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Discover 2012

One of the main reasons I haven’t posted for a while is that all my spare “communication” time and energy (and more!) have gone into organising exhibits for a public engagement event this week: “Discover 2012”, part of National Science and Engineering Week.

These things always take much more work than you initially think…. Virtually all our exhibits are new this year. We’ve got three tables of the 22 at the event, and have gone a bit overboard in the number of exhibits to create redundancy: inevitably some break and go wrong on the day, or aren’t so successful with the public once you test them.

My friend and colleague Jenny Griggs has helped me with all the organising. About nine of us have designed the exhibits, with technical and practical support from our department (Geographical Sciences), and 37 of us – mostly post-doctoral researchers and PhD students – from Geography, Earth Sciences, Engineering and Maths to demonstrate the exhibits.

Anyway, I thought I’d show you what I’ve been up to and advertise it here. Needless to say, if you are in or near Bristol please do come along. I’m on shift tomorrow morning and also around at the end of Saturday.

Discover 2012

For National Science and Engineering Week

This Thursday to Saturday, 8th-10th March 2012, from 9am-6pm, The Galleries (Broadmead), Bristol, UK

Press release:

Ocean acidification

Carbon dioxide from fossil fuels is not only causing climate change but also making the oceans more acidic.

Race against your friends to make your water more acidic by blowing through a straw!

Try making sea shells bend and fizz with vinegar.

See how burning candles makes the surface of our “ocean” more acidic.

Climate quiz

Our well-loved interactive quiz about the earth, geography, weather and climate. Free sticker for taking part, “gold” sticker if you get to the end!

Ice is cool

Find out how ice comes in different kinds and different places in the world…even South America!

How much of our iceberg has melted? Has it changed the “sea level” in our tank?

Antarctic ice flow

Did you know ice can flow like a liquid? Our “slime” is like liquid ice. Be a scientist for a moment (with your own lab coat!) and race the liquid ice to the edge of Antarctica.

Antarctic explorers

What did Scott and his team wear in Antarctica? What do scientists wear there now?

See photographs and a children’s book about Scott’s expedition, and how different modern Antarctic expedition clothes are (on a mannequin!).

Greenland E-tracers

Scientists at Bristol throw detectors that look like Christmas baubles (“E-Tracers”) down holes in Greenland to measure water underneath the ice. Sometimes they get lost…

Throw your own E-tracer down a hole in our “glacier” – which one will come out first? Or will it ever come out…?

“Film trailer” and documentaries

Electronic tracers – a spoof film trailer and 3 film clips about E-Tracers.

Life on the Ice – a documentary about a group of scientists (including University of Bristol glaciologists!) spending three weeks in the world’s most northerly town.


Do come along!