Blog posts

Do try this at home: How to make a 3D gif

Blogging science to life

Sat 12 April 2014,

Is seeing really believing? Optical illusions can play tricks with your mind, but here's Ross from the Live Science Team to show you how to use science to fool your eyes and your brain into turning two 2D images into a single 3-dimensional, stereoscopic gif!

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Can music change how you taste? | Interactive Science Experiment | Do Try This At Home!

Blogging science to life

Fri 4 July 2014,

Can music change how you taste? | Interactive Science Experiment | Do Try This At Home!

Can sounds change the flavour of food? Nerys & Sarah of the Live Science Team invite you to take part in an interactive science experiment at home: grab some headphones and tuck in to some science!

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Preparing for a taste sensation: getting our Live Science Team ready for Flavour Lab!

Blogging science to life

Thu 3 July 2014, Alice

Live Lab is about to get all tasty: as part of our ever-changing programming, Flavour Lab is due to launch on Tuesday 8 July, and this activity allows visitors to get hands-on and mouths-on! We go behind the scenes with Live Lab Officer Alice Barber to take a look at the recipe for success...


Whenever we have a change to Live Lab there’s always a lot of work behind the scenes in At-Bristol to get everything ready to go. We've just spent a fortnight training our team of 14 science communicators on the new Flavour Lab activities so that we are all ready to inspire our visitors! Everyone in the Live Science Team has one hour in the classroom to have a go at the experiments just like a visitor would; we run through Flavour Lab in small groups to make sure we can feel really confident about how the activities will work.

Flavour Lab

Robbie, Will and Rich get to grips with some complex flavours!

We also held an early morning training sessions before At-Bristol opens on the science of flavour, so that the Live Science Team are familiar with the science covered in Flavour Lab. This was just one in our series of ten morning training sessions in the run-up to the launch of our newe exhibition, Food!, on 23 July, so that our team in red shirts can have plenty of conversations with visitors about wheat, bees, or growing your own. So even when the At-Bristol doors are closed, we might still be inside talking about science!

Finally there’s one more hour of training for everyone on our ‘Lab Bench’ activities which are more in-depth experiments designed for visitors aged seven and over. We all get a turn with the electric whisk!

Flavour Lab

Kerina whips up some treats!

Do say hello when you are next in At-Bristol - our Live Science Team love chatting with our visitors! Or if you’re not coming to see us soon, you can keep in touch with the team on twitter @AtBristol_LST.


Thanks to Alice for writing this blog!  Flavour Lab launches in Live Lab on Tuesday 8 July, and will be running until 29 September.

 

Flavour Lab

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Should we drink milk?

Blogging science to life

Fri 27 June 2014,

Lactose intolerance can make milk toxic to humans. Is it weird for wanting to drink the milk of other animals? Ross Exton of the Live Science Team visits University of Bristol's Wyndhurst Farm to explore how cows have changed the course of human evolution.

To keep up to date with all our latest videos, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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National Women in Engineering Day!

Blogging science to life

Mon 23 June 2014, Leire Eguiluz, Rolls-Royce

National Women in Engineering Day!

In celebration of National Women in Engineering Day, we catch up with Leire Eguiluz, an Engineering Graduate Trainee with Rolls-Royce, to get the low down on how she got into engineering.

She recently took part in Ships Ahoy!, a joint project between At-Bristol and Rolls-Royce encouraging families to take part in some boat building challenges.

Ships Ahoy!  

(Image credit: Lee Pullen)

How did you get in to engineering? / What first attracted you to it?

Since I was very young I have been particularly interested in subjects like science and maths because I have always liked to know the reasons for everything around me. When I moved to the High School we had for the first time a subject called “Technology”, it was science applied for practical purposes and I found it really interesting.

When I finished my A Levels I was hesitating between Physics and Mechanical Engineering for my university studies, but finally I decided to choose the second one because I thought that it was the clear example of the application of science into the everyday life. Moreover I knew that the potential career options of this degree were very varied and extensive, so it was as well a good way to assure a good future professional career. Additionally after finishing my Mechanical Engineering degree in Spain I came to Cranfield University in UK to study an Msc in Thermal Power (Aerospace Propulsion speciality) with a double degree programme because I wanted to specialise in gas turbines and at the same time have an international experience.

What do you do in your current job?

This is my first job (I started on January 2014). I am an Engineering Gradate Trainee with Rolls-Royce. I am in my second placement in Service Engineering (Defence Aerospace) and my first one was in Design (Marine), both in Bristol. I am planning to do my third one in Norway (manufacturing in marine as well) and the last one will be “Design and Make”.

Ships Ahoy!

(Image credit: Lee Pullen)

Describe an average working day?

I do most of my work in the office, but sometimes I do some visits to the shop floor, which I find very interesting because it gives me the opportunity to see the practical application of what is defined and discussed in the office. This helps me also to understand better the different parts of the engine, how do these interact and the reasons why these sometimes fail. In my company it is also very important to continuously talk to other people  to ask for information, for help or to agree common purposes because communication is one of the main keys in industry as well. The working atmosphere is nice and the company is quite flexible with the arrangement of the working hours as long as we meet our objectives, so usually I can organise my work in the way that is more efficient and convenient for me.

You recently took part in our Ships Ahoy project – tell us a little bit about it

I joined the project quite at the end, so I was impressed by all the ideas that my colleagues had for it. One of the reasons why I liked it is because it was a very good way to introduce children and their parents into what we do in the marine business. Usually all these kind of events are focused on the aerospace sector (explanation of the principle of thrust or lift…), so this project gave us also the opportunity to show them that we also have a marine business with lots of interesting opportunities. It was great to notice the high interest and enthusiasm of children and their parents to learn more about boats, why do these float, when they are stable and what the best design to increase their speed is.

Ships Ahoy!

(Image credit: Lee Pullen)

Do you have any advice for anyone looking at a career in engineering?

Something I would say to anybody looking at a career in engineering is that they have lots of career opportunities in many areas. Furthermore engineering does not only give you the opportunity to understand scientific principles and find solutions for emerging problems, but also gives you the opportunity to explore the world, travel and know new people of different places. Therefore I think that all the effort of studying an engineering degree is absolutely worth due to the future professional career that this guarantees and also all the personal experiences that this offers.

 

Many thanks to Leire for answering our questions!

 

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What is Terminal Velocity? The Science of Skydiving

Blogging science to life

Fri 20 June 2014,

How is it possible to jump out of a plane and survive? We sent Ross up to 15,000ft to find out...

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Fantastic Feast: Anton Edelmann

Blogging science to life

Wed 17 September 2014, Heather

We’re looking forward to celebrating the imminent launch of our new Food exhibition (opening 23 July) at tomorrow’s Fantastic Feast fundraising dinner – and especially exciting is that the menu has been crafted by one of the Savoy’s most well-known and celebrated maître chefs des cuisines, Anton Edelmann, who’ll be on hand to introduce each of his specially-designed courses.  But who exactly is our guest of honour?

Anton Edelmann (image: BBC)

Born in Germany, Edelmann worked in his uncle’s hotel during school holidays, sparking a lifelong passion for food and cooking.  He first worked at the Savoy in 1971, before progressing through London’s fine dining scene, including stints at The Dorchester and Grosvenor House hotels.  He returned to the Savoy some 11 years after first working there – but this time as maître chef des cuisines, in charge of one of the capital’s most famous kitchens. 

During his 21 years at the helm, he not only revolutionised the hotel’s cuisine, introducing his own French-influenced cooking style, but also amassed a wealth of interesting stories – including packing a luxury hamper for Jeffrey Archer whilst in prison, only to be disappointed when his smoked salmon and foie gras package was refused by guards!

Anton Edelmann is renowned for being both an innovative chef and an engaging entertainer, so we can’t wait to welcome him tomorrow and hear more fascinating tales of what really goes on behind the closed doors of some of the world’s most notorious kitchens...

For more information on tomorrow’s Fantastic Feast, email us on food@at-bristol.org.uk, or call us on 0845 345 1235.  Our new Food exhibition launches on 23 July – find out more here!

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National Volunteers' Week: Fianzo Smith-Clarke

Blogging science to life

Mon 9 June 2014,

Last week (1-7 June 2014) was National Volunteers' Week and we followed five of our volunteers over the week to hear about what they do when they're volunteering with At-Bristol and their drive behind helping an educational charity and science centre.

Fianzo Smith-Clarke - At-Bristol volunteerWe've got one more from Fianzo Smith-Clarke who's done a whopping 200+ hours with us, here's more:

Q. Tell us a little bit about how you got involved with At-Bristol
I’ve always been interested in science from when i was younger, so like any child that likes science in Bristol, I loved visiting At-Bristol and before it was built , the Exploratory. In fact at 17 visiting the learning labs and doing gel electrophoresis made me decide to study biochemistry at university out of the courses I was considering.

Q. Why did you decide to volunteer and how long have you been doing it?
When I moved back to Bristol after university and acquired some free time I wanted to do something related to science with my free time and thought of At-Bristol so checked the website and went from there. I’ve done over 200+ hours with At-Bristol so far. My first few sessions were working with the live science team but for the most part I help run workshops with the formal learning team.

Q. What do you enjoy about volunteering with At-Bristol?
As cliché as it sounds, the kids really make it enjoyable. Especially when you can tell they’ve taken in what you’ve been telling them the best thing you can hear is ‘That’s cool’. Even the older students that don’t see themselves as kids you still see them getting a genuine enjoyment out of it. With a varied number of workshops you get to work with several different age ranges and different groups of children. For example while working with the home study group, I worked with 3 very shy little girls that initially would barely talk to each other, that ended the session by giving an outloud presentation on the group. I also had a little girl sit there and listen to me explain plate tectonics for 5 minutes before looking up at me and saying “I don’t eat bacon”, which granted wasn’t the reaction I was looking for but it did make me laugh. Even working with the 16+ students you have a lot of opportunities to build a rapport.
The staff you work with here are great from the first day you work with them they make you feel comfortable and many of them go the extra mile to help you get as much as you can out of your volunteering experience.

Q. What would you say to others to encourage them to volunteer whether with At-Bristol or elsewhere?
It makes a difference, I like to think I’ve added to the enjoyment of a lot of children that come to at Bristol and the workshops run smoother with added help that without volunteers wouldn’t be possible. The main reason I’d volunteer with At-Bristol, is that science is incredibly important to the world we live in and At-Bristol is outstanding at showing kids just how much fun it can be. If I convince one child to take more of an interest in science then I feel my time volunteering has been worth it.


Thanks to Jon for sharing his experiences with us!  If you'd like to find out more about volunteering in At-Bristol, visit our volunteer page.

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How to Make Something Invisible!

Blogging science to life

Fri 6 June 2014,

Invisibility cloaks might sound like science fiction, but Ross of the Live Science Team shows you how to use a trick of light can make things disappear in this great experiment to try at home!

To keep up to date with all our latest videos, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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National Volunteers' Week: Jon Davies

Blogging science to life

Fri 6 June 2014,

This week (1-7 June 2014) is National Volunteers' Week and as an educational charity, we use the generous support of many volunteers in all areas of At-Bristol from school workshops, events we run, helping in the venue during busy times, community open days and outreach events like Cheltenham Science Festival. Throughout the year, our volunteers put in hundreds of hours between them and we wanted to give an insight into a few of them this week - as well as saying a big THANK YOU for all the amazing work they do!

Today we hear from Jon Davies, who manages to fit in volunteering across a range of At-Bristol departments whilst working full-time here too!

Jon in action at our recent Community Day (image: Lee Pullen)

Tell us a little about how you got involved with At-Bristol

In September 2013 I had just finished my MSc in Biomedical Sciences and really had no idea what steps to take next. I was working in a bar and saw a job advertised in At-Bristol and thought I’d go for it, despite knowing I didn’t have nearly the right kind of experience. However, when I didn’t get the job, the lovely HR team pointed me in the direction of the volunteering team and I signed up straight away. This led me to getting a job with the visitor services team over winter, working on the ice rink as a team leader, and now I work in the STEM Learning department, organising professional development for teachers and science technicians. 

Why did you decide to volunteer and how long have you been doing it?

I wanted to volunteer because I’d enjoyed visiting so much when I was interested in the job I’d applied for. The staff were so lovely and welcoming and I genuinely have a huge passion for science; it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. I hadn’t even considered a career in science communication, but as soon as I stepped inside the front doors, a whole new world opened up to me and I knew I wanted to be involved. So, in total I have been volunteering for nine months, even whilst having a full time job here. In that time, I have done around 130 hours of voluntary work and that’s spread evenly between the formal and informal teams, with occasional outreach projects and community days.

What do you enjoy about volunteering with At-Bristol?

I love the camaraderie that all the staff and volunteers have here. Everyone is incredibly lovely, and nice and friendly. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve stumbled into a cult because everyone is so nice! It’s a very surreal but wonderful working environment. You feel useful, wanted and above all part of the family. They don’t mind if you can only commit a couple of hours here or two whole days over there. Every donation of your time is seen as valuable and the team always thanks you for it and makes their appreciation clear. The variety of different projects you can get involved with is fantastic, from working with SEN children, toddler days or home educators. Every volunteering experience is different and each one is really fun.

What would you say to other to encourage them to volunteer whether with at Bristol or elsewhere?

Just do it!  Volunteering for ANY organisation is incredible, fun and rewarding. Being proactive in today’s society is what it’s all about: getting out there, lending a hand and physically doing something really does change the world. Here in At-Bristol you are part of an incredibly dedicated team who genuinely want to enable more people from all walks of life to feel like they have a place where they can still learn something about science. Science should be accessible to everybody. We inspire young children, we fuel imaginations and we facilitate learning through exploration. On a more selfish note, it’s one of the most fun experiences and the steepest learning curves you’ll ever have!


Thanks to Jon for sharing his experiences with us!  If you'd like to find out more about volunteering in At-Bristol, visit our volunteer page.

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