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For one night only: research revealed across Europe

Building a Lego universe, discovering the computer wizardry behind magic tricks and tracking emotions on Twitter are just some of the fun ways Londoners can learn about cutting-edge research at Queen Mary, University of London on Friday 23 September.

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The creation of a Lego Universe is the must-see event of Researchers’ Night
The creation of a Lego Universe is the must-see event of Researchers’ Night

Queen Mary is one of four UK universities to host Researchers’ Night this year. The annual Europe-wide event brings together the public, academics and artists, to celebrate research and show how it can change and improve lives.

“Researchers’ Night is taking place simultaneously in 500 different venues in over 30 countries. It is an ideal opportunity to explore the university, try out state-of-the-art technology, take part in fascinating experiments, and attempt to out-smart academics,” explains Professor Evelyn Welch, Vice-Principal for Research and International Affairs.

Queen Mary will be hosting a range of free demonstrations, shows and lessons at both its Mile End and Whitechapel campuses between 3pm and 8.30pm.

A full schedule of events is available here

Mile End highlights

The creation of a Lego Universe is the must-see event of Researchers’ Night. Some 20,000 Lego blocks will be used to explore the history of the universe.

Particle physicists will be on hand to guide visitors through the process of building a universe, starting with the most basic particles, protons, neutrons, and different types of atoms.

As the night goes on, more elements will be added and planets formed; it will be up to the audience to decide how it all ends.

Visitors will have the chance to try out sports tests taken by Olympic athletes and to help create their own life-size 3D avatars.

The Computer Science Magic Show, presented by Professor Peter McOwan, will demonstrate the science behind some amazing magic tricks and show how technology that can fool and amaze can also help to build software for hospitals.

Other highlights include a novel game that tracks emotions on Twitter, plus workshops on artificial intelligence and body movement. Throughout the day, the sound of drums will carry over the campus as performances and lessons take place in the University’s Library Square.

Refreshments are available from 3pm to 8.30pm at the Ground coffee bar and at the Drapers bar.

Whitechapel highlights

For those who enjoy science, art or just getting creative, Queen Mary’s Whitechapel campus will host a workshop looking at the beauty of the microscopic world.

Meanwhile, the audience at the Big Question Lecture have the chance to quiz cell biology experts about their work. The subject up for discussion is 'War of the Worlds' will we ever win the fight against bacteria?

Tours of the 16-cell embryo-shaped pod, suspended over the laboratories of the Blizard Institute will also be on offer. Once inside, a powerful audiovisual display, projected around the walls of the pod, will introduce cells, the building blocks of life.

Visitors can try their hand at virtual experiments, heal extensive 'virtual' burns, have their cells counted or diagnose cancer cells using high powered microscopes.

Refreshments are available in the Nucleus Cafe from 3 - 8.30pm.

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