Saturday, 30 October 2010

BBC Presenter Stefan Gates at Manchester Science Festival on: The Extraordinary Cookbook

Stefan Gates is the award-winning presenter and co-writer of Full On Food for BBC2, Cooking in the Danger Zone for BBC2 and BBC4, Gastronuts, a children’s programme for BBC1 and CBBC, and most recently Feasts for BBC4 and Stefan Gates on E Numbers for BBC2. He will be doing two FREE events at MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester) on 30 October as part of this week’s Manchester Science Festival. Gastronuts (at 2pm on 30 October) is with gastronutty chemist Andrea Sella: indulge in harebrained experiments, crazy cooking and eat the world’s weirdest food (family audience). Stefan’s Extraordinary Kitchen (at 7pm on 30 October) is a wild workshop of culinary adventure and food science (adult audience). This month Stefan published The Extraordinary Cookbook (details below), and will demonstrate some of these ‘flights of fancy’ recipes, such as toffee fondue or fluorescent jellies.

Stefan has written four books – Gastronaut, In the Danger Zone, 101 Dishes to Eat Before You Die and Stefan Gates on E Numbers. Stefan appears regularly on UKTV’s Market Kitchen, Five’s The Wright Stuff and BBC2’s Something for the Weekend.

To reserve your free ticket for Gastronuts or Stefan’s Extraordinary Kitchen go to or

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Manchester Science Festival - Nobel prize winners, comedy, craft and more

We're half way through this year's Manchester Science Festival. It's been a cracking week so far, so thanks to everyone who's come along and got involved. There's loads more on offer until the end of October for familes and adults. Here's our top picks!

Meet Manchester’s newest Nobel Prize winner
Join us tonight for an evening of Manchester science, as part of the Royal Society’s 350th Anniversary ‘Local heroes’ programme in the North West. some of our region’s Royal Society Research Fellows Prof Andrew Sharrocks, Prof Barbara Maher, Dr Alexander Oh and recent Nobel Prize winner Dr Konstantin Novoselov, chaired by Prof Dame Nancy Rothwell FRS will discuss their work on the latest developments in biomedicine, climate change and environmental pollution, and particle and condensed matter physics. The event is at 7pm tonight at MOSI. Tickets are free and you can book here.

Laugh your scientific socks off
We've teamed up with Manchester Comedy Festival to see the lighter side of science at some of our comedy gigs. Tomorrow Helen Keene takes a trip to the arctic (well, Islington Mill) to entertain us with stories of an expedition to this cruel environment in The primitive methodist guide to arctic survival.

Rosie Wilby’s will be educating the adults about the Further Science of Sex on Friday night. Do aphrodisiacs work? Why do we kiss? What’s going on in the brain when we fall in love? Spoof experiments and handmade props galore!

We’ve also got comedy for the younger ones! The Punk Scientists have travelled all the way from London, yes, London to entertain us with their mad and explosive world of science tomorrow! You can also catch crazy multi-media show Parannoyance packed with magic and storytelling on Friday. Both at the Comedy Store.

Get creative
Head to Longsight Library tomorrow or Manchester Museum on Saturday to see Wriggling rangoli. As part of the Manchester Beacon Science Festival Community Awards, ‘Inspired Sisters’, a group of Asian women from Longsight will be demonstrating the beautiful art of rangoli, looking at the science of infectious disease.

Get those knitting needles out and join us for a spot of knitting with your science. Bee knitting will run on Saturday at Manchester Museum. Learn about bees and biodiversity, and pick up a new skill.

Science Junkies
One of our headline shows, Science Junkies is action packed, adrenaline fuelled fun for the whole family! Find out about the physics and physiology of extreme sports and see some extreme sports in action! This Sunday at the Zion Arts Centre.

Please do put any pictures and feedback up on our Facebook page or send us a Tweet.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Dragon's den bacteria party

A Dragon’s Den-style teenage panel has selected a ‘Bacteria Party’ as its winning idea presented by scientists as part of the Manchester Science Festival’s community awards. The ‘Bacteria Party’, which will be held on 25 October, was an idea presented by the ‘B team’ from the School of Pharmacy at the University of Manchester, and includes cake and goodie bags alongside games, interactive exhibits and poster displays to celebrate the good and bad sides of bugs, germs and bacteria.

A panel of three young Dragons (17-19) judged four pitches made by academics in the fields of biology, medicine, technology, chemistry and physics. Each had to present a fun idea about science which will be created into a community-focused event during the Manchester Science Festival.

The winning team includes two academics and a team of eight masters students of pharmacy. The young Dragons from the Den have planned and prepared the event with the winning group and invite visitors to come and join in the fun. At the event there will be five stations to teach the public about antibodies, as well as different germs good and bad. Each participant gets a passport and a stamp at the station.

Sarah Evans of the Dragons Den Decides said: “The Bacteria Party is a great idea to help promote understanding of science and have some fun at the same time. The team at the School of Pharmacy did a great presentation and convinced the Dragons that this was the event that was most likely to inspire the local community to learn about science. Do come along and party with us on 25 October, and learn about the good as well as the bad sides of bacteria and how it affects our lives.”

Other contestants included a scientist form University of Salford, who wanted to run an event to show young people how to make ice cream the old fashioned way. Another team from University of Manchester wanted to demonstrate the dangers of a bad diet to our brains and the effect of lifestyle choices to having a stroke. A scientist from University of Manchester wanted to run an event to demonstrate the different senses and how they could be used to document scientific research.

The Dragons Den Decides is a youth participatory project as part of the Manchester Beacon Science Festival Community Awards. Manchester Science Festival is now in its triumphant fourth year and has quickly become the most popular science festival in the UK! As well as exploring all aspects of science, this year the Festival celebrates the International Year of Biodiversity. The Festival brings together universities, museums, unusual venues and community spaces to inspire people from across the region and learn more about why science is amazing, great fun and an essential, accessible part of everyday life.

The Bacteria Party is supported by the Manchester Beacon. The Manchester Beacon combines the complementary strengths of The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and The University of Salford with the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and Manchester:Knowledge Capital. The Manchester Beacon engages staff, students, community groups and local businesses in the design and delivery of activities that use engagement to break down the barriers between universities and local people.

The event runs this afternoon from 3pm at the Zion Arts Centre.

Salford Science

It's the third day of Manchester Science Festival and Salford have an explosion of science today.
First up, get your helmet at the ready and climb the wall as families find out about the physics and physiology of climbing. RockOver Climbing Centre are running a day of Climbing Science from 10.30am - 3pm.

Next up, something for Families 11+, teenagers and adults... find out about devices that researchers make to improve people's lives and the work that goes on at the University of Salford.

This evening there's a play at the Lowry about the only British Nobel Prize winner in science, Dorothy Hodgkin. Hidden Glory: Dorthy Hodgkin in her own words shows how her personal and scientific life were fully intertwined.

We'll be dropping into all three events today so we hope to see you there!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Change to today's programme to Science, the Universe and everything at MMU

Please note there is a last minute change today's programme. Science, the universe and everything at MMU is not running at it's full capacity. Please note the following activities only will run on Sunday 24 October (as different from previously advertised):

Super K Sonic Booooum (11am - 4pm)
Magic Science busking (10am - 4pm)
Laptop orchestra (afternoon only)
The robot dog will also make an appearance.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Manchester Science Festival launches with a boom!

Manchester Science Festival is here!
Manchester Science Festival starts today and we're very excited about what we've got in store for you! Forget about the cold October days and warm up over the next 9 days as we bring you the best science Manchester has to offer, as well as fun, creative, innovative and hands-on events. We have events for adults, families, young people and community groups. Here's our top pick for the launch day and a few tasters of the rest of the week.

Launch day
To kick off the Festival in style we have teamed up with the Manchester Literature Festival to bring you Carbon Diaries author Saci Lloyd. Saci will be at MOSI talking about a world affected by climate change and rationing our carbon usage. This event is suitable for teenagers.

Our headline event Super K Sonic Boooum is an amazing design installation exploring particle physics. Head down to MMU and don your wellies and safety suit and experience a journey through the awe-inspiring neutrino observatory.

Join us for an adventure in light and sound this Saturday evening at Rutherford's Lights - a physics inspired musical performance with pianist Richard Casey.

Manchester Science walks
Take your journey at a more leisurely pace and explore the science of the city by foot. There are walks covering a whole range of interesting science, looking back at Manchester's industrial heritage and delving into the lives of Manchester's most mad inventors.

Science Junkies
Do not miss the adrenaline fuelled Science Junkies live show at the Zion Arts Centre on Sunday 31 October. Packed with stunts and science, the show will be a real treat for the whole family.

There are over 200 events to choose from across Greater Manchester throughout the Manchester Science Festival. Check the MSF website for the full listings and up to date information:

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Thursday, 21 October 2010

Comic communicator wins science award

A science communicator with a comic touch has won this year’s Joshua Phillips Award for Innovation in Science Engagement (Josh Award). The award will be presented to Steve Cross at MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry) on 28 October as part of the upcoming Manchester Science Festival (23– 31 October 2010).

Steve, who was born in Stockport and is now based in London, is the Head of Public Engagement at UCL (University College London) and helps to develop the skills of scientists to share their work in an accessible and lively way. Steve runs the monthly Bright Club in London – where researchers (including himself) perform comedy routines about science to the club’s mainly non-scientist audience. Topics range from chemistry and climate change, to sex, to astronomy in the style of Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy. A Manchester Bright Club based on the same ideas has also opened recently.

Steve’s work, which is part of the national Beacons for Public Engagement project, helps to break down barriers between scientists and members of the public and to inspire people to learn about the everyday relevance of science. He regularly puts out podcasts (with 1500-2000 downloads per week). He also brought together scientists, a writer and bands to create music about the life of a scientist. Science communicators traditionally focus on work with young people, but Steve has also helped researchers to reach out to parents through ‘science soirees,’ held at parents’ evenings to help encourage sceptical parents about the variety and fun of a science career for their child.

Steve said: “I’m really surprised and overjoyed to win the Josh Award. When I was starting out in my career Josh was always pushing the envelope making science enjoyable and interesting in unexpected ways. Putting enjoyment into public engagement is very much at the centre of my ethos and I’m glad that is recognised in this award. With Bright Club we wanted to test the idea that anyone can make their work funny and engaging for a few minutes. We work with researchers to help them develop their own style of humour to deliver their work. So we end up with scientists with a delivery style that can be dry, witty, camp or fun, depending on the individual. It’s all about how to connect with your audience.”

Manchester Science Festival director Natalie Ireland said: “I’m delighted to announce Steve as this year’s Josh Award winner. He has used some fantastically innovative methods to engage people with science who may not normally be interested, and has helped to develop the skills of hundreds of scientists to present their work in an accessible and fun way. This is really the spirit of the Manchester Science Festival and we are already discussing ideas about what to do with next year’s festival.”

From chemical explosions to the science of circus acts, the Josh Award is open to anyone in Britain involved in using creative ideas to make science inspiring and relevant to a mainstream audience. Previous winners for 2007, 2008 and 2009 include Naked Scientist radio presenter doctor Chris Smith, science communicator Karen Bultitude and science communicator David Price of science made simple. The award is now in its fourth year.

The Josh Award is named after Josh Phillips, who was MOSI’s first science communication officer, and died in a road accident in November 2006. Josh was renowned for his innovative and fun approach to getting people of all ages interested in science. The Award includes a cash prize of £1000 and a trophy and the role of science communication officer in residence for the Manchester Science Festival 2011.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Seeking perfection - still opportunities to be involved

There's still chance to get involved in our Seeking Perfection project - a project for young people exploring the topic of human enhancement and creating performances, music and drama in response. We're working with Contact Theatre, the University of Manchester and Nowgen to bring this exciting project together. Sessions have gone brilliantly so far with loads of discussion about science, technology, the future and ethics, and loads of ideas about the performance and what it might look like. There's a session this Saturday for all who want to move forward on the project - so be there at 4pm to have your say and get creative!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Interview with Brian Cox

We got the chance to interview Professor Brian Cox when he was in Manchester recently in advance of Manchester Science Festival. Brian is a particle physicist from the University of Manchester and TV presenter of the show Wonders of the solar system. We chatted to Brian about science, the future and social media. We'll upload clips from the interview this week. In this video Brian talks to us about social media:

Last week, scientists rallied at the HM treasury against funding cuts to science. You can get behind the Science is Vital campaign and sign the petition.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Mad Science joins the celebrations at the Manchester Science Festival

Mad Science are extremely proud to be part of the Manchester Science Festival 2010, having been invited to deliver fun science workshops at community venues in each of the 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester. For the past few months we have been working closely with community groups in each borough to find suitable venues and get word out to the local community that the Festival is ‘coming soon to a venue near you!’ These events are for everyone and we really want people to have as much fun with science as we do every day!

So what will you see at the Mad Science events? Well, we are currently working hard putting the final touches to our show ‘Up, up and Away’ which looks at the amazing properties of air as with air pressure stunts, hoverboard rides and even the odd explosion thrown in for good measure! We love this show and are sure it will be a real crowd-pleaser! Everyone who comes along will be able to watch the show (venue capacity permitting) but the first 60 people (grown ups and kids) to arrive at each event will also be given a ticket to take part in hands-on science activities following the show. We have a range of activities in the pipeline with kitchen chemistry and cool chemical reactions being a theme. One thing we know people love is carrying out their own chemical reactions, so workshop participants will all get the chance to make and take home their own ‘ickey, gooey Mad Science Slime’ a great eerie concoction as we approach Halloween!
Check out the Manchester Science Festival website for full event listings.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

IOP engagement grant scheme

IOP engagement grant scheme provides up to £1000 to individuals and organisations running physics-based events and activities in the UK and Ireland. Apply by 8 November 2010 for a grant for public engagement activities.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Boat busking a sailing success!

This weekend we went busking on a boat! We wanted to bring some science to the Manchester Weekender, so we took David Price from Science Made Simple along the River Erwell for some science busking on a boat. It was lovely weather and the passengers loved it!

Listen to a podcast of David talking about his science busking here.