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Child looking into microscope

Cambridge Science Festival - 2018

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) scientists shared the excitement of science with a family-friendly hands-on activity, a Nobel Prize winning talk and a music event – all part of the 2018 Cambridge Science Festival.

Worms are cleverer than you think

The first weekend of the Festival saw lab manager Denise Walker and her team of volunteers take the hands-on activity ‘Worms are cleverer than you think’ to The Guildhall. Over 300 children and their families took part in the activity which included looking at live nematode worms (C. elegans) under the microscope, playing the mutant matching game and learning about how worms are used in research into ageing.
Three Group Leaders who work with C. elegans in their research took part in ‘Meet the Scientist’. New for the 2018 Guildhall event, members of the public could pop into the special science booth to chat to the scientists about their research.

Wonders of the molecular world

Nobel Prize winner Richard Henderson entertained a large audience at the Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology. In his talk, he traced the beginnings of structural biology from the early 20th century to the development of powerful new methods, including electron cryo-microscopy, for which he was awarded his Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2017. He highlighted the key role the LMB had in the development of these methods, including improvements in sample preparation, image processing software and image detectors.

STEM in Song

The LMB atrium was filled with music during the STEM in Song event as the Girls’ Choir of St Catharine’s College performed songs featuring microbes, chemical compounds and scientific pioneer Margaret Cavendish! A highlight of the show was the premiere of ‘There in Front of Me’, the winning poem from the STEM in Song competition which was set to music by the choir’s composer, Gwyneth Herbert. The music was interspersed with entertaining scientific demonstrations, including a disappearing water trick and flowers that shattered after rapid freezing in liquid nitrogen.

Following the performance, visitors had the chance to meet researchers at two family-friendly hands-on exhibits: ‘Mighty Molecular Motors’ and ‘From mini-brains in a dish to big brains in our heads’.