February 2013 public engagement events
February is a month of cold, windy weather and waiting for spring to arrive. We’ve put together a summary of the Trust’s public engagement events this month to bring some excitement to the year’s shortest month.
When the weather is miserable, leaving the house is best avoided. Luckily, we’ve got the perfect excuse for an evening on the sofa. “How to build a bionic man” will be shown on Channel 4 on February 7 at 9pm as a special broadcast. The programme explores extraordinary advances in the understanding of the human body, showing how we can now construct new body parts, to save and improve lives. In the show, artificial body parts will be linked to create a humanoid made from equipment usually used to replace or replicate real biological functions. The challenge brings together research scientists, clinicians, engineers and materials experts, using funding from the Wellcome Trust, to create a unique “body” and provoke debates about cutting edge medicine. The Bionic Body is on display in the Science Museum’s Who am I gallery now.
If you do feel like getting out the house, Maureen Paley gallery in London is holding a screening of two films, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Arts Council. The first film, ‘Sensorium Tests’ by Daria Martin, questions how sensations might be created and shared between people through synesthesia (the joining together of normally separate perceptions such as ‘hearing colour’). The second film, ‘Janus’ by Erik van Lieshout, is a series of monologues filmed in the artists studio that are set against an investigation into the life of a deceased man called Janus. On Thursday 7 February, a private screening is being held from 6.30-8.30pm and on Sunday 10, Daria Martin will give a talk from 4-7pm. The gallery is otherwise open between 11am-6pm and the films will be shown from 7-10 February.
Coming up is a touring exhibition that promises to take your taste buds on a sensual roller-coaster ride. ‘Flavour SenseNation’, by Actiondog, will be at Brighton Science Festival on Friday 22 February at Blind Tiger Club. It will challenge each of your innate senses – taste, smell, touch, sight and sound – and see how they react with each other when different foods are thrown into the mix.
Back in London, the third in a series of events that look at our understanding of donor conception is at the Progress Educational Trust on 28 February, called ‘Being: The donor-conceived perspective’. The series, “When it takes more than two”, supported by the Wellcome Trust, seeks to clarify public and professional understanding of donor conception by focusing on the different parties involved. This event will be looking at the perspective of those who are conceived from donated sperm or eggs, and is free to attend. Advance booking is required, so email Sandy Starr at email@example.com to be added to the list.
Continuing through 2013, Bright Club – known as the thinking person’s variety night – are producing comedy podcasts featuring UCL scientists, and performing at gigs around the country. Podcasts can be found on the iTunes store or from an RSS feed, and details of upcoming gigs can be found on their webpage.
Do you think a pain free world would be a good thing? Or do you wonder how pain relief is changing with new scientific developments? Until November 2013, the Science Museum’s new and free exhibition, ‘Painless: the future of relief’, is exploring these questions. Scientists now have new understanding of the link between the brain and the body and are investigating how this can help us overcome pain in the future. Pain Less looks at personal stories of pain research, such as Steven Pete, the man who feels no pain, and Peter King, a phantom limb patient who is in constant pain, except when exercising his missing arm in virtual reality. To continue the theme from your own home, try the new game, Ouch!, which can be played here.
The Museum of London continues to showcase human and animal remains, exquisite anatomical models and drawings, and original artefacts in its exhibition, ‘Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men’, until April 2013. Visitors are encouraged to debate the Anatomy Act, reflect on medical ethics and cultural attitudes today, and ask what questions still remain in 2013. Keep a watchful eye for our sponsored film installation, which brings contemporary voices to the exhibition themes.