I was speaking at 2pm, on “How we know the Moon landings really happened”, but I was also excited to see what else was going on so I arrived at midday to look around.
At the @ScienceGrrl stand I tried to match up photos of women with their science areas and names. I knew a few (Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Space Scientist and Dr Helen Czerski, Oceanographer) and had heard of a few more (Dr Jane Goodall, Primatologist) but there were loads I didn’t know. I had guessed one woman was a botanist because she was wearing what looked like gardening gloves. I was completely wrong! She was a chemist. The gloves were a clue, but only because they contain Kevlar. The woman was Stephanie Kwolek. She invented Kevlar in 1965 when looking for a strong, lightweight material to put in tyres.
I then headed outside and extracted strawberry DNA with the University of Southampton’s ‘Bringing Research to Life’ Roadshow (@UoS_Roadshow). By mashing the strawberries up, adding detergent, mashing again and adding ethanol the DNA floats right to the top. They even give you your own strawberry DNA to take home in an airtight container. The smell of strawberries by that stand was lovely too!
Just over from that was a strange looking bowl with large handles. This was to demonstrate standing waves in water – when you rubbed the two handles with the right frequency, waves in the water combined so that water droplets jumped up, almost as if they were dancing. The guy explaining how to do it said to look up Chladni Patterns which (I believe) are the same type of effect, and using only one search I found this very cool video (the title says to adjust your volume, please do turn it down!)
By the time I had to leave the stands to set up my talk I still had far more to see. I didn’t even get to the robotics! It was a lovely day, and highly recommended.