Cambridge Science Centre

 

Cambridge Science Centre prepares for Science Xchange

Written on 17 Oct 2011 in Press Release

Cambridge UK, 17 October 2011: The founders of the Cambridge Science Centre invite the public, the press and schools to the Science Xchange event on Sunday October 23.

This event, taking place at The Guildhall in the heart of the historical city of Cambridge, aims to launch the Cambridge Science Centre initiative by giving the public a sense of what a science centre in Cambridge would be like. It will fill two large rooms, one a gallery space of art, short talks and coffee science, the other an exploration hall stuffed with experiments, interactives, and a huge Heath Robinson / Rube Goldberg type chain reaction. This event is founded on strong relationships that the Cambridge Science Centre team has built into the local community and school networks.

“Individuals, artists, teachers, university departments, science outreach groups, research organisations, and corporate sponsors have all stepped up to help us put this event together. There really is a great desire for hands-on science in Cambridge all year round”, said Dr. Katia Smith Litiére, co-founder of the Cambridge Science Centre. “Organising the Science Xchange event is helping us build the community we need to create a wonderful public science centre for Cambridge.”

In the gallery adults and families will get to explore the relationship between art and science. Some of the works by UK artists include intricate protein-based textiles by Jenny Langley, a stunning collection of images by world famous photomicrograph artistSpike Walker and a (completely sterilized) antique patchwork quilt by Anna Dimitriu stained with MRSA bacteria and patterned with clinical antibiotics. Significant international artists are also on show such as Zigelbaum + Coelho, USA whose interactive lighting installation of magnetic physical pixels is being flown in from Boston.

The short talks from 1:00pm to 3:00pm will be in the intimate gallery setting and they let visitors engage with thought leaders in a wide range of topics, from Professor Dame Athene Donald on the issue of how to make more children, especially girls, feel that science is relevant to them to Dr. Fernán Federici on how synthetic biology will change the way we think about architectural design.

In the great hall next to the gallery, visitors are welcomed into a space of activity and visual wonder where they can play around with a 12 foot tall wind tunnel, beautiful light mixing technology, a table of particularly muscular ants, and an array of powerful microscopes. They can also show off their creative design and engineering talent by helping in the construction of the CAMBRIDGE MACHINE chain reaction. With Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge pulling the starting string at 3:30pm, visitors can witness their contributions to the mayhem as dominos fall, bottles spill, paper bridges collapse, mousetraps snap, and air rockets launch in a massive chain reaction running around the Guildhall. The CAMBRIDGE MACHINE will include sections installed by schools and after-school groups from around Cambridge who have been working on their contraptions for several weeks.

"We've been working closely with the Cambridge Science Centre team over the past few months and we are delighted to be a supporter of their Science Xchange event" said Elizabeth Crilly, Director of STEM Team East. "A science centre in Cambridge would be a wonderful resource for the volunteers and teachers who are committed to rounding-out STEM education. Cambridge would really benefit from a well appointed publicly-accessible lab for students, a place for students to get a hands-on understanding of the relationship between STEM learning and career opportunity, and the chance for STEM Ambassadors and STEM companies to contribute to science exhibit development."

One of the aims of the Cambridge Science Centre initiative is to merge the sciences and arts to create an attractive and engaging space for people of all ages. It will be a resource not just for the public, but also a space for teachers to help inspire their pupils and themselves. The Science Xchange event has really helped engage the Cambridge Science Centre organizational team with the network of local schools.

"The science teacher community in Cambridgeshire is excited by the prospect of a Cambridge Science Centre", said Ian Harvey, Head of Biology, Hills Road Sixth Form College. "A permanent space with talks, exhibits and workshops would greatly enhance and enrich our delivery of the STEM curriculum and add the "wow" factor. The Science Xchange event on October 23rd should open the eyes of teachers and students as well as the wider community to the opportunities which a Cambridge Science Centre could
offer."

The Science Xchange event is free of charge and open to the public from 11:00am - 4:00pm on Sunday October 23rd. It is sponsored directly and in-kind by Microsoft Research Ltd, MedImmune, and Carl Zeiss UK along with several other companies and research organizations. Bookings are not necessary. More can be found on the website at: www.cambridgesciencecentre.org/xchange.