Saturday, 17 March 2012

Science in the Park 2012

"Science in the Park" was the title given to a a cracking event held at Wollaton Hall recently to mark National Science and Engineering Week.

Sponsored by Nottingham City Council, The University on Nottingham and the British Science Association it was a great opportunity to see some what kind of science and technology is under development in the Nottingham area.

Presentations and displays covered topics as diverse as the BloodhoundSSC, fascinating plants and solar spectroscopy.

NSB was able to spend a little time at the event and, although only able to see a fraction of what was on offer, was very impressed, as you can see below (organisers review here) :

NSB had a chat with Dr Chris Terrell-Nield, an entomologist at Nottingham Trent University, who was demonstrating how maggots do not react to red light but will turn away from blue light (see image below, the maggots are leaving a trail because they have been dipped in ink!). Dr Terrell-Nield explained that this was because the range of light frequencies that they could see was shifted towards the blue end of the spectrum compared to humans (indeed, they can see ultra-violet light which is invisible to you and I).

NSB asked him what other work he was involved in and he described forensic science research that he was undertaking with a PhD student to assess the effect of nicotine on maggots.

NSB was a bit confused by this, thinking that you could probably tell a dead person was a smoker by the packet of Woodbines in their top pocket and the yellow fingernails. But it all became clear when Dr Terrell-Nield explained that nicotine is an insecticide and that its presence in a body slowed down the rate of maggot growth. If this was not accounted for, forensic scientists would reach an incorrect conclusion on the date of death (you can read more about this here).

MEV Missile
The East Midlands Centre for Automotive Training has a MEV Missile electric car on display. One of the most interesting cars you have never heard of, the Missile is build by MEV in Mansfield and is one of the latest in a long line of interesting vehicles from that local company. Checkout their Wikipedia entry for a summary of what they have been up to!)

Chemistry Demonstrations
Sons1-3 attended one of the Chemistry Demosntrations by Dr Samantha Tang which must have been good given No3 sons verdict: "That was wicked"

Road Surfaces
One of the demonstations involved showing how road surfaces need different different layers to do different jobs, with the role of bitumen being played, quite winningly, by chocolate spread!

British Sugar were also at the event with a bunch of stuff about how Sugar Beet is processed into sugar. NSB asked them whether UK beet production would still be competitive against African Sugar Cane if the beet wasn't subsidised. The chap on the stand thought that it probably would due to the transport costs of African Cane sugar. NSB isn't so sure, but that is perhaps an agument for another day. .
The British Sugar website has a lot of information on beet production and processing and is worth checking out.

As mentioned before, there was a lot of other stuff on, but the above is all that NSB had time to see.

Don't worry if you missed the event, because something bigger and better is coming your way soon - May Fest on 19th May 2012

A full list of what went on at Science in the Park is shown below. I'm sure that, like me, your gob will be well and truly smacked:

Yard Studio
Bloodhound SSC presentations
Chemistry demonstrations
Sound lecture

Yard Studio
Bugs, Bubbles and Bio-Fuels: How do microscopic bugs breakdown plant matter and produce bublles to make bio-fuel for our buses?
What's inside plants?: Activities showing how we learn about plants.
Solar System Model: Walk around models of the Sun and Inner planets in the garden and find out about the Nottingham Solar System Model.
The Solar Spark: Learn how to make hand batteries, a Newton wheel and a spectroscope; also have a go with solar toys
3D Terresttrial laser scanning: Experience laser scanning.
OPAL: Explore nature and view invertebrates with Open Air Laboratories.
Strawberry DNA Extract DNA.Learn how it is stored in cells.
What's in blood: What is blood made up of?

The Salon
Balloon Car Challenge: Build and test a baloon car.
The need for embryo biopsy: Have a go on a mock biopsy machine
Taste genetics:Find out if you are one of the 25% who can't taste PTC.
Human Body Project: Where are your vital organs?
Insect Gallery: Explore the world of invertebrates.
Geology Gallery: Seismology display with the British Geological Survey.

Willoughby Room
British Science Association: Get involved !
Physics Busking: Tricks with Physics with the IoP
Who can shout the loudest: Get noisy and get it measured.

Yard Gallery
RC model aircraft: Planes and a simulator from the Langar Model Aircraft Club.
British Sugar: The journey from beet to your homes.
Follow that maggot: Create abstract art with maggots
Gizmos Laboratories: Make slim, snow, cloud and even candy floss!
Road Construction: Construct Roads with rice crispies, chocolate, water and the engineers from URS.
South Nottingham College: An electric car and the STEM team.

No comments:

Post a Comment