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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Science and Engineering Day inspires an interest in science

Published: 29 March 2010
Discovery day

Record number of visitors find out more about School’s research

Almost 3,000 visitors flocked to the recent Science and Engineering Day at the University of Southampton, with the Biological Sciences exhibits proving as popular as ever.

Part of National Science and Engineering Week 2010, the day provided an opportunity for the School to demonstrate scientific activities to people of all ages.

Visitors were invited to find out more about the latest in scientific knowledge, from the amazing power of the brain to the early stages of human development.

Looking at science from a new angle

Each activity had a serious purpose. Drunken worms were used to show how alcohol affects the activity of nerve cells and to provide a better understanding of alcohol dependency, while the Electric Minds exhibit explained how neurological conditions affect the brain and informed visitors about the University’s neuroscience research.

Changing Minds, a collaboration between Southampton Neurosciences Group (SoNG) in collaboration with Winchester School of Art and mental health charities, aimed to challenge public perception of mental health problems. Visitors were invited to find out more about mental illness through a variety of media, from video to fashion design.

Fun with a 'brain' jelly

Mammalian development was the focus of The Beginning of Life as We Know It, which took the audience through the different stages of development and the effects that a mother’s diet has on her offspring. Staff and students at the plant science stand demonstrated a healthy diet, using a quiz to compare well-known foods with salad crops and giving away seeds to grow at home as prizes. The ever-popular skulls exhibit invited visitors to match animals’ teeth to the type of food they ate.

Awakening an interest

It was a busy day for the academics, postgraduates and undergraduates who took part, and comments from the public were very positive. In particular people appreciated the enthusiasm of the helpers and the way the exhibition helped to simplify sciences for both adults and children.

One of the organisers for the School of Biological Sciences, Dr Richard Edwards, said: “It was a really successful day all round. I think we’ve awakened an interest in science in quite a lot of people. I’d like to thank everyone involved in helping – we’re already starting to think about next year!”

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It was a really successful day all round. I think we’ve awakened an interest in science in quite a lot of people!

Dr Rich Edwards - Co-organiser
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