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Become an ingenious engineer, fight viruses and learn about naked mole rats at Bradford Science Festival


A poster advertising Bradford Science Festival 2020, showing two children interacting with a display showing a magnified cell

University of Bradford wants to inspire youngsters at science festival

The University of Bradford is running a number of sessions at this year’s Bradford Science Festival to inspire youngsters.

The event (from October 24 to November 1) will take place at the National Science and Media Museum, with a series of physical events and online videos, including some from the engineering department.

There will be a whole host of activities, from displays, videos and activities to try at home, including learning how soap breaks down viruses, a minibeast garden hunt, a presentation on one of nature’s most intriguing mammals: naked mole rats, who live their entire lives underground and much more.

The University of Bradford’s remaining contributions include:-

Friday October 30, 10am-11am How to Make Bradford a Sustainable City, Amir Sharif, Professor of Circular Economy at the University of Bradford, will be in conversation with leading experts to explain and discuss key issues around sustainability and how it applies to Bradford and the wider region

Saturday, October 31, 10am-10.30am: Building Community Resilience Through Heritage: In this special edition of Research Matters, Professor of Pharmacology Marcus Rattray will look at the Fragmented Heritage project. Using VR with displaced communities in Jordan, the project has explored heritage as a tool to support health and wellbeing in difficult circumstances.

Drive to find more engineers

STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicines) ambassadors Joanna Wood, lead engineering technician and Steve Allan, senior engineering technician, have both been involved in the organisation of the event and want to get more children interested in engineering.

Joanna said: "This is about inspiring youngsters to take up engineering. I always enjoyed building things when I was younger and so this is about getting people interested from a young age. Many people think engineering is like being a car mechanic but it's much more than that."

The University can trace its history back to the foundation of the Mechanics Institute in 1832 - it was in part established because there was an urgent need for engineers to work in factories at the time.

Steve said: "Over the next 20 to 30 years, it's predicted there will be a shortage of engineers in this country. The University's own origins stem from the Industrial Revolution and the need for engineers. We want to inspire the engineers of the future."

Some of the experiments on show include first years university student projects in which they design, build and test turbine blades.

University of Bradford’s Dr Elaine Brown, Associate Professor in Mechanical and Process Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering & Informatics, said: “Engineers are responsible for solving problems to make life better. The word is very similar to ingenuity, both describe something or someone who is clever. Engineers make sure we have clean water, food, energy to power homes, schools, workplaces, helping us travel around using vehicles and roads, giving us places to live and work, designing medical tools; there are so many amazing and interesting jobs in engineering.

“We provide students with lots of practical experience in lab classes, so they can try things out and in the end come up with the best solution. If you are interested in becoming an engineer, it’s important to study maths and science but also other subjects, to become ingenious.”

Live highlights of this year’s festival will include a brand-new Scavenger Labs science show, raising awareness of the environmental and human consequences caused by the millions of tonnes of waste from disposable electronic consumer items produced every day. Visitors can also see a special screening of Black Panther with a Q&A and panel discussion in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Online there will be lots of fun activities for families to do at home, created in partnership with Aires Rivers Trust, University of Bradford, 50 things to do before you are 5, Born in Bradford and many more.


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