King’s at Summer Science Exhibition 2014

As part of the annual Summer Science Exhibition at the Royal Society, King’s presented a stand from the Dental Institute on ‘Cutting Edge: The Science of Tooth Replacement’, organised by Professor Paul Sharpe, Dr Abigail Tucker, Dr Ana Angelova Volponi and Dr Neal Anthwal (and with the help of many student volunteers), showed research at King’s on ‘Bioteeth’ – the development of replacement teeth from cells.

Visitors milling around Cutting Edge stand

Also displayed at the exhibition are artworks inspired by the symmetry in crystals and their X-ray diffraction patterns. as part of the International Year of Crystallography. These pieces come from Professor Brian Sutton‘s collaboration with the glass artist Shelley James.

A piece of crystal etched with X-ray diffraction patterns

Culinary tour of the world…

Our first few events have taken us from Brazil, India & China (Feeding the World) to Ghana (Cocoa Production & Child Labour) and Uruguay (Beefing Up Britain). Tonight we return back to China for a talk on ‘Chinese Food & Medicine’, then tomorrow we take a pause from our travels to look at the more scientific aspects of food & health, from ‘Superfoods & Heart Disease’ to ‘Food Labelling and Healthy Eating’.

Blog takeover!

Apologies for the lack of blog posts, but we have not been idle! We’re hard at work on a festival entitled ‘Feed Your Mind’ to take place at King’s in March, more details to follow shortly (but the following image should give you a pretty big hint as to the theme!)

Painting of man composed out of fruit and vegatables, by Arcimboldo

We’ll be using this blog as the festival blog for the duration of the festival.

Science Uncovered

A busy night at the Science Bar

As part of European Researchers’ Night last week, King’s staff attended the Natural History Museum’s ‘Science Uncovered’ evening. Fighting our way through the queues (over 8500 people attended the evening (tip – use the side entrance in Exhibition Road, much faster than the main entrance)), we of course went straight to the Science Bar, where Dr Jeremy Green from King’s Dental Institute was talking about his research, and science more generally to a wide range of attendees (from 9 years old and up).

One of the most revealing comments of the night was from someone who didn’t consider themself interested in science, but ‘loved natural history’. Holding an event like this in a venue like the Natural History Museum meant that it brought in not just an audience already interested in science, but those for whom normally ‘Science’ was something to be scared of, even though they had been ‘speaking science all their life, without knowing it’.

King’s at Green Man Festival

As the cheers and music from the Olympic closing ceremony were fading, staff from the Environmental Research Group (ERG) and the Public Engagement department at King’s were packing their wellies and tents and heading to the Green Man music festival in Wales to engage festival goers in some of ERG’s latest research.

The Green Man festival has been running for 10 years and prides itself on its family-friendly atmosphere and focus on activites beyond the music stages. This includes the “Einstein’s Garden” – a large area dedicated to science, which is part sponsored by the Wellcome Trust and Research Councils UK.

King’s set up a tent alongside stalls from Cardiff, Edinburgh and Bristol Universities and contributed to a wide range of interactive events, talks and workshops. The King’s stall focused on the ongoing Low Emission Zone study ‘EXHALE‘ and engaged festival goers in testing their lung capacity and making breath drawings whilst discussing the research. Andrew Grieve from ERG was joined by Dr Rossa Brugha from Queen Mary University and Bianca Manu from Invisible Dust – partner organisations in the EXHALE project.

Despite the rain, Einstein’s Garden was packed during the day with families and music lovers alike learning about the use of oxygen isotopes in archaeology, wound healing processes, batteries made of microbes, reproductive health, gut bacteria and of course air pollution and lung health.

Engaging the public directly at science and music festivals is part of a new movement by universities with the joint aim of raising the profile of their research and reaching members of the public who may not otherwise be aware of such research. The appearance at this festival is the latest in a rolling programme of outreach events designed to engage and educate the public about air pollution and health.