The fossil record of life on earth, the science behind our Olympic hopefuls and the psychology behind governmental decision-making are just some of the highlights of Northumbria’s events at the 2012 Newcastle Science Festival.
This year, for the first time, Northumbria is playing a leading role in the festival with participation in almost half of all festival events and representation from almost every School.
The week-long programme features a mix of exhibitions, performance, special events, lectures and debates.
At one of the events featuring or hosted by Northumbria academics, Dr Jason Ellis and his team from the world’s first ecologically valid sleep centre ,will discuss the science of sleep. They will examine the concept of ‘social jetlag’ and will seek to offer ways to ensure effective rest in our increasingly demanding 24/7 lives.
In The Science of Decision Making guest speaker Alistair Campbell, strategist and spokesman for the Labour government, will join Prof. Kenny Coventry, Director of the Cognition and Communication Research Centre in the School of Life Sciences to discuss what makes a strong leader and how making the right decision swiftly can reduce pressure for business leaders. Together they will link the theoretical science of ‘decision making’ with practical examples. As well as giving an insight into the psychological processes behind the choices we make, the event offers an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at how those with responsibility for national and international policy come to the decisions which impact on us all.
Following the recent appearance of the Northern lights across the region, Dr James Mclaughlin and Dr Gary Verth’s lecture entitled: The Sun and its effect on the Earth, will explore how phenomena such as solar flares and eruptions can impact on the earth – and specifically on space travel. Following the lecture, guests will have the opportunity to visit the Centre for Life for a ‘Live-skies’ planetarium show.
A presentation by Freddie Yauner, a lecturer in the School of Design, will feature an exhibition of mirrors in the City Library which seeks to offer a perspective on decision-making for those suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Explaining the exhibition, Freddie said: “The installation is designed to allow those interacting to feel empathy for the uncertainty experienced by people with MS.”
Elsewhere at the festival, as the Olympics come to the UK, a range of events will consider the science behind sporting excellence, exploring how nanotechnology and ‘smart’ materials can help to turn our athletes into gold medal winners and how sports science innovations are being used to improve performance.
Lucy Winskell, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Region Engagement and Partnerships, said: “This year Northumbria is playing a key role in ScienceFest with the aim of both celebrating and improving understanding of the world around us.
“As ScienceFest is all about showcasing science and the impact it has on people’s lives, it provides the perfect platform for Northumbria to demonstrate its commitment to conducting meaningful research that makes a difference to people’s lives.”
Other attractions include a special Teddy bears picnic - which will explore how the fossil record of life on earth can be interpreted using gradualist and catastrophist based readings and an opportunity to visit the University’s state-of-the-art Clinical Skills Centre at Coach Lane where guests can see how the clinic’s SIM man and SIM baby are used to simulate heart and lung rhythms. For those attending on the 9 March, there will also be an opportunity to experience the operating theatre and anaesthetic room.
Further details about the 2012 Newcastle Science Festival are available for their website at www.newcastlesciencefest.co.uk to download PDF version of the brochure, go to www.newcastlesciencefest.co.uk/programme.html.
Date posted: February 29, 2012