Thursday, 22 December 2016

Manchester Science Festival 2016-Part Seven (The End)

The end for me that is, not quite for the festival. Here we are on the penultimate day of the festival, it has passed far too fast as it does every year. Saturday 29th October and I do my final session as a volunteer. At Portico Library, another new venue I was unaware even existed! I was there from 2pm-5.30pm which meant I could finally go to The Chronarium at last. It really is like mindfulness and now I understand why it was so successful and why you leave feeling relaxed. Anyway I arrived early at Portico Library which is near the central art gallery though you can easily miss it if you don't know it is there. It is a very old library with alot of ancient texts. It has books dating back to 1400s! The event here was called Frankenstein 2.0. It was comprised of 2 speakers followed by a debate with q&a. The first speaker Sharon, a professor of literature and Shelley expert spoke about how much of Shelleys vision had come to pass with advances in nanotechnology and medicine. Then a lovely guy whom I had spoken too earlier mused about what is life. This was humourous and set off the debate in the end. Marcin and I sat at the back and watched. There was also a bar. I am quite taken with this place and would like to be a member. It turns out that you need 2 nominations from people who are already members. There was also an art exhibit in the centre but we managed to find a copy of Shelleys Frankenstein from around 1836 so this went out on display too. Enjoy these photos.

 Portico library ceiling

                                                                                                                The Venue
             First speaker, Sharon.

 Second speaker, a Professor of Chemical Engineering. Sadly, I can't recall his name, lets call him Martin. Here he has a funny equation: Chemistry+physics=life.

Shelleys Frankenstein
circa 1836!

And so another Manchester Science Festival comes to an end for me. It is not over yet, there is still tomorrow. I hope you have enjoyed my festival. With so much to see it is a unique experience for everyone. There are hands on events, conversations, poetry, walks, tours, film screenings etc. This festival is ever expanding with more venues across Greater Manchester every year. Including Salford and Bolton, Quarry bank Mill and more. Do check it out, you'll be glad you did! I'll do it all again next year. Hope to see you then.Sarah xxx

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Manchester Science Festival 2016-Part Six

For my fourth stint as a volunteer at the festival I spent the day at Manchester Craft and Design Centre on Thursday 27th October. This venue was in the Northern Quarter. I was excited as I have never been here before. One thing I love about being a festival volunteer is discovering new places I've never been to. This centre is a series of gift studios (as opposed to shops), where each has an artist in residence using their skills and creative talents to make and sell their wares. This event apply named Scientific Studios. Each day a different craftsperson would give a demo showcasing how their products are made. Whilst also looking at the science behind it such as melting points and materials which make up metals, glass,ceramics, textiles, plastics and ink. Volunteering was from 12pm-6pm. There was myself and just one other volunteer, the lovely Mimmi. She is uber enthusiatic about everything. Today our artist specialised in making beads/jewelry from glass. She had a gas cylinder burner on a table surrounded by everything she needs. She would be demoing to visitors and answering their questions. Another drop in event, the artist, Charlotte gave Mimmi and I a demo first and we were both completely blown away. Her work is awesome!  She explained that she prefers to use italian glass rods and she made a bead for Mimmi and I. I chose a purple rod and Charlotte put silver sparkles in it. There was a video constantly playing which showed how this is normally done. Charlotte likes to do it her own way.  I used my iphone to record her giving us a demo. Mimmi and I took turns in our roles of keeping a tally of visitors and  enticing people to come in whilst doing a quick survey on those leaving the event. This event was flawless. I left glad I had been here and hoping to pop in again in future. Here come the pictures (and video)!

Amazing jeweler Charlotte at her table.

A table of tools and materials for visitors to look at and handle:

Charlotte demonstrating how to make a bead from a glass rod. Mimmi is chosing a rod for her bead.

                                                Video playing in studio also showing     how it is done. Hopefully in future I will find a way to upload the recording I did of Charlotte but for now the file is apparently too big.

Further along was an amazing ceramics studio. Of course there was  a potter and his wheel behind the counter!

My lovely bead!

Manchester Science Festival 2016-Part Five

Wednesday 26th October mean't I spent the Day MOSI for my third time volunteering. 9am-5.30pm. Lots to see here as always. Everything starts at 10am after we'd been briefed. I was in the Power Hall to begin with on the Driverless Cars event. This was by Siemens who are one of the festivals main sponsors. I enjoyed my time chatting to their guys who were from the Princess Road site. They were impressed with the Congleton site which is where Glynn works :) There were Scaletrix style tracks and toy cars. The idea being to see if you can drive the car around the track faster than the on screen driverless cars. The answer is no but this was alot of fun, enjoyed by all. Takes a bit of practice but I just about got it in the end. Kids could also make their own torch. Siemens are proud to be part of The Curiosity Project and had a ready made kit car on display. You can buy the kits to make such a car and compete in races which are a test of endurance, seeing how far you can go rather than how fast.


Later I went into the main building, (Great Western Warehouse), where there was Mega pixel  and Robot Orchestra. There was a fab Royal Society Science Exhibit in the Textile Gallery. I walked around enjoying and observing it and taking pictures. Duncan, another long term volunteer and mathematician was on the Megapixel table. Here you help build a big picture of a famous face by colouring in small transparent plastic sheets of squares (pixels?). The Robot Orchestra was truly stunning and impressive and played about 3 sessions per day. By Lunchtime myself aand other volunteers were standing by the Robot Orchestra just to make sure that nobody got too close, especially as interviewing and  filming was going on. We got to see the final performance and the conductor is a bot in his own case. He was called Graphene :)

Royal Society of Science exhibit.


Robot Orchestra:
 Conductor: Graphene.

I was also meant to be spending the day at MOSI on Friday 28th October again but spent the day in bed with a migraine instead.

Manchester Science Festival 2016-Part Four

I was free on Tuesday 25th October so I decided to go back to Manchester Museum. When I was there yesterday I spied a permanent exhibition, I had never even noticed before. A vast coin collection. I was curious but my partner Glynn has collected coins for many years. I took far too many photo's but they were to show him. This is a collection of British coinage dating back to 200BC! Here are alot of photos for all the numismatists among you. Enjoy!

BC-AD Coins

BC Coins
Elizabethan coins

I've rarely seen a £50 note and I've NEVER seen a £100 one at all!

Too many for me to post so I hope you have enjoyed this sneak preview.

In a room nearby was a small drop in event which was part of the festival. It was called The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Solar System. Here you could talk to the astrochemists etc about there work and ask them questions. You could also hold real pieces of the moon collected by Apollo Astronauts as well as pieces of Mars and  4.5 billion year old meteorites. You could look at them under microscopes too which I did. It was very pretty. I had an interesting chat to an astrochemist who spoke about her work looking for organic content in rocks.


Manchester Science Festival 2016-Part Three

Monday 24th October saw me doing my second stint. Today I was at Manchester Museum for the event entitled Ocular Bionica. This was great fun but seemed like a short shift 10am until 3.30pm. Ocular Bionica refers to the painted stop-frame animation film which tells the story of a patient named Ray who has lost his central vision due to age-related macular degeneration. He becomes the first person with this condition to see with help from new technologies, highlighting advances in the treatent of sight loss and what they mean for humanity. This film was the brainchild of talented artist Lucy Burscough who ran this event whilst her film played on perpetual loop. We basically had a couple of tables with lots of fun stuff for kids to do, which we had to set up first of course. Lucy had brought her very helpful and knowledgeable 8 year old Alfie. I shared this opportunity with fellow long-term volunteer Colin Batchelor. Always nice to see and work with him. We had badge making where kids could chose from some images or draw one of their own. There was also a zoetrope and flip books to demo how film making first started. You can then make your own zoetrope. Again creating your own images. Colin and I had a go ourselves just to make sure we could! This free event was here all week and very busy. The kids obviously seemed to enjoy it. Colin and I did too. We took turns helping the little ones out using the badgemachine. I missed out on helping to clear up at the end as my lunch was later than planned. Colin and I hung around afterwards in the staffroom chatting and drinking coffee. For me, I was killing time but glad of his company. I was waiting to attend an event this evening which didn't start until 6pm.
Colin and I
Colin badgemaking

Me, sporting my eyeball badge, made by meself

Film: Ocular Bionica. 
Lucy, showing us how its done.

In the evening I went to an event simply called 'Mesh'. This was in the Benzie buliding, part of Manchester Metro politan University but I'd never heard of it. I was amused by the name and liked looking for the venue opposite our Aquatics Centre as it was an area of their campus I hadn't explored before. I found it after a while and was so early they were still setting up, so I enjoyed a soft drink and a flapjack in their cafe. Yet another free event this was the premiere of a 3D exhibition of printed fine art sculpture faturing 6 leading artists. These specialits first gave a talk each showing us their own creative journey to get to where they are now in this pioneering field. They were Keith Brown, Bruce Gernand, Annie Cattrell, Jon Isherwood, James Hutchinson and Sumit  Sarkar. I sat at the back clicking away taking far too many photos with my phone. At the end there was even a computer demo which I taped. It seemed abit too long to me but perhaps I was just tired. Here are a selection of photo's

3D in the 1980's

           Then we had a a look around the exhibition which also had a mini 3D printer in action. There was free red or white wine on offer but being pregnant, I had to stick to orange juice. I have more pics of this exhibit. It was a long but nice night. Its good when an event manages to pack alot in.

mini 3D printer

I am grateful for any feedback and comments. Thanks for reading and don't be a stranger xxx