A major science public engagement event at the Excel centre in London in September 2017
New Scientist Live! Is a major science public engagement event at the Excel centre in London in September 2017, which showcased a wide range of UK science innovations, with examples ranging from astronomy to microbiology. the SBRC Nottingham and associated NIBB – C1net hosted a stand with hands on activities showcasing the various stages involved in our research to go from concept to finished product.
We started with an interactive computer model of a biochemical pathway, developed by members of the SBRC computational team – which allowed people to decide how they would alter a pathway to produce the required end product. Next was a Don Whitley anaerobic cabinet that people could try, to give them an idea of what working in these cabinets was really like with kids queuing up for this exhibit on the weekend, it was certainly a major draw to the stand. Then there was a microscope showing what these bacteria actually look like, followed by a mini bioreactor to help explain how this process could be scaled up. Finally we had some examples of potential products, such as a model tyre and fuel tank, to demonstrate where the C1 compounds could end up after the bacteria had converted them into useful chemicals.
At the event itself we were helped by many wonderful volunteers, who all demonstrated their enthusiasm and passion for science in their conversations, convincing possible sceptics about the benefits of our research. With over 30,000 visitors attending over the 4 day event, there was certainly plenty of opportunity to reach lots of people. We had interest from a diverse range of backgrounds including; current scientists, potential future Nottingham students, children who we helped inspire with future possibilities and even artists and the media, who could help spread our research message even further.