As part of the Festival of Learning 2015, my colleague Rebecca Edwards and I are planning on including a series of ‘live-lab’ experiments throughout the Festival. The Festival of Learning feedback in 2013, mentioned that members of the public liked to get hands-on and physically involved with the experiments and loved learning new things about themselves. Some ideas that spring to mind could be a series of psychology experiments, perception experiments or science experiments. Note: However much they love to watch the experiment, they love to do it themselves even more! Organising an event like this, is what will enhance the Festival ‘feel’ and ‘atmosphere’, so we are encouraging researchers to organise as many activities like this as possible!
Running a ‘live-lab’ session also holds many benefits for you, as a researcher. By involving the members of the general public in your experiments, you can easily collect and collate data, that might have proven tricky to get before. It will also increase your sample size, in 2013 more than 4,000 people attended events at the Festival of Learning.
BU researchers that have engaged with the public have spoken about how much fun it was!
Here are some stimulating examples:
1) Perception – Organised by the Cambridge Science Centre
Is seeing believing? Find out how illusions can fool your brain and reveal how we really perceive the world around us.
Why not organise a showcase of experiments, where people can test how easily their brain is fooled and the science behind illusions?
2) Animal Adaptions – British Science Festival 2012
How do cheetahs run so fast yet manage to turn so quickly? How do whales dive so deep? Why do marine iguanas sneeze? This is an exciting workshop where you can help scientists do wacky experiments to explore the wonderful ways that animals are adapted to their environments.
3) Why don’t we eat as we intend? The Psychology of Dietary Control – British Science Festival 2012
We all know what we should and shouldn’t eat. However, tasty high calorie foods surround us and, as a result, most of us struggle to stick to our dietary intentions. Discuss the psychology of dietary control and take part in a range of psychological tests designed to illustrate why resisting temptation is so hard.
4) Drugs and Sport – British Science Festival 2013
Drug use in sport has never been far from the headlines. In this workshop, you can explore the science behind the headlines and find out how athletes are tested for drugs by carrying out some of the tests yourself on simulated samples.
If you would like to get involved in the Festival of Learning 2015 by holding a ‘live-lab’ style session and/or have some exciting ideas for any other type of public engagement activity, please register your interest with either myself,Naomi Kay: or my colleague Harry Gibson.
. Please return this to Naomi Kay by 19th December.