Ed's Blog / Students Blogs

First day at the British Science Festival by Ed

Well my first day here in Aberdeen started off with a little disappointment as my first talk “Genes and Health: Is a little knowledge a good or a bad thing” was cancelled”. Not put off I scoured the programme for an alternative and luckily found “Meet the Expert”.

This was a morning workshop run by employees from Glasgow’s Science Centre, and was designed to offer advice, tips and training on effective public engagement in science. The guys running it (apologise but I forget their names) were fantastic and really gave some great ideas and examples of how to effectively engage all types of audiences.

After a swift lunch I attended a talk by Simon Watt from Channel 4s “Inside Natures Giants”. Using footage not used in the tv programme he talked through the various animals dissected on the show, from giraffes to crocodiles, describing how the anatomy of each species and how this benefits survival. It was a great talk aimed at a very wide audience but still providing enough scientific content to keep more able audience members interested.

Following quite an intense discussion with Dinesh about science and religion we attended Simon’s second talk of the day (I honestly wasn’t stalking him!). This talk was called “Sperm Warfare”. In a rather sex heavy lecture Simon described many devious ways in which both humans and animals ensure their genes are passed on to the next generation. There were some great dinner table facts like, the Southern Right Whales testicles weigh half a tonne! Or how about next time you give your loved one a rose, your actually giving them the “over exuberant sex organs of a plant”. It was a fantastic talk and I found it fascinating how the same traits seen in animals could also be translated across into humans, male peacocks have beautiful tail feathers to attract mates, human males flash their cash!

This evening I’m going to “The Festival of the Spoken Nerd” which promises to be an evening of science and comedy? Yes!


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