Glasgow Science Festival: Bee the Change

Glasgow Science Festival creates a space where the public can learn about current issues in science and society, from health and well-being to the environment. We spoke to three PhD students who are shedding a light on the growing threats to our bee populations.

garden

1. Who are you and what do you do?

Kirstin – I’m Kirstin, a first-year PhD student in public health. I’ll be using big data to explore patient adherence to cardiovascular medications, or more simply, looking to see if people are picking up their drugs to keep their heart healthy. It’s an important area of research because unfortunately, we have a lot of heart disease in the West of Scotland!

Fernanda – I am an animal and plant lover that used to grow tadpoles in my fancy Barbie’s whirlpool and pool. My interest for living beings and their development inspired me to pursue a career on biological sciences. Later, I felt a lot of curiosity for those microscopic beings we cannot see but can exterminate the whole of humanity. For this reason, I specialised in cellular and molecular parasitology, which is the study of parasites that cause diseases. Currently, I am finishing my PhD thesis which was focused on reassessing the ability of a parasite, called Toxoplasma gondii, to move and invade human cells. Since then, I have converted in a micro-photographer and micro-movie maker. I have spent plenty of hours on different microscopes studying the way parasites move and penetrate human cells in the absence of very important components of the parasite “micro engine” .

Lynne – I work in Public Health Medicine and am in my second year of a PhD.  I’m interested in how public health threats are reported in the media and how this impacts on public perceptions of risks to their own health.  I’m particularly interested in what the public thinks about the health risks associated with antibiotic resistance.

2. Have you done public engagement before? What made you want to get involved?

Kirstin – I wanted to get involved because public engagement is so important to big data research. People find it a scary concept and I know in my career going forward I need to help people understand why I do what I do and how we keep patient data safe, otherwise they might not trust the research we are doing. Although our activity isn’t informing people about big data, I thought Glasgow Science Festival would be a fun way to get involved with public engagement and build my confidence for future outreach projects.

Fernanda – I’m lucky to have been involved in several ‘Crafty Critters’ events. This project, developed by  students at the University of Glasgow,  aims to teach the general public what different parasites look like and how they function. I had the opportunity to interact with lots of people of different ages. Their comments and questions made me realise the importance of communicating relevant/accurate information to others in a friendly and informal manner. For this reason, I thought that the Glasgow Science Festival was not only an opportunity to project my own ideas, but also to interact with other fellow students similarly interested in passing the voice of science to the general public.

Lynne – I’ve had plenty of experience with working with the public as a doctor but not of sharing scientific research.  That’s a whole different ball game!  To generate interest, an activity has to be fun but also to be relevant to the audience, and hopefully show them how they can make a difference.  Antibiotic resistance is such an important issue and I think we can communicate it more effectively – I hope I will be able to use some of the skills I learn by being involved in the Glasgow Science Festival to develop some public engagement activities around my own research area. Plus, you get to wear a bee costume!

3. Describe your activity to us. Why should we come along?

The importance of hives and individual bees has been remarkably understated over the years. These insects are gardeners, farmers, landscapers, and honey chefs of nature, but sadly their populations are rapidly declining and dangerously disappearing. Our activity  is focused in three different points: 1. Why bees are important 2. Why they are disappearing and 3. How we can help.

Our activity allows you to ‘Bee the Change’. Here, kids (or adults!) get to dress up as queen bees, and carry a hive while tackling our obstacle course. The aim is to rescue as many bees from your colony as possible before time runs out. At the end of the trail, you get a small bee-friendly gift for helping bees, taking the message home and spreading the information as much as possible.

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

Kirstin – I think it would be amazing to go to Iceland. I loved geography at school and it would be really cool to see a real glacier, climb a volcano, and see the Northern Lights. I’m also a big food fan so I’d love to travel to the Far East and explore some authentic cuisines!

Fernanda  If I had the chance I would love to explore the deepest and darkest environments of the sea even if my mom won’t let me go. What’s most interesting to me is the capacity of all beings in there to adapt to such a habitat. The anatomy of these organisms is extremely specialised for high pressure, darkness, and cold temperatures. Interestingly, these important environmental characteristics drove them to develop senses and biological features opposite to all the other living beings that inhabit the surface. Go team abyss!

Lynne – I have always wanted to explore the breath-taking scenery of the Rocky Mountains in Canada.  I’m more interested in photography than climbing so I would probably prefer to do this by train! There are also lots of beautiful parts of the Scottish highlands and islands that I have yet to explore.

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

Kirstin – I love being part of the scientific community. Now that I’m in public health I don’t get to spend time in the lab anymore, but I still get to do research that could genuinely benefit people and I find that really exciting. I was at a health informatics conference recently and it was fascinating to see what you can explore with big data; it’s a great time to be working in such a dynamic field.

Fernanda – The best bit about being a scientist is keeping alive the girl that grew tadpoles in a toy pool; I know that conditions have changed a lot, but the principle is the same. We do things for passion, vocation, knowledge and somehow, improve the living  quality of others. We all have projects directed to think outside the box and progress by updating information. Interestingly, this is the way to march forward as humanity and as professionals. In the same sense, in the same way.

Lynne – I am increasingly interested in behavioural science.  In order to improve health, we need to know the science behind disease and prevention, but we also need to understand what it is that determines whether people are able to make necessary changes to the way they live.  To make a difference to people’s lives we need all branches of science working together.

Join Kirstin, Fernanda and Lynne for ‘Bee the Change’ at Science Sunday on Sunday 18 June. Free, drop-in. Full details on the website.

Glasgow Science Festival: Mapping the Museum

This year’s Glasgow Science Festival theme is ‘Glasgow Explores’, celebrating the many ways in which scientists charter new territory and uncover the mysteries of the world around us. To celebrate this theme, a group of PhD students from the University of Glasgow have developed a fantastic new event – Mapping the Museum – as part of Science Sunday on 18 June. They had a chat about what’s in store…

annmarie

1. Who are you and what do you do?

Lianne – I’m Lianne, a 1st year PhD student in chemistry, investigating chemical treatments for conserving wooden and textile artefacts from the Mary Rose Tudor ship.

Gianluca – My name is Gianluca and I am a PhD student in engineering. My scientific research is devoted to the optimisation and testing of a fluorescence imaging system integrated in capsules for endoscopy and, capable of detecting early cancerous lesions in the gut.

Annemarie – I’m Annemarie, a 3rd year PhD student in earth science, working on the refining the age of the Chicxulub “dinosaur killer” impact structure.

2. Have you done public engagement before? What made you want to get involved?

Lianne – I’ve done a little bit through volunteering as a gallery guide and carrying out interactive activities in a museum.

Gianluca – I have never done public engagement before and that is the main reason why I decided to get involved with the Glasgow Science Festival.

Annemarie – I’ve done a fair bit of public engagement before, through previous involvement with Glasgow Science Festival, The Royal Society of London, and Pint of Science. I’ve also been heavily involved in my school’s public engagement activities, both during my time at Glasgow and while at the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration in Canada. I wanted to get involved to broaden the scope of my abilities to outreach beyond my specific area of expertise.

3. Describe your activity to us. Why should we come along?

Our activity, “Mapping the Museum”, involves learning to navigate using cardinal compass directions (north, south, east, and west) and estimating distances as you walk. Through this activity you will follow directions to create a “treasure map” that explores some of the most exciting exhibits at the Hunterian Museum, and then navigate your way back to the starting point to receive a prize for completing the mission! In addition to the fun of exploring the museum, you will learn valuable skills like how to navigate, how to estimate how far you’ve walked, and how to estimate the size of objects. This will be a great activity for anyone who loves exploring!

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

Lianne – I’d love to explore Indonesia

Gianluca – I would like to explore Japan

Annemarie – I’d like to explore Mars

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

Lianne – Constantly rethinking things you thought you understood

Gianluca – You are continuously challenged and therefore there is no time for over-confidence, you have always to put your ideas into discussion.

Annemarie – The best thing about being a scientist is being able to work out the solutions to problems that you’ve never encountered before and having a job in which you’re constantly learning new skills.

Join Lianne, Gianluca and Annemarie in the Hunterian Museum as part of Science Sunday on 18 June. For more details, visit the website

Glasgow Science Festival: A Fruitful Nudge

What makes a balanced diet? How can we persuade children to eat more healthily? Elena, Alison and Carmen are three University of Glasgow PhD students who will be sharing the latest research through fun activities as part of this year’s Science Sunday.

bty

1. Who are you and what do you do?

Elena – PhD student in Neuroscience and Psychology looking at what’s going on in our brain when we make food-related decisions.

Alison – PhD student in Molecular Cell and Systems Biology looking at mitochondria biogenesis.

Carmen – PhD student in Molecular Parasitology, studying the life cycle of Toxoplasma gondii – a tiny parasite that can infect and cause huge problems in humans.

2. Have you done public engagement before? What made you want to get involved?

Elena – Yes! I first started with science communication, and I now regularly write science mini-articles for theGist magazine. Last year I was part of the “Met the Expert” program at the Glasgow Science Centre, and I also helped running activities for Explorathon ’16 at the Museum of Transport. This year I am an event manager for Glasgow Pint of Science which is so much fun. It’s just so good to be out of the lab now and then, and to make science accessible to everyone through fun events!

Alison – No! This is my first time, I hope to do a lot more of it in the future starting with the GSF and hopefully some STEM ambassador activities in schools.

Carmen – This is my first experience of public engagement! As I progress through my PhD, I become more and more eager to share my work with the public, and try to make science more accessible and fun.

3. Describe your activity to us. Why should we come along?

Our activity will teach kids the importance of having a nutritionally balanced diet through a fun interactive game!

In the UK the EatWell Guide makes healthy eating easier to understand by giving a visual representation of the types and proportions of foods needed for a healthy and well balanced diet. With reference to the EatWell plate as an example of good balance between fruits, vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates, kids will learn what makes a well-balanced meal by building their own dinner plate.

Don’t Be Late Fill Your Plate begins with kids randomly selecting food groups by rolling a dice. During each round, they’ll have to pick foods from a food group in our fun-food-box to build their own plate. After seven dice rolls their plate will be complete, and they will have the chance to tell us whether it looks like a nutritionally good and balanced meal or unhealthy and unbalanced. At this point they will have the opportunity to add/swap foods to reach a healthier, colourful, yummy plate that looks more like the EatWell guide.

To calm the appetite after all that food handling, kids will be able to make their own healthy fruit lollipop before leaving the Fruitful Nudge station.

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

Elena – India! I would love to go for a proper Yoga retreat there, a change after all those western yoga YouTube sessions 😊

Alison – Mount Everest, I’ve recently started hillwalking and love the sense of achievement (don’t think my tiny legs would ever carry me up Everest though☹)

Carmen – I would love to explore the outer space, at least the Moon…

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

Elena – ‘Scientist’ will always sound clever, no matter what you do! Also travelling to conferences around the world presenting your research work to like-minded people is always a win.

Alison – Learning new skills and meeting lots of interesting people every week, never a dull moment in science.

Carmen – Being a scientist can be hard, but I love that I can organise my own experiments, and that there’s always the chance of learning something new through my mistakes…even if that can be frustrating sometimes!

Make your own healthy food place with Elena, Alison and Carmen at Science Sunday on 18 June. For full details, visit the website.

Glasgow Science Festival: Understanding Illusions

In today’s blog, we chat to Jaimie, Angela, Antonio and Abby – four PhD students from the University of Glasgow who are preparing to bring fun hands-on science to Glasgow Science Festival this June.

abby

1. Who are you and what do you do?

Jaimie – PhD Student in Psychology and I study what influences our social perceptions and interactions with others

Angela – I am a second year PhD student in mathematics. The focus of my research is to classify curves which look special at certain points.

Antonio – I am a PhD student in physics and astronomy. My main research is cosmology, which explores the history and evolution of the universe. My research topic is “dark matter” and gravitational lensing.

Abby – I am a PhD student in the nuclear physics research group at the University of Glasgow. My main research looks at how particles in the nucleus stick together. This kind of research will eventually contribute to materials science and medical physics – aside from teaching us more about the fundamental nature of the universe!

2. Have you done public engagement before? What made you want to get involved?

Jaimie – Yes I have, I like the idea of getting future generations interested and involved in science. Particularly giving back to the kind of communities I grew up in.

Angela – Yes, I have. The joy of encouraging young children about the real life applications of mathematics in our day to day activities.

Antonio – Yes, I have. I have been involved in several other activities. I’ve given talks because I like sharing with people all the things that are out there.

Abby- Yes, doing all sorts of activities, including hands-on experiments and talks. I want science to be seen as being available to everyone. Often, science can seem a little separated from society, when it is completely the opposite!

3. Describe your activity to us. Why should we come along?

How do you know when you are being tricked? How do you know what it is you are really seeing? Working upwards from learning how particles explain magic to understanding optical illusions and logic puzzles, we will talk about not only how, but what we are seeing when we look at the world around us.

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

Jaimie – My main interest is the psychology of human social interactions from an evolutionary standpoint. So I’m not just interested in how social processing works but why we are the way we are. I’m interested in exploring the human past to better understand humans today.

Angela – At Glasgow Science Festival, we’re going to explore the mathematics behind a game and how to compute the winning strategy. This activity will let us to explore how mathematics can be infused into fun activities.

Antonio –  One word: Space.

Abby – I want to explore what makes everything here. Fields and particles and how they form. They are the basis of what everything we interact with is made from and the reason the universe is the way it is. I see it as the baseline answer to  ‘why?’ for anything that can be imagined!

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

Jaimie – I guess for me the best part about being a scientist is that feeling of never really needing to grow up and losing that child-like sense of wonder and always asking “why?”

Angela – Being a scientist enables me to do research that can be applied in different fields of science. Concepts which purely look like mathematics on the surface usually have useful applications in other fields of study.

Antonio –  The best thing is the feeling of awe. When you interact and listen to other people’s research, you always learn something new, sometimes related with your area, and especially when you share similar knowledge which allows you to understand in a different depth the information they share.

Abby – It’s learning a truth as much as we can know one. It transcends humanity to being an innate understanding of the universe itself. Science gives us something to understand and allows the use of creativity, logic, travel, communications and more. It’s multi-faceted, constantly challenging and never boring.

Join Jamie, Angela, Antonio and Abby at Science Sunday on 18 June. For more details, visit the website.

Glasgow Science Festival: Tiny Worlds

Every year, University of Glasgow postgraduate students work with the festival team to develop brand new activities that inspire the next generation of scientists. We chatted to Jessica, Chiara and David, three PhDs students from the School of Science and Engineering.

The Group

1. Who are you and what do you do?

Jessica – I’m Jessica, a third year PhD student at the University of Glasgow. I work with Historic Environment Scotland to study sandstone decay of historic buildings.

Chiara –  I’m Chiara, first year PhD student at the University of Glasgow.  I work in the physics departmenent, where I help improving speed and quality of a special microscopy technique used to look at small animals and plants in 3D!

David – My name is David and I started my PhD at the University of Glasgow in October 2016. I am building a new type of microscope which will enable us to have a closer look into how the cells of our body function.

2. Have you done public engagement before? What made you want to get involved?

Jessica – I’ve been involved in Pint of Science and several other exhibitions. Catching people’s interest and spreading knowledge is in my opinion one of the most important tasks for a scientist.

Chiara – I had been involved in other outreach activities before, and I find it great for many reasons. It helps us learn to communicate what we do and be creative, and it is good for the community to have the chance to get involved in what we do, inspire us and maybe get inspired.

David – The science festival is my first public engagement activity. I want to get engaged because science has revealed so many exciting things about our world which I would like to share.

 3. Describe your activity to us. Why should we come along?

Have you ever wondered what a fly’s leg would look like if it was the size of a toothpick? Come and try our microscopes looking at some exciting samples! You can also test your knowledge on “tiny worlds” with our microscopy memory game. And since we are all working with microscopes ourselves, you can ask us more about how microscopy advances our understanding of the world in today’s science. We’ll show you how to build a portable microscope with just a few cheap objects that you probably already have in your house and we’ll explore with you how a small drop of water can make big things….and things big! We will have a microscopy game for the youngest as well, so bring along your whole family and have fun with us at our micro-stand!

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

Jessica – If possible, travel in time would be the coolest way to explore the past and future.

Chiara – I’d like to explore the space, being able to teleport myself everywhere I want and see what’s out there!

David – I’d like to explore the bottom of the ocean.

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

Jessica – The best thing about being a scientist is constantly learning new things about how the world is held together.

Chiara – Learning and experimenting new things all the time.

David – It is still possible to explore/do something no one has done or seen before and it never gets boring.

Join Jessica, Chiara and David at Science Sunday on Sunday 18 June. Free, drop-in. For more details, visit the website.

Science with a beer and a board game

Photo 1

Zombies, sci-fi, physics, chemistry, logic, maths. Something for everyone.

“Is this board game thing going to make me feel dumb?” My friend Kayla sent me this text after I had asked whether she and her mother wanted to join me for the ‘State of Play: Science Board Games’ event that was happening down at the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA). What started as an idea for a pleasant afternoon of beers, casual chit chat and aggressive table flipping quickly became about something much bigger: why are people so scared of the word ‘science’? While Kayla tried to assure me that her hesitation was because “I only expect horrible things from and with you,” (#besties), I was determined to dig a little deeper.

We arrived at the CCA, and after inspecting a mysterious pile of board games left at the foot of the steps, our inquisitive minds took us to the terrace bar where the event organisers, Iain and James, greeted us enthusiastically. “State of Play is a group of like-minded board game enthusiasts. We put on board game activities at festivals and events, and not just science festivals, also book festivals and even canal festivals! We’re keen to share our amazing hobby with people who may not know about modern board gaming, and we’re convinced that gaming is a great way to engage people of any age with a topic or field of study.”

Photo 2

You’re only as old as you feel. ‘Robot Turtles’ involves planning several moves ahead to get your turtles from A to B, which is a coding skill.

It looked as though we were the first to arrive and so had our pick of the mountain of games on offer. As we began scanning the titles on the boxes, I could see the fear surfacing on Kayla’s face as the thought of an afternoon spent playing ‘New science: The Giants upon whose Shoulders the World of Science Stands’ made her contemplate the life choices that had led her to agreeing to be my friend.

Iain was keen to help us pick our poison and rattled off a quick pitch of some of his favourites. After a brief screening process based on our logic of “this one’s heavy and so must have a lot of science in it,” Iain told us that we should play ‘Pandemic’, a game all about working together to contain a deadly virus outbreak. We swiftly ignored him, of course, in favour of ‘Robot Turtles’, “because they’re robot turtles, Alex!” And just like that, Kayla was home.

Photo 3

Some *ahem* “fairly” placed obstacles, all in good sportsmanship.

As the guests began setting up the game, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. Just maybe they would stick around long enough for me to get some half decent pictures, enough to trick people into thinking that they were actually having fun. It wasn’t long, however, until my fears vanished completely. This was my first time meeting Kayla’s mum, but the family resemblance was becoming clear. We were less than ten minutes in to the game, and already the two were inventing different ways they could bend the rules to get their turtles out of a tight spot. Twenty minutes in, and voices were raised in what was being dubbed “the cheating scandal of 2016” (remember kids, yellow flower turns your turtle left, purple flower right). Finally, we had hit family board game bliss, and I couldn’t have been happier.

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Cheating scandal of 2016 – the aftermath.

I began reflecting on what I had experienced with Kayla and her mum. As I had expected, everybody was having a great time, so why had Kayla been so apprehensive earlier? The point of the Glasgow Science Festival is to bring the public together with scientists, have fun and maybe learn a thing or two along the way. There’s no doubt that the festival has achieved this in spades, but still I’m often shocked by how many people attending these ‘public’ engagement events are actually scientists themselves. Herein lies the problem of ‘how do you engage with those that don’t want to be engaged?’

The turtles had been cleared away, and as Kayla basked in the glory of her victory, I was excited to see a new game being brought out, to the delight of the group. The game was ‘Cluedo’, but with some forensic science tweaking. “The twist we’ve made here is that after every round you get a card with a forensic science fact that also gives an extra instruction to the players,” Iain explained proudly. We also decided to do away with the painfully slow dice rolling and just take it in turns to make our deductions about who was responsible for Mr Black’s untimely fate while our playing pieces conducted their investigations from the comfort of the lounge.

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Investigating murders is tiring work, especially when you’re made of plastic.

Before the game was in full swing, I decided to press a little further into what my two companions thought so far. “I just think that the word science can seem a bit overwhelmingly daunting to someone with little to no experience with it,” Kayla admitted. “When you offer a science event or a science game, some people may be put off because they don’t know what type of science they will encounter.”

I asked them what exactly they were expecting when I asked them along to a science board game event. “I guess I thought it was gonna be some kind of science trivia game, with a bunch of scientists sitting around saying like ‘what’s the square root of 7225?’” Kayla laughed. “I’m not gonna lie, I thought that too,” her mother added.

Suddenly I was beginning to understand that it isn’t the presence of ‘science’ that makes these events sound unappealing to some, but the confusion about what the word science even means in the context of the event. Here we were playing with turtles, building towers and catching dinosaurs. You certainly don’t need a PhD to do that.

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Super-rhino! Players take turns building a monstrous tower block of cards, with no regard for planning permission. Like Jenga, but with more lawsuits.

We continued to sit and chat away with James, Iain and his kids as game after game was brought out. Before we knew it, our time was up. We had sat there playing games for the entire duration of the event. What was supposed to be a quick stop in for some pictures had turned in to three hours of fun.

As we gathered our things and gave our thanks to the team, I took the opportunity to ask Kayla whether her opinion of these “science things” I rave about, had changed. “I think this event helped me get over my fear of the word science a bit,” she began. “I feel that I’ve simply been writing off potentially awesome events only because

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‘N-tropy’ More wacky construction with architect-in-the-making David, where the dice roll determines how many of the previous sticks the one you place must touch.

they were labelled as science. I definitely will be less concerned about attending events labelled as science in the future.”

Be sure to check out State of Play’s City Builder event on Sunday 19 June 14:00-17:00 at the CCA terrace bar. These events are part of the wider Glasgow Science Festival schedule.

Can’t make it? Not to worry – The Antonine Board Gamers meet on the third Tuesday of every month in the Wheatsheaf Inn, Main Street, Torrance G64 – For more details contact Iain at  play@othergames.co.uk

Fun with DNA

DNA, the ‘building block of life’, is what makes us so alike yet so different. This molecule is the subject of three hands-on activities for families at this year’s Glasgow Science Festival, led by postgraduates Weronika, Lauren and Millie.

1.Who are you and what do you do?

Weronika

Weronika: My name is Weronika and I am currently working on a PhD project, which aims to design a quick and simple diagnostic test for hepatitis C virus.

Lauren

Lauren: My name is Lauren and I am currently working on a PhD project which aims to find new treatments for haemorrhagic stroke.

Milly

Milly: My name is Milly and I am currently a PhD student working on prostate cancer

2. Have you done public engagement before? What made you want to get involved?

Weronika: I have never done public engagement work before, but I thought that taking part in the Glasgow Science Festival would be a perfect opportunity. I genuinely like to try out different experiences and challenges and I always found the prospect of working with people exciting. There is nothing more rewarding than to engage with the public, especially non-scientific people as it helps to remind me why I love science so much.

Lauren: Glasgow Science Festival is my first public engagement work! I enjoy the challenge of trying to make relatively complex concepts more accessible to those without much prior knowledge of the subject. I think it is really important for children and young people to be exposed to the amazing work that is going on within the field at the moment. Sometimes it can be difficult to relate what is learned in the classroom to how this knowledge could be applied in real life and I think the Glasgow Science Festival gives current science students a fantastic opportunity to be able to forge this link and spark interest in the sciences!

Milly: Being a part of the Glasgow Science Festival Internship has been my first experience with public engagement. I find public engagement such an important part of research, allowing scientists to talk about their research and teach the public on relatively complicated topics in a much more understandable way. I got involved so I could help children understand science in a fun and creative way!

3. Describe your activity to us. Why should we come along?

Our activity is based around DNA and how each of us has our own unique changes to this DNA sequence which makes us, us! Through activities including building a DNA molecule from sweeties to catching a criminal and saving the Scottish Wildcat through DNA analysis, our activity will leave everyone with a greater appreciation for the importance of DNA technologies in our world today. Plus you will get a chance to gain some scientific knowledge in a fun, family-friendly way!

4. 2016 is Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. What innovation could you not live without?

Weronika: I definitely could not live without my smartphone. It allows me to send emails, read scientific articles and communicate with people. That definitely saves my time tremendously and not to mention space in my already overly large bag!

Lauren: I think my answer may be similar to many people – my smartphone! It is extremely helpful nowadays to be connected wherever you are – whether that be for work or keeping in touch with friends/family. I think you only realise how important your device is to your day to day life when you forget to charge it and your day seems to run much less efficiently!

Milly: The internet has to be the BEST innovation of all time. It allows me to keep in contact with people all over the world as well as keeping me up to date on research …. and shopping!

 5. Impress us with your favourite science joke or fact

There is enough DNA in an average person’s body to stretch from the sun to Pluto and back. 17 times.

Weronika, Lauren and Milly will be bringing fun science to the Science Sunday Big Birthday Bash on 19 June from 10:00-16:00 at the Hunter Hall, University of Glasgow.