Image of the Month

Image of the Month

CABI at Cheltenham Science Festival 2012

CABI made its first appearance at the Cheltenham Science Festival in June 2012, represented by: Isabel Christie, Katy Ordidge, Adam Badar, Ma Da, Rupinder Ghatrora, Miguel Goncalves, Tammy Kalber, Asif Machhada, Francesca Norris, Nick Powell, Tom Roberts, Bernard Siow and Yichao Yu, alongside other UCL participants.

The CABI team was joined by Andrew Lonergan and other representatives from Bruker, who flew in a 1 Tesla desktop MRI scanner from Germany especially for the Festival: this was the first time such an instrument has been on public display at a science festival. We had 15,000 visitors!

Katy Ordidge addressed distinguished guests including Minister of State for Universities and Science David Willetts (shown below), and the following day the CABI stand was visited by Business Secretary Vince Cable (shown below). Mark Lythgoe, CABI director (and Festival Co-Director since 2006) chaired a memorable talk alongside Ruby Wax, and hosted a live fMRI scan at the end of the week in front of a packed audience.

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Katy addressed David Willetts
Vince Cable visited CABI stand

The MRI scanner was deployed on fruits (shown below), vegetables and occasional biological curiosities. Before the festival began we had asked members of the public to bring in unusual and interesting objects to scan, and we had an overwhelming response! Among our favourites were a cache of live beetles, an MRI experiment with water-based glue from Quantum of Spin, and one family who supplied three chicken eggs at different stages of development to be scanned - their very own longitudinal experiment! You can read about what happened in our entries on the UCL Events Blog. To keep things exciting, we also visited a local butcher to retrieve pigs' eyeballs (shown below), and scoured supermarkets for interesting subjects such as sardines, walnuts, clams and flowers.

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MRI scan of a cherry
MRI scan of a blackberry
MRI scan of a pig's eyeball

Younger visitors engaged fantastically with our 'Guess the Fruit' game (shown below), and we presented explanations of how MRI and fMRI work (shown below), with magnetic props, dancing molecules, and shocking videos.

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Enthusiastic kids guessing MRI scans
Keen senior citizen wanted to know more
People amazed by mind tricks

We have a great review in Focus Magazine and CABI team members posted on the UCL Events Blog from the festival: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6.

Photographs by Tom Roberts; MRI scans from the Bruker tabletop Icon scanner.

Page last modified on 13 jul 12 12:15