LiGHTING the way for research: hundreds turn out for science showcase

LiGHTS NightsScientific research which is changing the world we live in today has been opened up to the public as part of a showcase celebrating developments across all areas of science.

Hundreds of schoolchildren, University students and inquisitive members of the public came face to face with skeletons, robots and life-size terracotta warriors among other projects, as part of LiGHTS Nights (Lincoln – Get Hold of Tech and Science) at the University of Lincoln, UK.

The science extravaganza was one of more than 250 events occurring simultaneously across Europe on Friday 30th September as part of the annual European Researchers’ Night event.

The action-packed day on the University of Lincoln’s Brayford campus hosted scientific workshops and exhibitions ranging from skeletal examinations by forensic archaeologists and an extraordinary collection of replica Terracotta Warriors, to archaeological excavations in thousands of UK gardens which are mapping the impact of the Black Death.

Other activities included workshops which enabled visitors to extract DNA from everyday food using ordinary chemicals such as washing-up liquid and alcohol, learn how dogs are helping humans with their health, and meet an ensemble cast of robots from the University’s School of Computer Science. The day also included talks covering topics from sleep to animal behaviour.

The aim was to inspire people of all ages to learn more about university research. LiGHTS has been spearheaded by Carenza Lewis, a leading archaeologist who featured on the acclaimed Time Team television series.

Professor Lewis, Professor for the Public Understanding of Research at the University of Lincoln, said: “The activities and exhibits on show for LiGHTS Night 2016 were superb, with a range and variety which offered anyone and everyone an intriguing day.  More than 95 per cent of visitors enthusiastically commended the activities they took part in as enjoyable, interesting and informative, while 74 per cent of school students were inspired to consider a career in STEM (Science, technology engineering or maths). University staff enjoyed presenting the work they love to receptive audiences, and we are already looking forward to making next year even better.”

Contributions came from academics across the University’s Colleges of Science, Arts and Social Science.
The European Researchers’ Night initiative has been funded by the EU under HORIZON 2020 in the framework of the Marie Sklodowska Curie actions. LiGHTS Nights 2016 was Lincoln’s first participation in the initiative and further funding has been secured for the University to take part again in 2017.

 

Life Sciences to lead LiGHTS Nights science extravaganza

Skeletons, bush-crickets and dogs helping human health, these are just a few of the fascinating interactive sessions running for an extraordinary one-day science showcase hosted by the University of Lincoln.
Lights Nights Lincoln
See the world of Life Sciences with Lights Nights in Lincoln

LiGHTS Nights – a celebration of how science and technology impacts on our daily lives –will take place on the University of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool campus and in venues across the city on Friday 30th September 2016.

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With a thought-provoking programme of activities asking questions like ‘Am I smarter than my tortoise?’ and ‘Pigs, chickens and criminals’, and Life Sciences are leading the show with over 10 different workshops, tours and lectures throughout the day. Book your place now.
LiGHTS Nights will see academics from the University’s Colleges of Science, Arts and Social Science present their pioneering studies and invite visitors to become scientists for the day by participating in a range of different activities and experiments.

 

PG Forensic Anthropology studentsHighlights include Skeletons in the cupboard – an interactive demonstration by forensic archaeologists showing what can be discovered about people’s past lives from studying their skeletons, using finds from Roman and medieval Lincoln. As part of the demo, the researchers from Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences will offer insights into how conditions such as anaemia, malnutrition, tuberculosis and leprosy are recognised. Book here.

We ask, Are human eyes best? See the world through an animals eyes with our specialised camera in a session given by Tom Pike and Anna Wilkinson 1-5pm in JBL, ground floor. Book here.

DNA workshops will enable visitors to extract DNA from everyday food using ordinary chemicals such as washing-up liquid and alcohol – with the chance to win souvenir ‘take-home’ tubes of DNA. Sessions will run 12pm, 2pm, 4pm in the Science Building by Stefan Milson. Click here to book for 12pm. Click here to book for 2pm. Click here to book for 4pm.

Shedding light on mysteries from the animal world, Lincoln researchers will present their work exploring how dogs are helping human health; which diseases have been passed to the human race from the animal kingdom; and the colourful traits developed by creatures around the world to attract their mates. Click here to book for 12pm, Click here to book for 2pm, and Click here for 7pm session and join in this great workshop with Professor Daniel Mills.

Ears in the legs - How do bush-crickets produce soundHave you ever wondered how bush-crickets produce their sound, and how do they hear their own sound? Researcher Fernando Montealegre-Z and Thorin Jonsson will answer this in ‘Ears in the legs’ between 12pm and 9pm in the Joseph Banks Atrium in our Joseph Banks Laboratories. Book here

LiGHTS Nights is free to attend but bookings for individual sessions should be made in advance. More more information is available and bookings can be made online.

Life Sciences Undergraduate Showcase

From Life Sciences to Chemistry and Engineering, the University of Lincoln’s College of Science hosts another remarkable showcase of our undergraduate students.

Good luck to everyone on getting back their marks over the next few days.

Here is a little look into a few of our students we spoke to over the two days.

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Zoology student Alexandra Briggs looked at the affect of visitor numbers on the seals at popular viewing site, Donna Nook.

Alex said: “We’ve found that a lot of factors are affecting the seals at Donna Nook and it’s confirming what a lot of people were thinking. The advice to to Donna Nook would be that more and more people are going to come it might be best to put in changes now.

“If the changes work, they can be put in place at other beaches where visitor numbers are a big issue, as some sites have no limitations between us and the seal. People will go up to the seals and pet them, and they run away and leave their pups and they then starve to death, so it can be a huge issue in some places.

“I didn’t just want my research to just be inside, I wanted to be out in the field and doing something I wanted to do.”

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Bioveterinary Science student,Charlotte Carr took up some great work experience at Gatwick Airport with the security dogs. With this interest in mind, she took on the research of looking at dog behaviour levels in the home compared to in a kennel facility.

“Dogs when they were at home and in kennels to see if there’s a difference with their activity, I also compared this to behaviour scores which their owners gave them on their impulsivity, behaviour regulation, aggression and responsiveness.

“I found that as the dog gets older, they get more activity and their impulsivity increases. I also found that females were more impulsive than males and the activity in the kennels increased depending on the breed type, and the impulsivity as well.

“The toy and utility breed type were the most active and the non-working was the least active. The older the dog, the more active. It was strange. We think it was because they’d spent so much time with their owners that they didn’t mind being on their own or in the kennels.”

Charlotte’s findings will help to make improvements on the kennel facilities within Gatwick Airport.

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Jorge Sobral studied the effect of photoperiods on the genitalia of the bruchid beetle.

“I grew them in different light regimes – no light, 12 hours with light and 12 hours in darkness, and I’ve found that photoperiods do affect the size and shape of the genital organs of the beetle.

“I found that beetles grown in half darkness and half-light seem to have the longest parameres, which are in the genitals, for their size. This implies that genetalia may not be a viable way to classify species, so my work kind of contradicts that and says that it might be best to back up with something else too.”

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Looking at a future in wildlife conservation, Chardè Anderson looked at tissue samples of Bottlenose Dolphin species and the possibility of hybrid species.

She said: ‘The university received some tissue samples of Bottlenose Dolphins, and we were looking to see if they belonged to the bottlenose or a hybrid with another species.

“Through a lot of studies, we found there to be a possible one hybrid out of the 24 samples between two different species. Although there did look to be other individuals in the samples to be the same species, but from different regions.”

An amazing array of projects were on show across Life Sciences and we are proud of every one of you. Take a look at our photo album of the two days on Facebook here: