If you have ever wondered how to make fireworks from crisp packets then you can find out how at a public show of cutting-edge research at Queen Mary, University of London on Friday 28 September.
TV and radio stars, the Naked Scientists will be headlining with their crisp packet firework experiments, with many other fun free events for Londoners to experience, including the chance to build an amazing LEGO© universe, discover the computer wizardry behind magic tricks and help a talking teapot plot teahouses across London.
Queen Mary is one of three UK venues to host Researchers’ Night in 2012, alongside the Natural History Museum and the University of Birmingham. The annual Europe-wide event brings together the public, academics and artists, to celebrate research and show how it can change and improve lives.
The research extravaganza is the first public event to take place in the recently refurbished People’s Palace. The College has invested £6m to restore and upgrade this historic Grade 2 listed building originally erected in the 1930s.
As part of the night’s celebrations, East Enders will have the chance to take to the stage of the Great Hall of the People’s Palace to showcase their talents in a Grand Variety Show, with MC Tammy WhyNot.
“This is the first time a talent show, harking back to the great East End tradition of musical hall entertainment, has been part of the line-up. So if you’re a local legend, community hall star, a professor with a hidden talent or a stage-struck student with a desire to perform, we want to hear from you,” explains Professor Peter McOwan, Vice-Principal for External Relations.
There will also be an exhibition of old variety show posters from the heyday of the People’s Palace, which has been curated by students and staff in the School of Geography.
Visitors who are fanatical about science or just curious about new discoveries can step inside a giant human cell and get hands on with the interactive lessons in cell biology at Centre of the Cell in Whitechapel. Other must-see Researchers’ Night events hosted at the Whitechapel campus includes The Trauma Show, where medicine meets performance to explore the science behind blood and traumatic injuries.
“Researchers’ Night is taking place simultaneously in 500 different venues in more than 30 countries. It is an ideal opportunity to explore the university, try out state-of-the-art technology and take part in fascinating experiments with our academics,” adds Professor McOwan.
Researchers’ Night also marks the launch of the Queen Mary’s Centre for Public Engagement. This is a new initiative to forge new links with local schools, cultural organisations and community groups and to share research with the public.
Queen Mary will be hosting a range of free demonstrations, shows and lessons at both its Mile End and Whitechapel campuses on Researchers’ Night, between 3pm and 9pm. A full schedule of events is available here.
Mile End highlights
The creation of a Lego Universe is one highlight 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.
The Computer Science Magic Show, created 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.
There will be laughs a plenty when comedy mathematician Matt Parker take to the stage to communicate Maths in an exciting, funny and entertaining way.
Other highlights include the chance to smash glass hearts with artist Sheila Gehlani, of the CLOD Ensemble’s Performing Medicine programme, which provides training to medical students and healthcare practitioners using the performing and visual arts.
For those with in interest in science, the audience at the Big Question Lecture have the chance to quiz cell biology experts about their work. The subject up for discussion is ‘Is trauma science bleeding obvious?’
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 audio-visual 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.
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