British Science Week runs from Friday 10 until Sunday 19 March 2017. It's a ten-day programme of science, technology, engineering and maths events taking place across the UK in hundreds of venues.
We caught up with our favourite local scientist, Phil Bell-Young (pictured), to find out what's happening in our local region.
Hi Phil. What's your role at the University of Hull?
My role, as a Science Outreach Officer, is basically to talk about science. Science often gets a bit of a bad reputation for being boring, too textbook orientated, or that you have to be “super smart” to get involved. This is of course not true and the best part about my job is that I get to explain why that is the case.
My role is to engage people with science but my goal is to inspire them to think differently about it. This takes many forms, such as exploring the science of superheroes, discovering the maths in magic, or simply talking about how scientific research has changed our understanding.
Can you tell us more about the Science Buskers?
Science Busking is exactly what it sounds like – science on the street. It combines concepts in science with lots of visual demonstrations, tons of audience participation and a touch of theatrics. In the past we have entertained audiences from all over the country through a range of acts, such as how to confuse your senses with blindfolds and sweets, how sound travels with the help of laser gun effect Slinkies, and even the incredible power of friction through a tug of war with books (spoiler alert – the books always win).
I’ve enjoyed science busking so much that I have helped to set up Hull's first group of buskerteers, known as the Hull Street Scientists. You can find out more about what we do and ask questions by following us on Twitter (@HullStreetSci) and following me (@Philby91).
Has science always been a passion of yours?
As a child, I was passionate about three things: discovery, handling anything I discovered, and more importantly asking questions about everything. This natural curiosity to discover the world around me led to the nickname Phil Oddie, after a popular TV presenter. It was also because of this curiosity that I found a lot of enjoyment learning about science at school, and it encouraged me to study Biological Sciences at the University of Hull after my A-levels.
A lot has changed in my life as I have grown older and gained "responsibilities". But the one thing that has seemed to remain constant throughout has been my passion for science as a means to understand the world around me.
What does British Science Week have in store for the people of Hull?
It’s a week of scientific entertainment and discovery. Most of the work we have planned for this week will mostly be with schools. However, fear not those whose schooldays are in the distant past, as we are planning some public events for later in the year.
This year's BSW theme is penguins. Will your activity incorporate them in any way?
Let's face it, penguins are awesome and part of me would love to incorporate penguins in everything that I do. But not just because of their physical cuteness or whimsical personality. Penguins, like all animals, are fascinating creatures that have complex social and behavioural interactions and exhibit remarkable evolutionary traits which, for certain species, have allowed them to survive in one of Earth’s harshest environments... Antarctica.
Most of my activities with schools throughout British Science Week will mostly focus on giving insight into multiple topics in science and mathematics. as well as the importance of asking questions. Without giving too much away, I can confirm that penguins will feature in my shows.
How can the public get involved with science at Hull Uni during the rest of the year?
We are running all sorts of different activity, as well as attending events in and around Hull and the East Riding. For example, there is the Hull Science Festival in April, the Pint of Science Festival will be coming to Hull again in May, and you can see us at events such as the Freedom Festival in September.
For more information, feel free to follow us on twitter (@HullUniScience or @UniofHull) or get in touch with us at Science.Outreach@Hull.ac.uk.
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