Alison J. Sinclair's blog posts for February 2015

Taking Science To The Public: thank you to the Brighton Science Festival

Feb

25

Taking Science To The Public: thank you to the Brighton Science Festival

Wow – The Brighton Science Festival does it again! Another fantastic event for families at the Brighton Science Festival.  The weekend “Bright Sparks event” of hands on activities for families (14th and 15th February 2015) was again very popular. It was non-stop hectic fun - for the presenters and the visitors.

The visitors (age range about 4 to 18 and their families and friends) talked with our team about DNA as they decorated their lab coats, then they extracted DNA from strawberries and then decoded some information in DNA with the help of a giant jigsaw and some balloons. Thanks to Biochemical Society for funding the "DNA detectives" this year.

The presenters were outstanding – the PhD students, post-doctoral fellows and members of faculty proved that science was their first love by spending St. Valentine’s Day with the 500 or the so visitors to our “DNA detectives” room.  As ever we learned as much as we taught as we re-focused our minds on the basic principles that underlie our research.

By the end of the day, the feedback board was full of colorful notes – they liked the creativity, were amazed to extract “real DNA” and had fun!

@ASLAB

Professor Alison Sinclair's profile page

Sinclair Lab website

Taking Science to the public - last minute planning

Feb

12

Preparing public engagement for the Brighton Science Festival Bright Sparks event

T minus 2 days.

Time to check that everything is in place.

 Last minute list:

1. Purchase of strawberries for the DNA extraction. This was a concern with the juxtaposition of the Bright Sparks Event and Valentine’s day – but there were plenty left in the shop.

 2. Packaging of the items for lab coat decoration, DNA extraction, and translating DNA.  The smart storage crates have not arrived! On to plan B, we have found some smaller recycled cardboard boxes to replace them.

3. Checking the researchers on the volunteer list. One had to drop out but another volunteered so we have enough researchers on board to run for the whole day.

4. Preparing for the run-through tomorrow. One person identified to lead each activity for the practice. We will run the events tomorrow with the other volunteers acting as the participants so that everyone knows what to expect the next day when 500 visitors arrive!

 5. Despite the clipboards and planning lists in hand, we know it will not be smooth sailing on the day so have a “don’t panic -  look in here” box of sellotape, string, blue tack, scissors and wet wipes for emergency repairs.

 

@ASLAB

Professor Alison Sinclair's profile page

Sinclair Lab website