The last week in October saw large parts of Manchester taken over by the 7th Manchester Science Festival. With a huge range of activities taking place in and around the city over 11 days, this year’s festival was bigger and better than ever.
The festival kicked off with a launch event at The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), which included the opening the new, and very interesting Ice Lab: New Architecture and Science in Antarctica exhibition. As the name suggests, this exhibition combines cutting edge architecture and science in one of the most extreme environments on Earth. Some people (err, no names mentioned!) may have got a little excited about seeing meteorites in this exhibition! There’s still time to visit, it will be open until early January, and it is well worth a visit if you’re near MOSI.
We took part in 2 events during the festival, both of which were busy (translation: exhausting!) and fun days.
Our Planetary Odyssey: The origins of Earth & the Solar System day at the Manchester Museum evolved from last year’s Meteorite Day. I’m not going to go into detail about all the activities we ran, as if you read this blog regularly you’ll have read about many of them before. But we are trying to increase our repertoire of activities. Building on the success of the erupting volcano that we made for Live from Jodrell Bank in the summer, we extended this demonstration to include a talk about the different types of volcanos we see on Earth and other planets in our Solar System. A series of very important experiments have indicated that diet cola produces
better eruptions than diet ginger ale! Here at Earth and Solar System HQ we do not endorse any particular brand of cola or ginger ale, but we do recommend healthy volcanoes – diet versions erupt better than the “full fat” ones. We also added some volcanic rocks for visitors to look at, to accompany the demonstration. Both the volcano and the comet demonstration ran a number of times throughout the day, and were packed out every time (there wasn’t even standing room at the back!).
We also had a stall at the University of Manchester’s annual Science Spectacular. This very popular event showcases research from across the University, with hand-on activities for all the family. This year’s stalls included investigating the carbon footprint of different types of food to looking at the effects uv have on our skin – I didn’t dare try that one, as I spend most of my time working with a uv laser. We don’t have the space to run a full range of activities here, so just took along the moon rocks and meteorites, which, as always, proved very popular. Although there were several children who didn’t really seem to believe that they were holding pieces of the Moon and Mars! The inflatable solar system hung across our stall proved to be more than just for show, it was very useful for pointing out where the asteroid belt is (between Mars and Jupiter)!
If you’d like to see more pictures from these events then check out our Facebook page.