Take part in an ‘alien encounter’ this weekend
Press release issued: 13 March 2009
Scientists will be joining shoppers this weekend when they stage an ‘alien encounter’ exhibit [Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 March 2009] at Bristol’s Cabot Circus to mark National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW).
Academics from Bristol University’s School of Biological Sciences, will be giving members of the public the chance to take part in the interactive ‘alien’ experiment as part of their exhibit, entitled ‘The Web of Life’, which aims to demonstrate how nature relies on us and we rely on nature.
During the exhibit the scientists will be conducting a live experiment involving a small ‘alien’ species of insect, which is the name given to a plant or animal that is non-native to the UK. People participating will be given a sealed pot containing a leaf that is home to a tiny moth caterpillar (the ‘alien’ insect). Their ‘mission’ is to take the pot home, check it daily and report back what comes out of the leaf. It will either be the moth itself or what looks like a tiny fly, which is a natural pest controller.
Dr Darren Evans from the University’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “It is a great opportunity for people to join hundreds of others taking part in a real live science experiment. We want to show how important tiny and often overlooked creatures are to humans, and these natural pest controllers are a great example.”
Dr Michael Pocock from the School of Biological Sciences, added: “As well as showing how we rely on nature, we will be talking about how nature depends on us and the sorts of things we can do to protect it.”
The free public exhibit, supported by the British Science Association and the University’s Centre for Public Engagement, is part of a series of events taking place across the city to mark NSEW and Bristol’s status as a ‘Science City’. The event is being held at Cabot Circus Shopping Centre from Saturday 14 March, between 9.30 am to 6 pm and on Sunday 15 March from 11 am to 5 pm.
Partners involved in the Bristol events marking NSEW include Bristol Natural History Consortium, Explore-At-Bristol, Environment Agency, Bristol Cultural Development Partnership, Festival of Ideas, the Universities of Bristol, Bath and the West of England, Bloodhound SSC, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Bristol Central Library, Folly Farm, Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, BAWA and local Science Cafes.