Saturday, 29 June 2013
UCLan Science Festival
We attended The UCLan Lancashire Science Festival, a free event held at University of Central Lancashire. I had pre booked events and received an email confirmation . I was impressed they even had free car parking, we arrived early not knowing quite where we were going, thankfully it was all sign posted well & we were able to park really easily.
We had pre booked tickets for the day and collected them within the building, it did feel initially like the Crystal Maze but once we had our tickets and pack including a map we knew where we were.
First on the schedule was Being 747 present The Clockwork Universe a singing performance al about the Universe, the performers admirably were able to change into various costumes throughout the performance, this was okay, felt like it went on a bit too long and not of great appeal to my teenager who was wondering why she had got out of bed to come with us.
Next was Saturn Sheila's Solar System Safari by Dr Shelia Kanani, my youngest is really interested in the solar system so this was ideal. For one person stood in a lecture theatre explaining the solar system to a variety of ages from about 4-70 years old it was brilliant, using toilet roll and willing volunteers to illustrate the distance between planets was superb. Then followed by an experiment with protective gloves, fizzing, gasps from the audience for her comet demo, this time the time flew, my youngest was captivated and even my teen found it if interest, her comment was why wasn't science at school that good.
We had a break for lunch, their was plenty of choice in UCLan's cafe and everything was reasonably priced, at what I presume was student pricing. There were also a number of events which didn't need booking for, the emergency services were there with a variety of displays. I had my first and hopefully last trip in an ambulance, I had for some reason expected a tardis experience and was surprised how small the working space is in there. There was also a horrifically mangled car, the actual car which had been in a fatal accident driven by someone who had stayed over at a friends knowing he had drunk too much, sadly he was still over the limit the next morning when he got in the car to drive home and was killed. To stand beside the car was so emotional, to hear of rescue efforts and the family wanting his car to be used to educate others. The fire fighter asked my eldest daughter what would she do if she was in a car with a boyfriend and she felt he was driving too fast, she answered "Ask him to slow down?", I couldn't think of anything else. The fire fighter said say you feel sick, hold your stomach, any young lad will not want vomit over his car. I felt we'd all learnt more in those few minutes than I could have hoped to achieve in my mum talks about being safe.
We were due to attend James Piercy What’s Going on in His Head? I had noticed the 12+ age rating but hadn't considered why. James opened up by saying, "Thanks for coming, I'm really lucky to be here <pause> I mean it, I'm really lucky to be here." He followed detailing the tragic story of a car accident he was in, his wife was driving and was sadly killed in the impact. Their 3 children were in the back seat. He had a presentation of the timeline from the accident, a 3D model of his brain from his scans showing the damage the accident had caused and detailing who and what had helped in his recovery. It was hugely moving, not just by the sadness but by his positivity, I suspect he downplayed the effects it still has on him, I came home & followed him on Twitter & read back on his blog. His strength & honesty shines through. http://whatsgoingoninhishead.wordpress.com/
We had a gap before our final presentation and went to went to watch the Extreme sports team outside, man versus machine with free runners and riders, I had to hold my breath as they performed their stunts and the stunt riders held a different appeal to my daughters!
Finally we went to Sarita Robinson: Your Extreme Brain a story of surviving with basic equipment and cold temperatures, in all honesty I wish we'd gone home before this, some points of interest but it reminded me of a geography lesson when the teacher brought in slides from her holiday in the Lake district.
I'm glad we went, I wish we'd had more free time to wander around the non bookable events. My youngest daughter had collected a card earlier in the day where you approached female scientists, heard about their work and collected a stamp on your card, when it was full you exchanged it for a prize. We met some really interesting scientists and heard of their work in Radiography at The Christie Hospital in Manchester, environmental science and engineering research. This provoked mixed feelings, my youngest daughter loves science, she hadn't considered being female excluded her and was curious to the thinking behind the Scigirls card, I can see the focus on encouraging girls in science but feel uncomfortable with the cartoon girls and pretty illustrations approach.