What we did in Spring 2019

Spring 2019

2019 has been an exciting time for Science Made Simple so far. With new staff joining the team, and a host of new interesting projects to get started on, everyday is bringing something new for us to work on. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track! So here’s a quick roundup of some of our highlights from 2019 so far.

 

Grace

The first of our new recruits. Grace quickly got to grips with her first show, Bubbles and Balloons. She took her first solo trip to the royal mint, engaging with three groups of mixed ages in workshops throughout the day.

A week later she assisted Becky in providing training for researchers at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. Finishing a Phd in Biochemistry recently herself, “I’ve just come from being one of them.”

The next stop was north wales, heading to Llandudno for a double whammy of shows, Bubbles and Balloons, and Music to Your Ears. Grace smashed it, presenting to 400 young people in the first show and 300 for the second.

Jack

Our other new recruit, Jack, did his first show for the Tomorrow’s Engineers project. A couple of road trips to Derby later and Jack had presented all things engineering to almost two hundred year nines.

He was straight onto his next show, this time for a younger audience, Izzy’s Incredible Adventure. Talking and doing experiments all about transport!

In the meantime he’s dabbled into some video editing to help produce some videos of the Cardiff MSc Science Communication Students who told us all about some fascinating science, and had some great props and demos to help explain it!

Wendy

Wendy’s recent highlight was her opportunity to present in collaboration with London Philharmonic orchestra in their Funharmonics family concert: Conducting science, voice box. Getting to learn to play a boomwhacker accompaniment with the royal philharmonic orchestra, and explaining some of the science behind our voices with a giant whoopee cushion! She also got the chance to present one of our show, The XX Factor on international women’s day for Women’s Equality Network Wales, it couldn’t have fit better!

David

Leading our international charge this month was David. A seasoned science busker, he’s been passing on his knowledge and skills to a group of Ecologists in Zurich. This is the end of a three year program helping researchers get their research out to the public by hitting the streets.

One research project caught David’s eye in particular, featuring one of his favourite birds, Red Kites. With her own artwork in hand, the researcher challenged passers by to count the mice in the picture, opening up discussion about how changing landscapes can affect Red Kite populations.

Closer to home, David’s Irish tour started with adversity, just out of Dublin the van broke down. And if that wasn’t enough, he’d almost run out of liquid nitrogen. The situation was dire indeed, but thanks to the lovely people at Maynooth University (shout out to Andrew Meechan!) they got David back on the road and topped up with the cold stuff.

“It was great to see science communicators from different organisations coming together to help each other out.”

The rest of the tour went smoothly, after covering 2000 miles and performing sixteen shows over the week, David took a well earned rest!

Gaz

Joining David in Ireland, Gaz was lucky enough to go without any van based disasters. Presenting one of our favourite shows, Izzy’s Incredible Adventure, but renamed in honour of Alice Perry, the first woman in Ireland to graduate with a degree in engineering.

Gaz showed his dedication to science communication next, missing the wales grand slam to work with the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies at the University of Bath. Designing interactive props, including a hydrogen rocket with a cheaper more sustainable way for hydrogen gas generation. The researchers had building the props down to a fine art, usually Gaz’s speciality. “It was a treat for me, I didn’t even have to get my tools out.”

Working with the same researchers later in the month, this time focusing on presenting to a camera, and evaluating the sort of interactive props already out in the world with a trip to “We the Curious” a science centre in Bristol.

Rachel

Rachel got to travel the furthest of everyone, and was all the way to Hyderabad, India, to participate in one of the first meeting of the UKRI GCRF Action against Stunting Hub. Read more about this here.

Joining Gaz at the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technology, Rachel saw some of the renewable sources that could be used instead of oil based products.

Becky

Presenting one of her favourite engineering show Cradle to Grave, at the Tank Museum for Big Bang Dorset. Becky got to show off her seemingly unlimited pool of energy, presenting this show four times back to back, with brilliant engagement for all the audiences, and the venue staff getting engaged too!

The exciting news of the black hole image tied in nicely with another of Becky’s shows. Just the day after she presented our superheros show, and talked about Haley Gomez, a astronomer from Cardiff and shared her excitement for the amazing things that science and scientists can achieve!

Ruth

sms presenter Ruth Perkings with BSL Interpreter Sarah Barnes. CC-BY-K.Cope

Last but certainly not least we have Ruth. Her highlight has been the opportunity to work with a group of schools that have incorporated deaf units.

She’s loved the chance to work with these school and adapt our shows so that they can be even more accessible to everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s to the rest of 2019! It’s going to continue being an exciting year!!

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