Hands-on activities by LMB scientists at the Cambridge Science Festival


The opening weekend of the 2015 Cambridge Science Festival was a huge success, with thousands of visitors attending events on the 14 and 15 March. The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) scientists designed and ran two of the activities, ‘See your Cells’ at the Corn Exchange and ‘Crystal Clear’ at the Chemistry Department.


'See your Cells’ was created by Simon Bullock and Monica Rodrigo Brenni from the LMB’s Cell Biology Division. At this exhibit, visitors could harvest some of their own cheek cells and use a microscope to see their cells and other interesting samples. Children queued up excitedly during the Saturday and Sunday daytime sessions to use the microscopes, and the exhibit was also very popular in the new adults-only session on the Saturday evening, where over 300 attendees came to try out the hands-on activities. Lucinda Spokes, Science Festival Co-ordinator, described the evening as: “Wonderful… a true testament to the public’s thirst for science!”

Over at the Chemistry Department’s Open Day on the Saturday, Samantha Wynne and Harry Powell organised the ‘Crystal Clear’ stand about X-ray crystallography and how it is used to find the structures of proteins and DNA. Crystals from the Eastern Region Crystal Growing Competition for schools were displayed and visiting children were excited to engage with the scientists and to take their own small crystal growing kits home.

More than 30 LMB staff shared their enthusiasm and knowledge in these two Science Festival activities. Following two weeks of science talks, demonstrations, activities, comedy and theatre, the 21st Cambridge Science Festival finished on Sunday 22 March, after more than 45,000 visits by the public.

Further References

Crystal Growing Competition
LMB public engagement

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MRC [Medical Research Council]