Friday, 20 May 2016

Chernobyl, a commemorative event

Volunteering at last years Manchester Science Festival, the highlight was the Chernobyl installation. I loved it so jumped at the chance to volunteer at this Aprils PI event when I found out what it was! PI (Platform of Investigation) is a once monthly even where scientists/researchers can spend a weekend sharing their work and knowledge with the public at MOSI. On Saturday 23rd April and Sunday 24th April, this was about Chernobyl and coincides to mark the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear facility explosion which is next to the Ukraine town of Pripyat. I know what I was doing on this day as 26th April 1986 also happens to be my aunt and uncle's wedding anniversary! Happy 30th to them! I was excited to volunteer for both days and also enjoyed the company of other volunteers I know and see regularly here.

Here I am modelling what is now the official MOSI volunteer t-shirt.

Like all of the PI events this one also took place on the ground floor of the main building at our MOSI. This is the first PI event I have voluteered at and I hope to do more in the future.

On this table you can see some VR cardboard headsets which we had to show people whilst they waited to use the oculus rift. They use your smartphone and we were more than happy to demo this, folks seemed impressed especially the kids. 

Here is a volunteer looking through oculous rift. I had the chance to have a go myself at the end of the day on Sunday. It really is amazing to see the footage from Chernobyl which the scientists had shot and put together like this. 
Here you can see people queuing up and also listening to the Chernobyl scientist from Salford university, Dr Mike Wood. This event started at 10.30am and Mike had flown straight in from Chernobyl that very morning! He was very chatty and passionate and interesting and carried on talking to people after the event was supposed to have finished at 4pm. The other scientists were his PhD studenst and they had all visited Chernobyl. Later in the day one of them told me that Mike was a machine LOL. I certainly want to maintain my bounce like has :)

These 3 images above show footage from various areas of Chernobyl showing the abandoned areas, plant and wild life whch is present now.  More scientists with headsets ready to show people. The footage used to make the oculus rift VR was shot with a 360 degree camera and there was one here to show people. The aim of this event is to make people aware of how Chernobyl is now and that there are in fact a diverse range of plants and animals living here. The radiation effects would have a greater effect on humans which is why nobody lives here but the population density in this country is so low that there is no necessity for anyone to occupy this area. I also learned that whilst there is DNA damage in those animals living there it is not paased along generations. Due to predation no animal lives long enough to see if they will get sick anyway. Interesting...Thank you Salford for a great weekend event and to the MOSI staff for looking after us so well as usual. Mike is such a nice guy and he sent an email around thanking the volunteers as did Rosie from MOSI. Pleased to have done this, it was a joy and always good to find out from the experts. Till next time xxx

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