Science fun comes to Norwich

Sarah BrealeyChildren have been getting lessons from leading Norfolk scientists to show just how explosive and exciting science can be.Sarah Brealey

Children have been getting lessons from leading Norfolk scientists to show just how explosive and exciting science can be.

It is all part of National Science and Engineering Week, which started yesterday and runs until next weekend. There are dozens of events in Norwich, culminating in a Science in Norwich Day next Saturday.

The aim is to inspire an interest in science and engineering, and also to show what the 2,700 scientists working in Norwich really do.

Yesterday more than 100 Norfolk schools were visited by scientists from the John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, the University of East Anglia and the Institute of Food Research, and there will be more school visits during the coming week,

The project is being co-ordinated by the Teacher Scientist Network, a science education charity based at the John Innes Centre.

Dr Phil Smith, co-ordinator of TSN, said: 'An event of this scale has probably never happened before, anywhere in the country. Norwich has a great concentration of top-class scientists working in the city, so it's appropriate that we should be taking on such a huge project.'

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Yesterday Jo Doleman, a scientist from the Institute of Food Research, took part in three sessions at Recreation Road Infants School, near Earlham Road, in Norwich. She used her four-year-old daughter, Moira, and five-year-old son Angus, who is a pupil at the school, to help her with some of the demonstrations.

She said: 'I agreed to take part just simply because this is the best age at which to get children interested in science. After helping out, my daughter has already declared she wants to be scientist just like her mum.'

This weekend, the Castle Museum is running a hands-on event for children and adults, exploring the geology and biodiversity of Norfolk. Today at 2pm there was a free craft session scheduled showing children how science is fun in the children's library in the Forum in Norwich.

All next week there is a display in the Forum on the history of the John Innes Centre. The exhibition is being officially opened on Monday evening by city council chief executive Laura McGillivray to launch science week in Norwich.

Other events at the Forum include free performances of a play called the Blooming Snapdragons about the struggle of women genetic scientists in the early 20th century, and a genetics day for schools on Thursday.

Science in Norwich Day next Saturday will be a family science discovery day, with hands-on activities, displays and shows for the whole family. The Inspire Discovery Centre will be inviting visitors to help make a giant picture using paint-filled Alka-Seltzer rockets and you can learn about how sounds and music are made.

The last events are a Voyage of the Beagle exhibition at the John Innes Centre on Monday March 22, with talks, a model of the Beagle, and displays of Charles Darwin's letters. And there is a showcase of young science on March 23 at the Forum, in which students at the Norwich Research Park will talk about their research.

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