Time to Show Me The Science
Cardiff Science Festival brought science communication to the masses once again this year, with multiple pop-up science activities and showcases throughout Cardiff. A long time in the planning, this was the inaugural event for Show Me The Science, and one that we hoped to showcase our passion for STEM with our interactive activities intended to inspire the next STEM generation!
All in all, a very successful event for all involved, and one that we thoroughly enjoyed attending. Thanks to the organisers, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s event too!
Getting stuck in
We had some fun hands-on activities set up in a pop up shop within the Capitol Shopping Centre and shared the space with the IBMS South East Wales branch who also had some hands-on activities. The day started earlier than anticipated with Hayley giving a quick BBC Radio Wales interview to explain what activities we had for the day. Our first popular activity, which seemed a hit with people, was our flagship ‘Building Blocks of Biofilms’. This activity demonstrates and explains how bacteria form and grow in biofilms (think dental plaque!) and also is a platform for us to discuss the correct and appropriate use of antibiotics. Megan, as always, did a great job hosting this activity as it’s consistently popular.
Meeting the Microbes
As always we had our Giant Microbes on hand to introduce the concept of microbiology and highlight the vast range of microorganisms that exist naturally. They are an instant talking point and a brilliant way to start the conversation about microbes. For us, it is important to stress that not all microbes are pathogenic (bad) and have examples of Giant Microbes that demonstrate the positives such as Saccharomyces (a yeast used in fermentation of alcohol, and breads), Penicillinium (from which we can create the antibiotic, penicillin), and also the T4 bacteriophage (a virus that has benefits such as cancer treatment, or antimicrobial therapy). Microbes play such an important role in our every-day world and we use these soft toys to demonstrate this alongside the pathogenic microbes.
It’s A Small World
We also took along our microscope as this is always a hit with the public, we had a variety of slides to look at including sections of plants like an onion (which shows a similar concept of cell stacking as we have in our own skin), and of other tissues including stomach lining, and fungi. Microscopy constantly seems to pique peoples interest and is a fantastic way to engage both the adults who may have never seen such things themselves!