Nicky's Blog / Students Blogs

Day two at the festival with Nicky

Second day of the festival and it is still going great. I had fewer talks today but enjoyed them all. Firstly I had a talk with University of Glasgow staff about malaria and sleeping sickness in Parasites and Me. The presenters were very clear in their explanations without sacrificing the true science behind the areas. Did you know there are 106 countries with malaria prevelance and it previous affected the UK before all the swamps were drained. Over half the worlds population is at risk with 1 million deaths each year

 That is the equivalent to a jumbo jet crash every 3 hours. Fascinating is the fact that in one feed, a female mosquito drinks the equivalent of us drinking a bath tub of liquid! To find out more yourself read the malaira comic at

Following this was the Isambard Kingdom Brunel Award lecture about the ethics and technology of seeing through clothes. In particularly Dr Tim Drysdale was referring to the scanning systems in airports. It was a great lecture, again clearly explained for these who have no background in the area with the option to provide your opinions through an electronic voting system. From giving information about how they work to the first systems used to the latest technologies. It was all fascinating.

After lunch it was a visit to see Michael Moseley, a BBC producer and presenter of various shows including Walking with Dinosaurs. The talk largely concentrated on the production of factual television programmes; describing how idea evolve into programmes the public will want to watch. It was a useful lecture to see some of the vast amount of work that goes into even short, half hour programmes. And about his fascination with scientists willing to use themselves as test subjects to prove their theories, which started with the story of Barry Marshell who drank a highly concentrated solution of Helicobacter pylori to prove his theory that they caused stomach ulcers.

The day was ended with conversations between humans and animals. Firstly, this was discussing the possibility that animals have emotions and feelings and what implications this has for captivity. Then an interesting talk on humans who are able to imitate bird calls and use this to their advantage when bird watching; finishing with the relationships between humans and plants and how we interact with the natural world.

Overall a good day of talks with one final event, Bright Ideas. This involved a group of PhD students describing their work in the form of jokes. Alot harder than you may think. But everyone of them was brilliant and a great evening of laughter. If your interested, more can information can be found here:


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