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Enter the Secret World of Teeth at Centre of the Cell

A Europe-wide project to create a magical sculpture out of milk teeth promises smiles all round when it arrives at Queen Mary, University of London’s science education centre, Centre of the Cell, this summer.

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Artist Gina Czarnecki has created a huge translucent ‘fairy palace’ from clear crystal-resin. The art-science piece will grow over time to resemble a coral reef or stalagmite-like structure as thousands of milk teeth, donated by children across the continent, are added. Milk teeth are the first set of teeth that are lost naturally, usually around the age of seven.

Alongside ‘Palaces’, Centre of the Cell will run a special summer programme from 13 to 31 August of pod shows and a brand new workshop called The Secret World of Teeth. The family workshop explores why we have so many different teeth, why they sometimes fall out and why scientists are so interested in milk teeth.

Centre of the Cell – part of the Blizard Building at QM’s Whitechapel campus – will unveil ‘Palaces’ at a launch event on 23 August featuring a talk by Czarnecki. The structure, which was previously held at London’s Science Museum, will be on display at the site throughout the summer. As it takes shape, ‘Palaces’ will be exhibited at other leading arts and science venues in the UK, before moving on to Europe.

Gina Czarnecki has created ‘Palaces’ in collaboration with Professor Sara Rankin of Imperial College London. She explains the science behind the art: “Teeth are one of the parts of the body we lose naturally, but their loss is a sign of growth and development rather than decay. Different cultures have different traditions about where these teeth go, and what they are used for. Palaces highlights the regenerative potential of adult stem cells and aims to question whether we should we recycle ourselves. If so, how can milk teeth be used as a source of stem cells that can help the body to regenerate?”

Elizabeth Roche, Learning and Outreach Manager at Centre of the Cell adds: “Gina has put out a call for our young visitors to donate a single milk tooth to the project. Just make sure you still leave a note for the tooth fairy under the pillow, in case they wonder why teeth are disappearing all over London!”

There will be an 11:30am and 2:30pm Secret World of Teeth session each day, on Tuesdays (14, 21 and 28 August), Thursdays (16, 30 August) and Fridays (17, 24 and 31 August). Each session consists of a pod show and workshop, lasting approximately 2.5 hours in total. Places are free and must be booked via the website or by calling 02078822566.

Sessions will run at 10:00am and 2:00pm at the Palace launch event on August 23 and include a pod show, workshop and one hour talk by Gina Czarnecki.

For more details, bookings, and information on donating a tooth visit or telephone 020 7882 2562

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