Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Bang Goes the Theory - we grill the presenters!

We got the chance to grill the Bang Goes the Thoery presenters recently. Over the next few weeks we're posting our questions and their answers on the Manchester Science Festival blog! This week it's Liz's turn...

What's your favourite science fact?
Em... the techtonic plates on our planet are moving apart at the same rate as our finger nails grow and a tiger can tell different tiger scents apart by using the vomeronasal organ in its nose, something that we humans cannot do.

What's the most dangerous experiment you've ever done?
Taking part in a submarine rescue drill in Norway which involved going down to 100 metres in a submarine rescue system pod, 'mating' with a distressed submarine on the sea floor and opening our two respective hatches to transfer the submariners into our pod. At one point the two pilots of our pod had to lock an internal hatch, that separated the rest of us from them, to make sure that if anything went wrong during the transfer they would be okay. Apparently we were expendable but they were not!

What's the most dangerous / extreme / exciting thing you've ever done?
Wingwalking and doing a loop which involved accelerating towards the ground at ridiculous speeds in order to be able to climb high enough to do the loop, all to investigate what a gale force wind feels like. It was pretty extreme but very exciting and surprisingly enjoyable once I got over the panic - It is very peaceful up there in the skies.

How did you become a science TV presenter?
I was very lucky to be asked to audition for Bang Goes The Theory when I was just finishing my Masters in Wild Animal Biology - I hadn't even done my final exams - I still have to pinch myself every day.

What do you think will be the next big discovery in science?
That's a tough one - science can be on the edge of a big discovery at any time, that's the beauty of it. There is still so much to learn about many aspects of human biology and chemistry, as well as that of all living systems, the planet, the physics of the Universe... We are tantalisingly close to discovering life supporting planets other than our own thanks to incredible telescopes like the ones on Mauna Kea in Hawaii for example. Scientists are now saying it is not a question of if, but when we make that discovery.

What's the best thing about your job?
I get the chance to see first hand, how scientists are working on the latest technology and research for all types of science. It makes me want to get back into the lab! I am in awe of the passion and dedication of these unsung heros who all work to improve every aspect of our lives, whether it be the technology that propels our world into the future, or the latest research on cures for disease- a lot of which we take for granted. I also love the roadshows because it gives us a chance to meet some of our viewers and talk all things science with all age groups. It's a real treat to meet the scientists of the future.

What's your favourite food?
I am a big fan of Italian and Japanese food- if there was only one thing I could eat it would have to be Gyoza. I am a bit of a dumpling freak...

Questions from Bang Goes the Thoery fans
When your hands are really cold, why do they hurt when they warm up?
I suspect it has something to do with the fact that all the tiny blood vessels in your hands shrink due to the cold, which can be quite painful in itself, and they vasodilate or expand again when the hands get a chance to warm up, allowing the blood flow to increase again, and that can be a little painful too.

Do aliens exist?

It depends what you mean when you say aliens. I do think there are life forms out there, but how sophisticated they are remains to be discovered. I suspect the funny eyed egg head is unlikely to ever grace our planet.

The Bang Goes the Thoery team will be in Manchester from 22 - 23 October with thier LIVE roadshow. We can't wait! Book your free tickets now!

Catch Bang Goes the Theory on BBC1 on Monday evenings.

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