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Discovering science in St Andrews

What is the hidden history of life?  How would you have looked like if you were born a member of the opposite sex?  And what do we know about the ups and downs of the Earth’s temperature and climate in the past?

These questions – and many more – will be explored when National Science and Engineering Week is celebrated with an interactive festival in St Andrews from 7th to 14th March.

University students and staff will welcome visitors to the worlds of psychology, science and technology with a series of scientific displays and demonstrations.  All events are free, fun, hands-on and suitable for all the family.

The week will kick-off with a Science Discovery Day on Saturday 7th March, held in the School of Physics and Astronomy on the North Haugh.

Activities will include observing the night sky in the middle of the day, using advanced face morphing techniques, examining the records of past climate and environmental change and exploring the psychology of everyday life.

All events demonstrate how widely science influences the world we live in and will run from 10 am to 3 pm.

Organiser Paul Gardner said, “This is an invitation to attend an open day of public lectures, posters and interactive displays highlighting the contribution of scientific research to society today and providing an ideal opportunity for those who are interested in science or are keen to learn more about what scientific research has to offer.

“Building on the success of last year’s event we again invite local schools, colleges and townspeople from throughout Fife to our contribution to National Science and Engineering Week.  This will also allow the general public and, in particular, young people to talk to key figures in science.”

On Saturday night, (March 7th) the University’s Astronomical Observatory will be open for ‘Star Gazing’ from 6 pm to 9 pm.  Visitors will have the opportunity to see two teaching telescopes including the largest working telescope in the UK and interact with professional astronomers to see simulations of stars forming.

On March 14th, The Bell Pettigrew Natural History Museum will be open from 12 noon to 5 pm.  Visitors can come and find out about specimens from throughout the world mostly acquired during the heyday of the Victorian age when collecting was all the rage.  The museum, with original cases and superb mosaic floor is a valuable survivor from a bygone age.

Other activities during the week include a special lecture on “Darwin’s Lost World – searching for the hidden history of life” by Dr Martin Brasier, Professor of Palaeobiology from the University of Oxford.  The public lecture, in School VI, St Salvator’s Quadrangle, at 5pm on Wednesday 11th March will cover the adventures and the discoveries of early life.

The event is part of National Science and Engineering Week – a 10-day celebration of science and engineering happening all around the UK.

National Science and Engineering Week runs from 6-15 March 2009. For further information, activities and an online programme of events, visit www.st-andrews.ac.uk/events/ or www.nsew.org.uk

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS:

Paul Gardner is available for interview on Tel: 01334 462075 or email: plg@st-andrews.ac.uk

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona Armstrong, Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 462529, Mobile: 07730 415 015 or Email: fa12@st-andrews.ac.uk
Ref:  NSEW 060309
View the latest University press releases at www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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