Ancient Biotics

Ancient Biotics – Using Historical Manuscripts to Find Modern Cures   Earlier in the year I wrote about Freya Harrison, a microbiologist and Research Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences at Nottingham University, who was raising money, as part of the Ancient Biotics project, to fund research on a potentially new (old) antibiotic able to kill, the so-called hospital superbug, MRSA (Methycillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). You can read the old article here if you want.

The Big Bang Fair 2015

The Big Bang Fair at the NEC is the biggest STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) event for schools in Britain. This year just over 68,000 visitors attended, and we got to see quite a few of them.

An Antibiotic from Bald’s Leech Book

Freya Harrison, a microbiologist and Research Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences at Nottingham University, is using the Crowdfunding site to help raise money into research on an antibiotic from the 1100 year old Bald’s Leechbook, an Anglo-Saxon medical compendium.

Experiment with the Vikings

Experiment with the Vikings In November 2014 we were commissioned to write a primary school resource called Experiment with the Vikings for the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). The aim was to include relevant STEM activities for primary schools teaching a topic about the Vikings.

Three Parent Babies and Mitochondrial Disease

Three Parent Babies and Mitochondrial Disease Update:  MPs approve the human fertilisation regulations by 382 votes to 128 – a majority of 254. So common sense wins, although, I think, the number of no votes shows just how scientifically illiterate a large number of our politicians are. But very good news.   I’ve been following the debate about the so-called three parent babies with interest. In case anyone doesn’t know about it, it’s like this: Some women have faulty mitochondria in their eggs. Mitochondria are the organelles that supply energy, in the form of the chemical ATP, for the cell. … Continue reading

Vikings and STEM

What have Vikings and STEM got to do with each other? Well, I have a dream, and that is to get Vikings into the Big Bang fairs and STEM fairs all over the UK. This might seem rather far-fetched, but it’s not as silly as it seems. You see, a big reason the Vikings were so successful was because of their technology. Their engineering skills were impressive, and the Viking Longship was a revolutionary design that enabled them to cross the Atlantic and discover North America 500 years before Columbus. Viking Navigation relied upon knowledge of astronomy. Their weapons needed great skill in metallurgy … Continue reading

Reopening of the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven

Professor Boffin, the local Cumbrian professor of Fun Science, was at the opening of the new Sellafield Gallery as part of the new revamped Beacon Museum in Whitehaven at the end of May. However, if you look at the local media you wouldn’t realise it, as they were all squawking on about that Professor Brian Cox bloke off the telly. He did a couple of talks about particle physics and stuff, but who wants to hear all that guff from some boring bloke with shiny teeth off the telly, when you could be learning about Fun Science you can do … Continue reading

School Visits vs. School Visitors – Which is Best?

I suppose the proper answer is, it depends. School visits can be expensive and time consuming to organise. You might have to get cover for teachers and assistants away on the visit. Also, you have to justify whether the children will actually learn much from their visit. Bringing in an unknown visitor can be a lot cheaper, but is sometimes a riskier proposition.   On the plus side, you will often be visiting a venue that is well known and has a good reputation for being geared towards school visits. However, time spent travelling to and from the venue can … Continue reading

British Science Festival 2013 Feedback

We’ve just had the official feedback from the British Science Festival Young People’s Programme and the results are better than we could have hoped. The section about the student feedback starts with: “Overall the Fire Show was the most popular activity with both KS2 and 3 pupils. The comments highlight that the spectacular demonstration, links to everyday materials and general air of danger were hugely engaging.” Analysis of the feedback forms shows that 41.3% of KS2 pupils and 47.0% of KS3 pupils said The Fire Show was their favourite thing at the festival. The pupils were asked if they found … Continue reading