Discover — from killer plants to ancient civilizations and a giant ice penguin
Press release issued: 1 March 2010
Make music from a giant penguin ice sculpture, explore the world of carnivorous plants and ancient civilizations, and discover how memories are formed and volcanic eruptions happen. You will find all of this and more when Bristol University moves into The Mall Bristol, Broadmead, and Cabot Circus this month [11 to 13 March] for Discover, the University’s biennial public celebration of research.
With around 20 interactive exhibits involving over 100 researchers, this free event will present some of the University’s most exciting work, giving the public a chance to explore aspects of art, science, medicine and engineering, and meet staff and students first hand.
Visitors to the event will be able to find out about a range of different topics such as: how memories help us learn; how virtual world Second Life can be used to investigate how people lived in Pompeii; how particle collisions in the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva provide fundamental information about the Universe; how animals use patterns and colours to camouflage themselves; how DNA is used to investigate crime scenes; how bats use echolocation to find their way; how molecules preserved in ancient rocks and artefacts can reveal how people lived in prehistoric times; how musicians are able to make music by capturing sounds from the natural world; and how engineers are developing sonic tweezers (follow their progress on twitter).
In addition to the exhibition, there will also be free public talks and demonstrations taking place at various locations in Bristol. These include an evening of Science cocktails at Harvey Nichols [16 March] and a twilight talk entitled Lovesickness in Renaissance literature and culture [30 March], exploring the complex ways in which lovesickness was interpreted by writers in plays and poetry from the Renaissance period (advance booking is required for both events).
Maggie Leggett, Head of the University’s Centre for Public Engagement, said: “Discover offers members of the public and schoolchildren a fantastic opportunity to get involved with research that is happening on their doorstep. The hands-on exhibits are fun and interesting for children and adults alike, and in some cases they are part of real experiments. It’s also great for our staff and students to talk to local people and find out what they think about research that is happening in their city.”
Discover forms part of the University’s contribution to National Science and Engineering Week, an annual event arranged by the British Science Association and the Economic and Social Research Council’s Festival of Social Science. Both events work to increase public engagement with academic endeavour.
The event has been organised by the University of Bristol’s Centre for Public Engagement, with funding from Research Councils UK [RCUK], the Institute of Physics [IOP], Quartet Community Foundation, and support from The Mall Bristol and Cabot Circus, Harvey Nichols and Bristol’s City Museum and Art Gallery.
Kerry Leslie, Head of RCUK Public Engagement Team, said: “Research Councils UK is delighted to have contributed to Discover. We are committed to promoting public engagement, and events like these, involving many academics and enabling thousands of people to engage with cutting-edge research, provide fantastic opportunities for our funded researchers to talk to members of their local community about the work they do in a friendly, fun environment.”