delivering engagement in new and innovative ways to reach wider audiences
The summer season at the Mills saw the return of Wednesday Wonders!
The free drop in sessions allowed visitors of all ages to get involved with science experiments and discover the tools scientists use when they learn more about the wonders of the world! Visitors got to meet scientists and find out about the amazing research work taking place in Dundee.
Wednesday 11 July – The Sun
The first of two Wednesday Wonders this summer was all about our sun. There were activities for all ages, from building your own sun dial, experimenting with magnetic fields to finding out more on how sun cream protects our skin (Dr Paul O’Mahony from the School of Medicine). Members of the Dundee Astronomical Society were on the balcony with solar scopes for safe exploration of our sun. Visitor also met sun scientists from Abertay and Dundee including Dr Alexander Russell, whose research is looking into the Sun and the Earth’s magnetosphere. More information on Alex’s research here: http://www.maths.dundee.ac.uk/arussell/
Wednesday 8 August – The Planets
The second event was all about planets. Visitors were able to build their own planet in our hands-on activity and even place it in the right orbit around the sun using the interactive computer software on our giant planetarium screen. Visitors met the scientists from the University of Dundee including Dr Aurora Sicilia Aguilar, whose research is all about the formation of stars and planets. More information on Aurora’s research here: https://sites.dundee.ac.uk/asiciliaaguilar/
For the Summer Season at the Mills Observatory, Outer Space | Inner Space hosted Wednesday Wonders. Visitors were able to meet scientists and find out about the amazing research work taking place at the University. They got involved with science experiments and discovered the tools scientists use to help them learn more about the wonders of the world! We hosted three events over the school summer holidays, they were:
Discover Biomedical Research in Dundee
This event was in collaboration with the School of Medicine and allowed visitors to learn about the diverse research taking place in both Schools. Visitors got hands on with activities including extracting DNA from strawberries, making the ‘perfect poo’, helping defend the immune system and performing the ‘Tinkle Test’. Each activity allowed the researchers to introduce in an accessible way what they do in the Schools of Life Sciences and Medicine.
Members of the School gave members of the public the chance to delve into the world of the microscopic marvels in biological sciences. Fruit flies, larvae, and flat-worms used by the researchers in the School in ground-breaking scientific research went under the microscope at Mills Observatory.
The Wonders Above Us
Scientists based in the School of Science and Engineering and members from the Dundee Astronomical Society taught visitors about the sun. We were lucky to have a few breaks in the clouds which let our visitors view the sun safely and for real through the solarscopes (please do not look directly at the sun). Thank you to everyone who came and all the great questions that you asked!
“I heard about Wednesday Wonders after meeting Public Engagement Officer Dr. Amy Cameron who invited me to come volunteer at the event to get some experience for my Science Communications Honours Project. The Biomedical research event provided fun topics such as ‘making the perfect poo’, which grabbed kids interests and gave me the opportunity to help communicate the science behind it. This opportunity not only helped build my confidence in delivering a scientific message to young kids but also gave me inspiration for turning complex science into fun and engaging experiments which I believe will help me get creative for my honours project.”
– Kathryn Liddell, 4th year Biomedical Student
The Giant Worm is an interactive project from Outer Space I Inner Space demonstrating how ‘C. elegans’, a minuscule worm that lives in compost heaps, helps world-leading research carried out in GRE. A massive video wall allows visitors to get up close and personal with the inner world of the 1mm long roundworm that live for 2-3 weeks and eat bacteria.
Story of the Giant Worm…
Activities designed to teach about optics for near and far including building a telescope from scratch, turning smartphones and tablets into a convenient telescope and building a microscope out of LEGO pieces.
Story of “Optics for near and far“
Have you ever wondered what it is like to have Impaired Colour Vision (ICV – commonly called colour blindness)? In this interactive exhibit the public were able to experience seeing through ICV eyes and learnt more about this often misunderstood condition from David Flatla based in Computing at the University of Dundee.
Dr Flatla is a Lecturer and Dundee Fellow within Computing at the University of Dundee. David leads the DAPRlab (Digitally-Augmented Perception Research lab) research group that combines sensors and wearable devices to enhance the day-to-day abilities of seeing and hearing for everyone – both people with impairments as well as those with typical abilities.
Current DAPRlab projects include improving the visibility of mobile screen content in bright light and developing visualizations to improve speech (lip) reading.
David’s personal research focusses on helping people with impaired colour vision. Within Computing at the University of Dundee, David co-teaches Human Computer Interaction and teaches ‘Exploring Colour Vision Deficiency’, a component of the Research Frontiers module.
Take a look at DAPRlab
Dundee scientists brought the public a very Scottish story about a unique creature that inhabits a Loch in North Scotland (no, it’s not what you think!).
A very fishy tale is based on work Alan Prescott and a former Dundee based researcher, Nicholas Cole (in Cheryll Tickle‘s lab) conducted a number of years ago and published in Current Biology. The unique creature was not the Loch Ness monster but a stickleback lacking a pelvic spine which were collected from an isolated loch in North Uist. Alan took large montages on the Schools’ scanning electron microscope of one of the stickleback fry (shown left). Together with Rolf Black and Jens Januschke from Cell and Developmental Biology, they gave a talk about evolution of isolated species such as the sticklebacks, the role of the mutated gene (Pitx1) which is lost in the stickleback and is associated with clubfoot in humans.
A special event where visitors tried to land a spacecraft on the surface of a planet using software and space technology developed at the University of Dundee.
Mills Observatory in Dundee celebrated 80 years of stargazing and public engagement with the official launch of a new interactive project, `Outer Space | Inner Space’, developed by the University of Dundee.
Find out more about OSIS at the Mills at 80
A photography competition aimed to promote views of Scotland and Dundee as seen through the eyes of our international SLS community.
Our Foreign Skies Story
View the Shortlist
Conversations between Pernille Spence, an artist and Professor Sonia Rocha, a scientist in GRE resulted in the durational performance The Breath Between Us. Spence was intrigued by Professor Rocha’s research into hypoxia, where she is looking at how cells respond to low oxygen levels. Through these conversations Spence became interested in working with the invisibility of oxygen, and using controlled breathing techniques she explored how the body would respond to fluctuating oxygen levels during a prolonged period of time.
Over 3.5 hours, the artist’s breath became visible as she transferred the breath from her body into a meteorological weather balloon until it expanded to the height of the artist herself. More information and a video of the performance can be found on Pernille Spence’s website.
The Breath Between Us was a commissioned performance for the ‘Shared Imagination Symposium’ and Exhibition, a Wellcome Trust and Exhibitions, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, collaborative event. The performance took place on the 6th October 2011.
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Life Sciences Zone at Dundee Science Centre