Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A life in Science: Richard Dawkins

I have been looking forward to this event for a long while and was superexcited! This conversation took place at The Lowry Theatre, Salford, lastnight Monday 26th October at 8pm. It was chaired by Roger Highfield who is Director of External Affairs for the Science Museum Group. Whilst part of the Manchester Science festival, this event didn't require any volunteers so I was just another member of the audience. The festival did get a plug though, at the start and again at the end. I believe some people from MOSI, may have been in the audience downstairs. I was up in the gallery but did have a good view. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take photo's but I did get this shot pre-event from my seat :)

Prof Dawkins talked about his life. He has written part two of his autobiography which is called A Brief Candle in the Dark and is doing a tour. He read extracts from it and told us stories on such things as how he met his wife at Douglas Adams' 40th birthday party, the christmas lectures and anecdotes from his days at Oxford. After a 20 minute interval there was a Q&A where some good questions were asked but perhaps inevitably the first 3 at least were about religion. Then Richard read a final poetic extract which was rather funny. An evening very well spent in my opinion.  At 9.50pm I found myself joining a queue to get my book signed (which I had bought in the interval for £15). This queue went down quick as I had hoped it might and to speed it along no dedications or photo's with RD were allowed. There were people hanging about from Manchester Humanist Society signing people up and I gladly gave my email address. The guy I spoke to was very funny and looked familiar but he took off before I could ask if we'd met before. I suspect he may have been at MOSI in the past, perhaps one of the singing scientists? Later I discovered he was in fact an actor though his name is not familiar only his face. I had taken my 30th Anniversary copy of The Selfish Gene along with me planning to get that signed instead but I was on the verge of bottling out as I knew thwy wanted to get through this asap. When I asked a couple of the folks managing the queue if  he would sign it I got a very positive and laid back response ''of course he will, he's a nice person. He will sign both'' I felt happier and decided to go for it. At 10.30pm, it was my turn and I had seen the lady before me shake his hand so I thought I would do that. He seemed a little hesitant but shook it. He was cold relative to me. I asked if he would sign both books and he said yes and did so. That was literally it, but he did then give me such a lovely big smile. Very warm. I am still thinking about that and still on some sort of happiness cloud!!

Tomorrow I am back at Salford University doing Liz West's 'Your Colour Perception' .See 'DAY1'. Please do call in and say hello should you be there. I will be on this event all day. I will be back to blog about my day on thursday which sees me back at Salford University with the Royal Photographic Society. I am looking forward to discovering that and the nearby installation about Chernobyl. There is still so much to see at science festival in venues all around Greater Manchester.  Film screenings, walks and tours, conversations, something for all ages. Don't forget about the Science After Dark for adults, and the ball pool. Evaporation and Cravings at MOSI itself but lots of other things also happening at the Manchester Museum and plenty to see at Manchester Art Gallery and the Central Library.

Manchester Science Festival 2015

Day 3:Drones Expo

Saturday 24th October (also Sunday). I did this event all day and it was such fun, kids and adults alike love this and I do too. It only took place over these 2 days but I am sure there are such events as this at other venues which you can go to if you wish. So worth it. Here all the action took place at MOSI behind safety nets and for free. There was just a 10 minute queue and we were so pleased at how patient everyone was and to see the kids enjoying it so much. There were remote control quadcopters with LED's and demo's of larger ones on the hour. These demo drones had movable camera's attached to their undersides allowing people to see themselves on 2 big screens at the back. Who can resist a wave? You can see 2 videos below of these drones being demo'ed. The really cool part is that there were 2 Rolling Spider drones which operate with an iphone and I just happened to have my iphone 6 with me.So yes I installed the free app and off I went. I was told these are easier oto control.That may be true unless you are me! It was amazing. I fully intend to buy one of these for myself in the future. As a volunteer it was my job to change and recharge the batteries which only have a life of 6 minutes. There were spare parts and mini tools as well as we are the drone technicians. There was a table near the screens with 2 drone repair experts and spare parts too. Also people were free to go and chat about drones and find out all about them A guy had made 2 films using drones which he called 'Game of Drones'. What else? :) They were seeing peoples reactions to being given parking tickets and also following people who don't pick up their dogs poop. So far this event is certainly one of the highlights for me. Please check out these photo's.

Two large drones being demo'd

                                Please enjoy these 2 videos of the large drones being demonstrated.

  Whilst I was at MOSI, I got a glimpse into
the adult ball pool which is epic! I can't wait to join in the fun with this next week. This pool consists of 81,000 balls and will be here for the duation of the festival, so last day November 1st. From 10am untill 5pm every day at a cost of £5 adults only. Go on...you know you want to.....check out my 2 sneaky photo's.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Day 2: Body of Light

Friday 23rd October. I spent the whole of today in the 1830's Warehouse where the main event was The Body of Light Dance. I hadn't known what to expect but I really enjoyed this. So much so I ended up filming it! You can see the raw video further below. This is a really popular event and visitors only had good things to say about it. I never heard a negative comment. This event by Dance Manchester is a fusion of dance and technology. After the performance the choreographer explained how it worked (sensors on the clothing, talking to the computer essentially). There was then an opportunity to have a go yourself. The kids loved it! This is a free event and you can drop in anytime. There were 2 performances in the afternoon but the choreographer and tech dude were available anytime to chat about this. Nice stuff.  I hope you too enjoy the performance :)

The venue in 1830's Warehouse.

Not entirely sure why YouTube have turned this video through 90 degrees. Sorry about that.

There are plenty of other things to see in the 1830's Warehouse as well as this being the home of the 4D Theatre which is great for younger kids where you can watch and experience a 15 minute animated short called Pirates. I have, thats also great fun! In this building is an event called Cravings where you can learn how food shapes our appetites. This is a free drop in event which is here until September 2016 so you have plenty of time to see this. Its on the second floor.  I found myself talking and having fun with other visitors. Like most people I got most of the sniff samples wrong. I was surprised by this until I had a go myself.  It is bizarre :) There is also an impressive model of the human gut with explanatory notes. Here are the photo's.


Gut Model

The Sniff Test
Up on the second floor is an amazing exhibit called Evaporation. Artist Tania Kovats celebrates the oceans and tides, in partnership with british chemist James Lovelock who developed Gaia Theory (look it up, read the photos below or pop along and see!) Evaporation consists of 3 metallic bowls filled with seawater. They were set up at the start of the festival and are left to see what they look like at the end of it. There is also a collection of bottles of seawater from the worlds oceans. It is hoped, and the aim is that one day the collection will comprise of a bottle from ALL of the worlds oceans.Sounds impossible doesn't it but it's looking good! here are some photo's:

Project info

Gaia Theory

                             Bottles of seawater from all the worlds oceans. Such a   beautiful sight!


This exhibit is here until May 2016 and is a wonderful contribution to this years science festival. You do want to visit this! Excited for my third day tomorrow when I will be at MOSI all day once again volunteering at the Drones Expo. 

Friday, 23 October 2015

Day 1 of Manchester Science Festival 2015

Thursday 22nd October. It was a gentle start as a volunteer/STEM Ambassador for me as I was based at Salford University's Fredrick Road Campus. The event is called 'Your Colour Perception' and is an installation by an artist called Liz West. Most of our visitors were people who are interested in or work with colour and they only had good things to say about it. Got something out of it which was nice. I had a wander in a few times :) It is an emotional and psychological experience.  I will let the photo's speak for themselves then you can decide what you think.

Click on these photo's to embiggen :)
 Fellow volunteer Bob.

Over shoes were required before being allowed into the installation too as the carpet is part of it and must be kept unspoiled.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Its almost here!

Yes, its that time of year again. The Manchester Science Festival 2015 starts tomorrow! A 10 day extravaganza of great science for your learning, watching and hands on pleasure. I am delighted to say I am doing 7 whole days this year as a volunteer. Tomorrow I will be at the University of Salford's Allerton Studio's on an installation called 'Your Colour Perception'. Please come along and say hello if you can :) There is something for everyone at venues all over Greater Manchester including of course our beloved MOSI. There is no better way to spend the half term and evenings have something for mums and dads too. Do visit the festival website to find out more. I hope I do see some of you.Enjoy!


Love Sarah xxx

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