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From Tolkien’s map to sea monsters

Want to hear how the dramatic landscapes in the Lord of the Rings trilogy were formed, or learn about the science of golf and sea monsters?

Whether you’re eight or 80, your definition of ‘science’ will be tested by the University of St Andrews as part of National Science Week (11-20 March 2005), with an impressive range of talks, demonstrations and activities – all free of charge.

The activities are being hosted in conjunction with the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science).

Events include an evening with Professor Richard Dawkins, science broadcaster, author and Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. Professor Dawkins and his wife, former Dr Who actress Lalla Ward, will present a ‘double act’ consisting of readings from his latest book, The Ancestor’s Tale. The event takes place at Younger Hall, North Street, St Andrews at 7.30pm, Thursday 10 March (doors open 6.45pm).

Meanwhile, the stunning landscapes of New Zealand were an incredibly dramatic setting for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But what are the geological stories behind the deep valleys and impressive mountains that Frodo, Sam and Gollum travelled across on their journey? Staff from the School of Geography and Geosciences will give an illustrated geotour of New Zealand, its geology and landscape, and the intriguing geological stories behind the locations used in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The event will take place in Lecture Theatre School III, St Salvator’s Quad, North Street, St Andrews at 5.15pm, Wednesday 16 March 2005.

The science of golf will also be explored. Dr Steve Otto of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club will give an illustrated insight into modern golf equipment and the science behind it. The event will take place at Lower College Hall, St Salvator’s Quad, North Street, St Andrews at 6.30pm, Wednesday 16 March 2005.

A number of walks are also taking place including a walking tour investigating local evidence of ancient earthquakes and sand ripples 350 million years old. This will be conducted by Richard Batchelor from the School of Geography and Geosciences (meet outside the Aquarium on The Scores, St Andrews at 11am on Sunday 13 March 2005).

Over 18’s are also invited to view Videodrome: A Sci-Fi Film, billed as ‘way weirder than the X Files’. This will be shown at Lecture Theatre School III, St Salvator’s Quad, North Street, St Andrews on Monday 14 March – 7.30-10pm.

For the younger generation, a workshop aimed at six to eight year olds will highlight ‘fantastic food’ – St Andrews Museum, Kinnesburn Park on Saturday 19 March from 2-3.30pm. Pre-booking required – telephone Gavin Grant on 01334 412690.

And visitors can find out how scientists work out how many giant animals there are in the sea by trying their hand at a computer- simulated whale survey game and hearing about the hard science behind stories of sea monsters. Venue – School of Physics and Astronomy, North Haugh, St Andrews – Saturday 19 March – 11am- 3pm.

Saturday Science Discovery Days are also being held – the first on 12 March in the Bute Medical School and the second on 19 March in the School of Physics and Astronomy.

The first will involve talks, demonstrations and hands-on activities involving a range of academic departments and schools from Classics to Biology. Visits to the fascinating Bell-Pettigrew Museum will run throughout the day while, upstairs, there will be demonstrations for budding marine biologists. Visitors can examine creatures from the Eden estuary, compare their voices to those of local dolphins, watch sperm whales feeding and try their skills at “Spot the Difference¿ – matching seals’ identities from pictures.

The second will let visitors go inside a bubble, kaleidoscope and/or planetarium. Visitors can explore the science of music, examine fossils and rocks, discover ideas of population biology and create chemical compounds.

And if you’re looking for something a little more restful, how does the brain respond to poetry? What can we learn about differences between poetry and prose by measuring patterns of eye and brain activity? Dr Jane Stabler from the School of English will discuss this, together with Dr Andrew Roberts from the University of Dundee. The event will be held in School III, St Salvator’s Quad, North Street, St Andrews on Tuesday 15 March – 5.15pm.

Full details of the University’s events at –

www.standrews.ac.uk/admissions/nsw2 005.shtml

All events are free of charge, with no tickets required. Places/seats are available on a first come, first served basis unless otherwise stated.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS

Further details of publicity opportunities to be released shortly.

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information, please contact Claire Grainger, Press Officer – 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or cg24@st-andrews.ac.uk; Ref: press releases/NSW View the latest University news at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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