Glasgow Science Festival: Exploring Human Health

Our ‘Glasgow Science Festival Explores @ Kelvingrove’ event will give people of all ages the chance to explore science through fun, hands-on activities in the museum. We spoke with Lucy, a PhD student at Glasgow Caledonian University, about her involvement.

KGrove Event

Lucy modelling a Glasgow Science Festival badge

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Lucy and I’m a PhD student at GCU. My research focuses on issues related to infection prevention and control, such as antimicrobial resistance and hand hygiene.

 2. What brings you to Glasgow Science Festival this year?

With a team of researchers and PhD students in the same field, I’m very keen to communicate our research to wider audiences and to educate people about simple things they can do to protect themselves and others from developing infections.

 3. Why should we come to your event?

It is a family-friendly, entertaining and interesting event where everyone will have lots of fun! We will be delivering a range of hands-on activities. You will be able to test your own hand hygiene skills using an innovative hand scanner or see your hands ‘light up’ in our glow box. You will also have an opportunity to learn how we can preserve antibiotics for future generations and how you can protect yourself and your family from developing infections. And don’t forget to visit our photo booth for lots of amazing photos!

 4. This year’s festival theme is ‘Glasgow Explores’. Where would you like to explore?

The researchers from our team come from a range of disciplines, therefore our interests vary. For example, some of us would like to explore health-related issues, while others – human behaviour.

 5. What’s the best thing about being a scientist?

Being creative, and being able to contribute to tackling serious public health issues. It is also really exciting, because you can never be 100% sure about what you are going to find out!

‘Glasgow Science Festival Explores @ Kelvingrove’ takes place on 10 and 11 June in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The event is free and drop-in. For full details and times, visit the website.



Glasgow Science Festival: Superbug Science

Antibiotic resistance and the emergence of so-called ‘superbugs’ pose a growing threat to public health. But who is creating the problem? And whose responsibility is it? At this year’s Glasgow Science Festival, a team of researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University will shed light on this important issue through fun, interactive debate. 

SHIP Superbugs Debate (2)

1. Who are you and what do you do?

Mairi –  I’m a researcher at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) researching public awareness of antimicrobial resistance.

Caroline –  I’m also a researcher at GCU using social science to shine a light on complicated public health issues, like antibiotic use and resistance.

Jen –  I’m a researcher at GCU using psychological theory to understand behaviours, such as hand hygiene, which have an important role in tackling the issue of antimicrobial resistance.

Lauren –  I am also a PhD student at GCU, researching knowledge, beliefs and perceptions related to the acceptability of rapid diagnostics for antibiotic use and resistance.

Ellie –  I’m a PhD student at GCU, researching public knowledge, attitudes and behaviours around antibiotic use and resistance.

2. What brings you to Glasgow Science Festival this year?

Mairi –  I’m keen to engage with people from all different backgrounds, and raise their awareness to the issue of superbugs’ resistance to antibiotics.

Caroline –  I’m really excited to work with a great team of social scientists to share our research findings about antibiotic use and resistance, a topic which is relevant to us all.

Jen –  Glasgow Science Festival is a unique opportunity for us to spread the word about our research to a different audience and engage with members of the public around the issue of antimicrobial resistance.

Lauren –  I think the festival will be a perfect opportunity to engage with the wider community. AMR (antimicrobial resistance) affects everyone and it is so exciting to be able to share our research with the public.

Ellie –  I believe many health issues can be targeted by educating the public and raising their awareness of what can happen when certain behaviours and habits persist. Taking part in an event such as this means I get to play an active role in enhancing the public’s awareness, younger individuals and families.

3. Why should we come to your event?

Mairi –  We’re focusing on a serious public health issue, but doing so in an interactive and light-hearted way. This event will give you the chance to understand how superbugs are becoming resistant to antibiotics, and what role we all play in safeguarding antibiotics for the future.

Caroline –  The ‘Superbugs’ debate is going to be a great fun event. There’ll be a chance to hear lots of different perspectives on AMR (e.g. health, pharmaceutical, agricultural). You’ll then be given the chance to make up your own mind about AMR and what can be done – and to vote to let us know!

Lauren –  The event will be a fantastic opportunity to hear different views on a global health problem. The night will be fun and interactive but will also offer you the chance to have your say! Hope to see you there!

Ellie –  When people think about the issue of antimicrobial resistance, they seem to only look at it from the point of views of human health. However, there are many other processes in a variety of areas which contribute to this issue, such as agriculture and farming. Our event will bring all of these factors together in a fun way through role-play and public involvement in a lively debate.

4. This year’s festival theme is ‘Glasgow Explores’. Where would you like to explore?

Mairi –  Human reasoning (on a sub-conscious and conscious level) and how it leads to behaviour.

Caroline – I’d like to explore what solutions we create when the great minds of Glasgow and beyond come together to creatively engage with a problem like AMR!

Jen –  I’d like to explore what members of the public know about the issue of antimicrobial resistance and discuss the ways in which we all can make small changes to our behaviour to safeguard antibiotics for the future.

Lauren –  In my own research, I am hoping to find acceptable ways to reduce the AMR crisis and I cannot wait to hear what people have to say about AMR.

Ellie –  I’d love to explore how cultural norms affect the way people think about certain health issues, and how this then translates into behaviour.

5. What’s the best thing about being a scientist?

Mairi –  Contributing to tackling serious public health issues, and the creativity that comes with the research.

Caroline –  Like Mairi, I love the creativity involved in being a social scientist – the chance to explore, think about and impact upon public health problems is a real privilege.

Jen –  Learning about and exploring aspects of human behaviour related to health and working as part of a wider team to help people change their health behaviours, in turn, contributing to important public health issues, such as antimicrobial resistance.

Lauren –  The best thing for me would have to be discovering new things every day. Research lets you answer the tough questions and helps to reduce burden from health crisis’ such as AMR.  

Ellie –  This is quite a tough question because I pretty much love everything about it- from learning about what has been done, to taking that information and using it to find out more about the subject. There’s variation because your data leads you in many different directions too, and I think that is very exciting!

Join Mairi, Caroline, Jen, Lauren and Ellie for ‘Whose Superbug Crisis Is It Anyway?’ on Thursday 8 June at Glasgow Caledonian University. The free event begins at 6pm. For full details and booking, visit the website.

Glasgow Science Festival: The Wonders of Perception

After successful events in 2015 and 2016, philosophers from the University of Glasgow are set to bring more thought-provoking activities and illusions to Glasgow Science Festival this year. We chatted to Dr Jennifer Corns about what’s in store.


1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Dr Jennifer Corns and I am a philosopher at the University of Glasgow.

2. What brings you to Glasgow Science Festival this year?

I am part of a team from the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience who will be hosting an interactive station on the Wonders of Perception.

3. Why should we come to your event?

Perception is amazing! At our interactive event, you can undergo hallucinations and illusions to learn more about the wonders of the mind and the way that you perceive the world around you. Experts on the nature of perceptual experience will be on hand to chat with you and answers questions about the mysteries of your mind.

4. This year’s festival theme is ‘Glasgow Explores’. Where would you like to explore?

I love to travel and am most keen to explore more of Asia.

5. What’s the best thing about being a philosopher?

As a philosopher, I get to interact with science, engineering, and other areas to ask deep questions about what they do, why they’re valuable, and how they are useful. The best thing about being a philosopher is asking questions!

Join Jennifer for the Wonders of Perception at Science Sunday on Sunday 18 June at the University of Glasgow. The event is free and drop-in. Full details on the website.

Glasgow Science Festival: Whales, Seals & Dolphins – Oh My!

One month today, we’ll be taking over the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum with a plethora of hands-on activities. Among the scientists getting involved is dolphin communication expert Jason Bruck. He stopped for a chat with the blog…


1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Jason Bruck and I am a dolphin communication and intelligence researcher at the University of St. Andrews, Scottish Oceans Institute.

2. What brings you to Glasgow Science Festival this year?

At the Scottish Oceans Institute, we have developed a new and exciting way for people of all ages to see how we learn about dolphin minds and how we study what these amazing animals ‘talk’ about.

3. Why should we come to your event?

For anyone interested in marine science or whales and dolphins this is the perfect opportunity to get a real sense of the methods used to understand the behaviour of these fascinating animals. You might even get the chance to produce and see real dolphin sounds using state of the art technology.

4. This year’s festival theme is ‘Glasgow Explores’. Where would you like to explore?

I love to explore the minds of non-human animals. Understanding and charting the behaviour and intelligence of our animal cousins tells us about our own evolutionary journey and might provide insight into how we got where we are.

5. What’s the best thing about being a scientist or engineer?

When a scientist analyses data (s)he is the first person in the world to know a fact. Being the first person in the world to know something is really the best part of this job, because in that way you get to be an explorer seeing an aspect of the world no one else has ever seen before.

Join Jason on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 June for Glasgow Explores @ Kelvingrove. For full details and times, visit our website.

Cosmic Cabaret: Behind the Scenes Part II

Back in June, our ‘Cosmic Cabaret: Peake into Space’ event blended science with music, poetry and comedy, with support from the Institute of Physics.


Becky and colleagues chat to comedian Gemma Flynn about research


One of the scientists involved in the project was Becky Douglas, who stopped for a chat with the blog!


Becky Douglas


1. Who are you and where do you work?

 I am Becky Douglas, a PhD student/Research Assistant at the University of Glasgow, where I work as a member of the Institute for Gravitational Research

2. What was your involvement with the Cosmic Cabaret night?

I spoke with musicians and artists about what it’s like to be a scientist, the research I do on a day-to-day basis and how rewarding scientific research can be

3. Can you explain your research (in simple terms!)?

My PhD was on gravitational wave detectors. Gravitational waves a ripples in spacetime caused by huge events like colliding black holes. They were predicted by Einstein but it wasn’t until September 2016 (nearly exactly 100 years later) that they were finally detected. As a PhD student my work was to develop materials that will go into new, even more sensitive detectors which will allow us to detect even more astrophysical events.

4. What’s your favourite thing about your job?

My favourite thing about my job is when an experiment works and you find out something new for the first time. For a very brief period, you’re the first person in the world to know something. That’s a really exciting moment.

5. Impress us with your favourite science fact.

350 million years ago a day was less than 23 hours long

You can watch some of the footage from the Cosmic Cabaret night on our YouTube channel. A big thanks to Becky and the other researchers for getting involved in this unique project!

Drugs on Trial

Drug doping in sport remains a huge issue which has plagued the headlines in recent weeks. To explore the issue, this year’s Glasgow Science Festival features a special event with a comedian, lawyers, athlete, pharmacologist, sociologist and doctors discussing whether or not drugs in sport should be legalised. Event organiser, GP and Masters student Fran Taylor had a chat with the blog.

lucia at fountain

  1. Who are you and what do you do?

    I am Frances Taylor, a general medical practitioner in Lanarkshire, currently doing a Masters degree in Sport and Exercise Science and Medicine at Glasgow University and moonlighting as an opera singer Picture is from last week’s performance as Lucia di Lammermoor.

    2. What brings you to Glasgow Science Festival this year?

    I am involved in helping organise the public engagement event ” Drugs in Sport : The Trial” for my Masters project along with Dr. Jason Gill, Mr. Nairn Scobie and  Dr. Deborah McNeill and Dr. Zara Gladman of GSF.

    3. 2016 is Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. What innovation could you not live without?

    Digital radio-I’m addicted to crime (drama) !

    4. It’s Glasgow Science Festival’s 10th birthday! We’ll be celebrating with some science-themed cake and balloons. What’s your birthday treat of choice?

    My daughter made me a wonderful Turkish Delight inspired sponge cake for Mother’s Day which would be hard to beat!

    5. And finally: impress us with your favourite science fact or joke.

    One for Zara: Igneous is bliss but being sedimentary is not gneiss

    And for Debbie: Biology is the only science in which multiplication is the same as division

Join Fran and special guests tonight for Drugs in Sport: The Trial, 7pm in the Boyd Orr Building. Tickets are free and can be booked online.


Quantum Physics Vs Zombies

Today’s guest blog is by the team at QuantIC, who are showing how quantum physics can be used to save us all from a zombie apocalypse!


QuantIC is the UK Quantum Technology Hub for Quantum Enhanced Imaging based at the University of Glasgow. Our mission is to translate new technological applications  and revolutionise imaging across industry and consumer markets.

We’re really excited to be involved with the Glasgow Science Festival this year with a few events to promote understanding of Quantum Physics. Many people think it is just weird science but a lot of our modern electronics is based on quantum physics. Lasers and our smartphones for example, wouldn’t exist without it.

Everyone thinks quantum physics is too difficult to understand, so alongside a Quantum Physics Teachers’ Workshop,  we’re doing something completely different to show how quantum technology can  be applied in a zombie outbreak. Yes, the walking dead will be roaming about in a secret location and the audience will have to get involved to survive and save the world! 

We’re hoping everyone who comes will have fun and also learn something about our research. There’ll be some twists and turns – but we’ll keep those as a surprise. Can you escape from the walking dead?

 Join the QuantIC team tonight for Mission Impossible: Agent Photon & the Quest for Quantum. The event is FREE but ticketed, see the website for more details.