Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Day 6 Manchester Science Festival 2010

Thursday 28th October. I was at the Manchester Museum, Oxford Road again today, the whole day this time. My contact is the same lady I met last year and I remember her because of her funny name. She, however, didn’t seem to remember me. This years theme at the museum is Chinese Technology. I enjoyed working with 2 other Ambassadors this time, the very quiet, young asian named Ashwin and Becky who likes to get stuck into things. We were told there would be a talk about the history of the museum at 12,30pm and one of us would need to evaluate that. I volunteered though felt a bit mean because I think one of the others should have done it as I had that experience already on Tuesday. However I got picked to do this, probably because I know what to do. Anyway we helped to set up our event which was about silk worms and given a crash course. So we were silk worm experts for the day. There were arts and crafts for the kids to do. They could either make a silk moth or a silk gown. We helped cut out the shapes using a template so that there were plenty of each. Didn’t want to disappoint any of the kids. Two of us, one who was always me lol sat at a small desk near the entrance. We had pictures of the life cycle of the silk moth to talk to the kids about as well as a small glass case containing all the stages of a silk moth from eggs to moth. I learned a few things myself, and the kids seemed genuinely impressed. It was very interesting. The worms can only grow to a maximum of 3mm and their entire diet consists of just one leaf! Their cocoon is composed of the silk and once they have emerged as a moth the cocoon is submerged into water and drawn out as a thread. It is awesome. We have samples of different silk threads to show people too, light fabrics and heavy ones. So at 12.30pm I was lead upstairs to the lecture theatre and introduced to the speaker. To my surprise she was accompanied by a quirky guy I remembered from last year. His very entertaining talk in my favourite pub last year was one of the high spots of the festival for me. I told him this, he thanked my and asked if I wouldn’t mind giving out flyers because he was doing it again tomorrow night. I knew this and had every intention of seeing the talk again. This lunchtime talk was very informative and lasted an hour. It had the odd title of ‘Arguments and umbrella stands: Victorian Manchester’s natural history collections’. It was an interesting history lesson elucidating the origins of today’s collections within this museum. At the end of the talk a mysterious object which had been referred to as ‘the artefact’ was brought into for us all to see. I forget its exact name but it was something like ‘stratological scale’. It was discussed and judging by the questions which were asked, some audience members knew what they were taking about.
Totally a new area for me though this was.

 I was sat at the back for the talk itself as I had an evaluation for to fill in for the festival. Chatting to the speaker, and James afterwards I told them I would seem them tomorrow night at his talk. Apparently the talk I’m going to this evening is by a friend of theirs so I shall see them tonight. Back to being a silk moth expert for s while. I had a late lunch and went for a wander. I sauntered along the area behind the Manchester Museum and really enjoyed it as, I’d never been here before, despite living in Manchester for 11 years! The museum is always super busy during the festival but I had a great day. During the afternoon session, I had my name written in Chinese! 

This evening’s talk at The Briton’s Protection was by Manchester University’s Dr Carsten Timmerman. He is a historian of medicine and his talk was entitled: ‘Cigarettes and smoking bans-The science and the history’. For 3 years now smoking has been banned from all enclosed public places in England. This talk deals with 6 decades of concern over the dangers associated with cigarette smoke. He talked about the politics and the epidemiology of it. Dr Richard Doll discovered the link between smoking and cancer. It was many many years before people believed that there actually is such a link.We were invited for a few drinks by todays museum speaker and James. Glynn had to work the following day so we said we would gladly have a drink with them tomorrow night. Another great day at the festival as far as I am concerned. Went home happy

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