It’s Biology today with a visit to the zoology museum with Ed for interactive demonstrations on DNA, protein and bees. I learned how to extract my DNA and how to identify bees. There were many more exciting workshops and demos.
I then met Tyrano, a large dinosaur that was creeping around campus driving kids mad with excitement (or was he hunting them?). I saw an amazing talk given by John Hutchinson on “The surprising secrets of giant land animals.” We looked at fossil evidence of dinosaur gaits and modern films of elephant movement. It appears that elephants and rhinos are quite capable of moving at great speed although not so good at bouncing. There was an interacting gaming session where we saw what it was like to be a triceratops in the late cretaceous. The amazing secret is that giant land animals are extremely fragile and vulnerable due to their large size. Over 50% of elephants in captivity die of foot disease.
“How the zebra got its stripes” was a question that wasn’t really answered in Andrea Sella’s interactive talk on chemistry. However, we did learn about different kinds of reactions and the amazing fact that the answer might have been discovered not by a biologist, but by a computer scientist: Alan Turing. It remains to be confirmed if he was right.
“Dark matters” were discussed in the comedy sketch by Andrew Pontzen and Tom Whyntie. It was very refreshing and an interesting way to bring science to the general public. However, it also showed the darker side of academia with how trends and fashions in the scientific community influences research and sometimes forces innovative theories out of the academic discussion.
To top it all off, an amazing talk by Richard Wiseman on psychology and how to have “Sweet dreams.” He started off with some magic tricks and slowly drew us into the amazing world of psychology and how psychologists are studying dreams. Spoiler alert: we’ve come a long way in dream study since Freud. It was an amazing talk and I think got a lot of people thinking on the importance of psychology and how it can help us understand the human condition.