Getting to grips with the rules of attraction
25 July 2012
On 17 June a group of students from the Centre for Integrative Mammalian Physiology and Pharmacology, in the Department of Medicine put on a series of interactive demonstrations for both children and adults at the Cheltenham Science Festival.
The focus for the demonstrations was the question ‘How Are Your Hormones?’ which addressed themes including appetite, attraction, exercise and emotion. The demonstrations were aided by a grant from the Society for Endocrinology. PhD student Katherine Banks (Medicine), describes the event:
“2012 marked the celebration of the tenth Cheltenham Science Festival, attracting tens of thousands of members of the public of all ages – and over 300 participants from around the UK and beyond. The Cheltenham Festival Series showcases some of the brilliant talent, minds and achievements from the sciences and arts, challenging our opinions and encouraging inquisitiveness. This year was no exception, including discussions and debates on everything from the origin of life to the art of explosions, delivered by the likes of physicist Professor Brian Cox.
The Science Festival encourages audience participation to aid the public understanding of scientific concepts, and one exhibition venue in particular proved to be extremely popular. The Discovery Zone has been phenomenally successful in fascinating children of all ages with science and technology, and this year saw a group of postgraduate students from Imperial take the stage with the ‘How Are Your Hormones?’ display. The activities helped the students to explain the science behind attraction and being in love, what happens to you as a teenager and addressed questions such as ‘why do we cry?’ The students used exercise bikes and heart rate monitors to teach children about exercise, and school pupils were also given the chance to measure blood glucose which helped them to learn about metabolic hormones and how they work in our bodies. With the help of artist Dr Lizzie Burns, children also created their very own human models with coloured and labelled glands to take home. The addition of real-life organs in jars and edible brain cupcakes only enhanced (if not repelled!) the fun aspect of the exhibition.
The success of the day was reflected in the brilliant feedback from children, parents and scientists alike, and with thanks to the grant support from the Society for Endocrinology we hope to see you there next year!”