At-Bristol Science Centre

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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...

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

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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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National Volunteers' Week: Jenny Razik

Blogging science to life

Thu 5 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!

Jenny Razik - At-Bristol volunteerToday we catch up with Jenny Razik, an At-Bristol volunteer and university student, as she gives us the low down on what volunteering means to her and our visitors. Jenny has been with us since November last year.

Tell us a little about how you got involved with At-Bristol
I had always heard about At-Bristol but never got round to visiting. I was looking for information on the website and saw that you could volunteer there and I signed up straight away! I am currently studying at university doing biomedical science, so volunteering at At-Bristol was perfect for me.

Why did you decide to volunteer and how long have you been doing it?
I decided to volunteer straight away and started in November 2013 it has only been 8 months but it has been amazing! I recently completed 50 hours and don’t intend to stop anytime soon!

What do you enjoy about volunteering with At-Bristol?
Helping children understand the science behind certain topics and working on scientific skills in workshops and live lab is very rewarding.  The facilities are great and the staff are the friendliest people I have ever met!

What would you say to other to encourage them to volunteer whether with at Bristol or elsewhere?
Volunteering is a great thing to do not only will you enjoy yourself but it is highly rewarding. It can help you gain confidence and communication skills. I have volunteered in some other places but At-Bristol is far by the best place I have volunteered!

To find out more about volunteering in At-Bristol, visit our volunteer page.


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National Volunteers' Week: Safa Iqbal

Blogging science to life

Tue 3 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're hearing from Safa Iqbal, who loved visiting At-Bristol so much as a child that 6 months ago she started volunteering here!


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

At-Bristol has been with me from the start. From primary to secondary school, At-Bristol visits have been a regular part of my development, as I learned about science in a fun and interesting way through the various wokshops, exhibits and of course, Live Lab. None of this would be possible without the fantastic Live Science Team - the staff! They were always so full of energy and enthusiastic, no matter what time of day. 

The bangs, pops and bursts in experiments were always sure to make my jaw drop in amazement. At-Bristol definitely pushed me towards following science and a science career. I started volunteering to increase my passion of science and help to be behind the magic of encouraging children to enjoy science, which has been so worthwhile!

I have been volunteering for over 6 months, but that isn't the end!

Q. What do you enjoy about volunteering with At-Bristol?

I am proud to say that I have taken part in every workshop at At-Bristol. I love how varied and relaxed the workshops are and the expressions on people's faces when they realise how fun science really is, all thanks to At-Bristol. No two days are the same, which makes volunteering so fun and enjoyable. It's so much fun, and I look forward to going in every time! Everyone is so welcoming and you feel like a big family. 


Q. What would you say to others to encourage them to volunteer whether with At-Bristol or elsewhere?

There is something for everyone - literally! No matter your interests or hobbies, you'll definitely find something that attracts you. Volunteering at At-Bristol is so worthwhile and an amazing use of any spare time! You'll want to do more and more! 


Thanks to Safa for answering our questions!  If you're interested in finding out more about volunteering in At-Bristol, visit our volunteer page.

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National Volunteers' Week: Ruth Evans

Blogging science to life

Tue 3 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!

Ruth Evans - At-Bristol volunteerWe catch up with Ruth Evans, an At-Bristol volunteer and former science teacher, as she gives us the low down on what volunteering means to her and our visitors. Ruth has only been with us for a couple of months but has already done over 50 hours!

Q. Tell us a little bit about how you got involved with At-Bristol
I have quite a varied background. I did my degree at Lancaster University in Biochemistry then came to Bristol and worked in Clinical Chemistry at Southmead Hospital. I later took a PGCE at Bath University, worked as a computer programmer and finally as a science teacher. After a number of years teaching, I decided to retire from the profession so stopped working and was not quite sure what to do next. Just by chance I came across the At-Bristol volunteers’ page on the website and decided to apply as I thought it would be interesting and involve both science and teaching; so here I am!

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

I started volunteering just before Easter this year and have tried to attend for one day a week; I was really surprised how quickly the hours added up and already I have done 50 hours and got my first certificate.

Q. What do you enjoy about volunteering with At-Bristol?
Everyone here is really friendly and I enjoy talking to visitors, although I almost lost my voice last week! I prefer supporting the formal learning team, probably because this is similar to teaching in a classroom, and there are specific objectives as well as specific jobs to be done that I’m familiar with.

Q. What would you say to others to encourage them to volunteer whether with At-Bristol or elsewhere?
If you enjoy talking to people give it a go, you don’t have to know everything about science, everyone in At-Bristol is happy to share their knowledge - it is more about encouraging visitors to try something new!

To find out more about volunteering in At-Bristol, visit our volunteer page.


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National Volunteers' Week - Christy Nunns

Blogging science to life

Mon 2 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!

Christy Nunns - At-Bristol volunteerFirstly, we catch up with Christy Nunns, an At-Bristol volunteer and former home-educated pupil, as he gives us the low down on what volunteering means to him and our visitors. Christy has been with us for a year now, having started in June last year, and has already clocked up 85 hours. Here's a little more about what he's been up to:


Q. Tell us a little bit about how you got involved with At-Bristol.
After being home-educated for most of my life, having used At-Bristol as a child, and with the intention of studying and working in science, one day I just decided to volunteer. I walked in and asked what I could do, and I’ve been here ever since!

Q. Why did you decide to volunteer and how long have you been doing it?
When I was much younger, and still home-educated, centres like At-Bristol (particularly At-Bristol) were extremely beneficial to me and my early education, as they encourage the freer, discovery-led way of thinking and learning that is so invaluable to kids, and that, for me, school did not provide.
One aspect of my visits to At-Bristol as a kid that has certainly stuck with me is being inspired by the red-shirted presenters, who all seemed so passionate and enthusiastic about science – as people should be! I intend to work in science after university (studying physics), and I’m sure At-Bristol played a part in that decision. My main reason for volunteering was simply to have the opportunity to don my own red shirt, and potentially provide some inspiration to the next generation of scientists.
I’ve been volunteering for nearly a year, and in that time I’ve volunteered over fifty hours; I don’t intend to stop anytime soon!

Q. How do you think that your own experiences have added to the Home Educator days?
Because I have “been through the system”, as it were; having been home-educated and “out of the loop”, and then returning to formal education for GCSEs, and finally onto A-levels and university, I can empathise with the difficulties that home-educators and their parents face (such as how to get qualifications). I have spoken to a number of parents on H.E. days whom I’ve reassured that it is possible to be home-educated and successful, and I think that my experience in that sense allows me to interact with home-educated visitors differently.

One of the things that makes home-educator days so interesting for me is the fact that each interaction is so different; the range of abilities in a single age range is unique to home-education, and always makes age-targeted workshops interesting. I also know from experience that the very same child who can’t sit still in a classroom may be at peace in the Planetarium, and the kid who doesn’t seem to pay attention to their teacher might give their undivided attention to a difficult group task in a more hands-on workshop.

Q. What are your plans now?
Currently, I’m studying A-levels in mathematics, physics and computing at college, and in October I plan to study physics at the University of Bristol.
Part of my desire to stay in Bristol for university is so that I can keep involved with At-Bristol and the people I have met through volunteering here.

To find out more about volunteering in At-Bristol, visit our volunteer page.


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