Science gets creative with ECOS events

MANCHESTER Met is using its elite science research to underpin some fantastic events for the European City of Science this month.  From microbiology to musculo-skeletal activity and ageing to materials, people of all ages will be able to immerse themselves in the wonders of science. The events cross disciplines and faculties, and range from research showcases through to collaborations between science and art, poetry, literature, dance, fashion and food

Joanna Verran, Professor of Microbiology, has developed an eclectic mix of events that place the importance of microorganisms at its core, the first of which is Microbiology and Art being held at Number 70 Oxford Street. This event will allow people to learn about sci-art collaborations and microbiology with a number of specialists from different disciplines.

Emerging Infectious Literatures will be a panel discussion considering the relationship between public awareness and fear of infectious disease, in the context of disease in fiction. Is fiction feeding, or feeding from, that fear? Might fiction help us to address public understanding of issues associated with infectious disease?

The Bad Bugs Bookclub comprises scientists and non-scientists reading and discussing novels where infectious disease forms part of the plot, with this special event looking at Cordyceps, the  ‘zombie fungus’ and its representation in M. R. Carey’s novel ‘The Girl with all the Gifts’, and Naughty Dog’s action-adventure survival horror video game ‘The Last of Us’.

The ‘Science of Me’, is a workshop being held at the Arndale Centre that offers participants the opportunity to learn more about research focusing on the human body. Researchers including Sarah Grogan, Moi Hoon Yap, Leah Greene and Fiona Wilkinson will use age-appearance facial morphing enabling people to view realistic images of the ageing effects of smoking and sun tanning on their own faces, and make lifestyle changes.

The public will also explore how ageing affects our ability to complete physical tasks, and how changes in our physical abilities relate to alterations in skeletal muscle structure and function. There are also experiments designed to reveal how strength and postural control alter as we age.

The Wonderbox comprises a series of activities and materials that will be placed in an educational ‘box’, which will be distributed to 100 schools in the Greater Manchester area.  The box contents include coated materials produced by Professor Peter Kelly, Head of the Surface Engineering Group at Manchester Met, and a key member of the Advanced Materials and Surface Engineering research group. Prof Kelly’s expertise enables well characterised coatings to be deposited on surfaces, which change the surface properties and applications, for example strength, corrosion resistance, cleanability and photocatalytic activity.

The Wonderbox project is led by the Museum of Science and Industry, and is part of the outreach activity for their Wonder Materials exhibition. The outreach project will eventually tour the world and encourage a new generation of scientists to explore how materials work in everyday life. Manchester Met’s contribution to the project  was led by Dr Sam Illingworth.

All of these events have been designed to engage with non-experts and show how our research will impact in their personal and professional lives.

Follow @MMUEngage on Twitter to keep up with all the events.