In celebration of the first ever International Fascination of Plants Day with over 39 countries taking part, the John Innes Centre, home to some of the best plant scientists in the world asked some of them, amongst other things, why plants? What is that fascinates them about plants and what is it they want to find out about them?
In conversation with Richard Hollingham, Professors Caroline Dean, Alison Smith, Giles Oldroyd and Martin Howard reveal all about their careers and research.
Richard Hollingham is a Norwich-born science journalist, writer and broadcaster specialising in the environment. As a current affairs presenter and reporter for BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4, he has filed stories from more than 40 countries. These include a programme from inside the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, an investigative series on GM crops and reports from Russia (several times), Libya, Antarctica (twice), Vietnam, and from an ice floe in the Artic. A former senior producer for the BBCs flagship news programme, Today, he was also its first science producer.
Richard is the Editor of the UK Space Agencys space:uk magazine, presenter of the Plant Earth Podcast and also anchors live TV broadcasts for the European Space Agency. Author of Blood and guts: a history of surgery and co-author of How to clone the perfect blond, he has written for New Scientist, Discover and most national newspapers.
People of all ages came and spoke to some of the 2700 scientists in Norwich and found out first hand about their work and future plans which will firmly establish Norwich as an international city of scientific excellence.
Stargazing LIVE presenter Mark Thompson was also there on the day together with colleagues from Science Made Simple, Inspirational Science Company, Science Busking, STEM Ambassadors, Spring Fling, Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, The Genome Analysis Centre, Science, Art and Writing Trust, RSPB, OPAL, Norwich Astronomical Society, Travelling Sound, Teacher Scientist Network, John Innes Centre, Institute of Food Research, University of East Anglia, Norwich Science Clubs and MEandER
Video taken during the Fascination of Plants Day held at JIC. Over 550 children from 23 Norfolk schools participated. The Blue Peter gardener and plant fanatic Chris Collins was on hand to share his own fascination of plants, and there was a huge range of activities that brought home the amazing versatility of plants, and how much our lives depend upon them.
Open Day at Institute of Food Research
On 28th and 29th September 2012 the Institute of Food Research opened its doors and an estimated 1,700 people took the opportunity, over two days, to learn more about the exciting science being undertaken at IFR.
The glorious weather on the 5th Science in Norwich Day didn’t deter visitors coming to the Forum where the most heard word of the day was WOW, followed by I didn’t know that! Some of the 2500 scientists in Norwich were represented on a wide range of stands where people could make their hair stand on end with Mad Science; eat leafcutter ants with UEA; take apart a model gut and find out about a burgers travel through the gut with the Institute of Food Research; extract DNA with the Genome Analysis Centre; find out about nature’s factories with the SAW Trust; discover the secret of targeted drug delivery with Procarta; find out what Teacher Scientist Network can offer schools; learn about the latest clinical trial using chocolate and blueberries from the Med School; do a CSI investigation with Thinkers in Education and sun gaze with the Norfolk Astronomical Society. To break up visiting the stands two shows by local science communicators entertained everyone. James Piercy from Science Made Simple illustrated the floating sausage in Science Lucky Dip; and in It’s all Done with Mirrors with Dr Ken Farqhuar, Inspirational Science Company, unsuspecting adults were floated on planks!
Members of the Molecular Microbiology Department from John Innes Centre showcased their new animation describing antibiotic resistance on their stand being prepared for the BBSRC 20th Anniversary Exhibition in November called Antibiotic Hunters. Visitors were able to discover where our current antibiotics come from and look at antibiotic producing bacterial colonies under microscopes. Working with the travelling arts emporium MEandER and using discarded lab equipment there was the great antibiotic hunt and you could suggest where we might look for new ones. Suggestions included a kangaroos pouch, compost bins, swamps and frogs stomachs! Unsolicited feedback from one visitor described her son’s experience:
Just wanted to say how much my son enjoyed the event yesterday. At tea last night he explained the need for new antibiotics to his Dad in huge detail comparing it to a battle between two armies. He hadn’t heard it explained like this and had come up with the analogy after thinking about it. I think it is testament to how good the explanations were by the people involved and how much it had interested him.
Science in Norwich Day 2013 launched UEAs Forum Showcase week at The Forum, Norwich as part of their 50 Years celebrations on Sunday 2nd June.
Over 4000 people came through the Forum doors and had fun exploring, discovering and watching a wide range of hands on science based activities and shows.
All the science schools from UEA were represented, the Institute of Food Research, John Innes Centre and Genome Analysis Centre from the Norwich Research Park were there too. Other organisations included Norwich City College, Mad Science, Science Made Simple, Dr Ken, Norwich Science Café, Institute of Physics, Norwich Astronomical Society, Hethel Engineering, MEandER, SAW Trust and the newly opened Cambridge Science Centre brought their wind tunnel.
Take a look at the slide show below to get a flavour of what went on proving Norwich is simply the best for Science.