and the different methods used to image and analyse it. A good portion of the lecture was opened up for questions from the floor and their were some great discussions. I learned that the brain can rewire after a brain injury or stroke so that different parts of the brain do tasks they are not usually responsible for. Neuroscience is definitely an exciting area of research – there is so much we still don’t know about how our own brains work.

There was another event on Tuesday I really wanted to go to but unfortunately it clashed with the two above. The Barometer Podcast live looked amazing so I’m really looking forward to it being uploaded.

Girl Geek Dinner

The lovely Heather, aka @alrightPET, speaking about her experiences in science. Photo taken by Alan O'Donohoe (@teknoteacher)

The lovely Heather, aka @alrightPET, speaking about her experiences in science.
Photo taken by Alan O’Donohoe (@teknoteacher)

On Wednesday the Girl Geek Dinner took place in Pizza Hut and it was a fab turnout. There was a really good mix of scientists, technologists and school students. A few of us scientists gave short talks followed by questions and then we all had pizza, a chat and cake. I really enjoyed listening to the other talks which included hearing about the career paths of mathematicians, physicists, web developers, archaeologists, and many more. It was a lovely atmosphere and I really nice way to spend a Wednesday evening,

Bright club

Testing for conciousness: doesn't always incvolve squeezing Tuheen's left breast.

Testing for conciousness: doesn’t always incvolve squeezing Tuheen’s left breast – his words not mine.

Bright Club was amazing! Bright club is always amazing, but this one was particularly amazing. The compare, Sam Gore was hilarious and all the researchers were very funny and, of course, informative. Music (mixed with comedy) was provided by the brilliant Eleanor Morton. Here song about being socially awkward is definitely worth a listen.

Matt explaining the more extreme media views of nuclear power

Matt explaining the more extreme media views of nuclear power

Today I’m heading over to MOSI with ScienceGrrl to chat to people – come say hi if you’re around! I’m also really excited to see the play X and Y on Sunday. Should be a really good week end – I’ll keep you posted!


8 Oct

I’m really interested in communicating science and getting involved in public engagement activities. I’ve set up a few stands at science fairs and planned activities for schools and I thought it would be good to have a place to upload these ideas so other people can use them as well.

I’m a PhD student at the University of  researching how things are transported in cells, so I have a soft spot for anything related to cell biology, molecular biology and biochemistry. But to be honest most things related to science I find pretty interesting – I’m a bit of a geek like that 🙂

So I’m going to start posting about activities I’ve done that worked, things I’ve found on line that look good and anything I think is generally quite interesting….