Turn marmite white and learn all about Sheffield dialect at Researchers’ Night
Over 80 academics will open the doors of the University of Sheffield’s laboratories, libraries and lecture theatres to the general public for one night only at Researchers’ Night 2012 (Friday 28 September 2012).
Researchers’ Night is set to happen simultaneously at 800 other institutions across 32 European countries – from Iceland to Israel, Finland to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The University of Sheffield will be only the sixth institution in the whole of the UK to have ever taken part.
Visitors to the event will be able to wander around the University’s historic buildings, taking part in night-time science experiments, archaeological digs and astronomy lectures as thousands of others do the same across the continent.
Science ‘buskers’ will mingle with guests, showing people quick hands-on demonstrations such as how to turn marmite white, or how to extract the DNA from a strawberry.
Pop-in lectures will also be occurring, where visitors can ‘Ask an Astronomer’, find out why life is constantly arriving on earth from Space or how to catch an elusive neutrino particle (billions of which pass through our bodies every second, but which – in spite of huge detectors having been built under a Japanese mountain and the South Polar Ice - are virtually impossible to pin down).
As part of the event, the little known Alfred Denny Museum will also be opening its doors for the first time in four decades.
Visitors to the museum will get to see hitherto ‘secret’ artefacts, including the rare, enormous skull of an extinct man-sized eagle – never before seen by the British public.
At the Jessop West Building, Dr Jane Hodson will help the public learn all about Sheffield dialect, explore the history of the words they use and open up the unique linguistic features of Sheffield English. Visitors will also be able to find out if they have criminal ancestors and learn about the history of hanging with Professor Bob Shoemaker as he opens up the Old Bailey records online. Meanwhile, the public can explore the concept of freedom and get a free tasty treat at Free Will and Free Cookies, with Philosophy PhD student Ben Arscott.
Dr Milton Wainwright, who specialises in astrobiology and the history of science, will give a talk on the oldest ever documented use of penicillin, which took place in Sheffield and saved several babies from blindness. Dr Wainwright said of Researchers’ Night: “This is a really exciting opportunity. The idea of taking part in a simultaneous, worldwide exchange of knowledge is an incredible thought.
“It’s a great chance for us to share some of the amazing research we’ve got going on here at the University.
“We’re working with teams across the world, and some of the advancements we’re making will have an impact globally – so it’s fitting that we are able to demonstrate it to people at an event like this, in a way that makes it so accessible.”
Researcher’s Night forms part of the Festival of the Mind (20-30 September 2012), which is the brainchild of Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Head of Cultural Engagement at the University of Sheffield and showman sculptor Anthony Bennett, whose Encased Ballerina is currently hanging outside the Royal Opera House as part of the Olympics cultural programme.
The 11 day experience, featuring 56 city-wide events, will include:
•The re-enactment by Professor Charles Stirling of the Von Guericke demonstration of atmospheric pressure, using replica vacuum apparatus and students dressed as pantomime horses (to replace the actual animals used in the original 1656 experiment).
•A tour of the secret Alfred Denny museum – closed to the outside world for four decades – and led by TV commentator and animal behaviour expert, Professor Tim Birkhead. Visitors will get to see many rare curiosities including the enormous skull of a rare giant eagle, never before seen by the British public.
•The broadcast of a poem at the edge of the earth’s atmosphere that will have been written by a member of the public and selected by the award winning poet and novelist Simon Armitage.
•A real-time production of a piece of giant installation art, painted by robots that have been programmed by Dr Tom Stafford and artist Mattias Jones to respond to an algorithm based on the flight pattern of bees.
•The recording of the random movement of particles (Brownian motion) by nano-scientist Dr Jonathan Howse and multi-disciplinary artist Mark Fell to produce a 12” single that will be released by a Barcelona-based record label.
For more information and the full programme of events visit: http://www.shef.ac.uk/researchersnight
Festival of the Mind
Festival of the Mind is a collaboration between the city and the University of Sheffield which will showcase the University’s cultural strengths by bringing together research staff from the University and the cultural and creative industries in the city, through a series of high impact knowledge exchange partnerships. The Festival of the Mind is for everyone - the general public, academic colleagues and the professional and cultural quarter.
Five themes have been identified for the Festival of the Mind to enable individuals to highlight cross-cutting research which can be linked to outreach and wider collaboration in the city: Magic, Space, Identity, City and Craft.
The Festival will also mark the official launch of Civic University, a celebration of the University’s strong connections in the city and its founding principles to put knowledge to work for the good of others. This practical approach inspires collaboration across subject areas and with individuals, businesses and organisations beyond the University to solve the more pressing problems we face, both close to home and around the world. Events take place between 20–30 September 2012. For further information and the full programme, visit:
The University of Sheffield
With nearly 25,000 students from 125 countries, the University of Sheffield is one of the UK´s leading and largest universities. A member of the Russell Group, it has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
The University of Sheffield has been named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen´s Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, 2007). These prestigious awards recognise outstanding contributions by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom´s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield also boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and many of its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence around the world.
The University´s research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, Slazenger, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.
The University has well-established partnerships with a number of universities and major corporations, both in the UK and abroad. Its partnership with Leeds and York Universities in the White Rose Consortium has a combined research power greater than that of either Oxford or Cambridge.
For further information please contact:
Senior Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 1046