A couple of weeks ago, I gave a talk at a new event called Science Uncovered at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was an evening where the museum threw open its doors after normal hours, and filled its display space with music from a DJ. There were lots of hands on, interactive displays run by researchers from many universities and a series of short, entertaining talks on topics ranging from atlantic salmon mating systems to heavy metal stars. The diversity of presenters celebrated European Researchers’ Night. It was an entertaining evening of learning, and the 400+ people who came seemed to enjoy wandering through the museum with a drink, trying all sorts of things and chatting to scientists, as much as I did. There were taste tests, turbine and tidal energy interactives, displays on medical advancements, information about the science behind CSI and more. A great way to spend an evening, and this #ScienceUncoveredNI event will run again next year on 29 September 2017.
The video below gives a good impression of the feel of the evening. You can see me 28 seconds in, waving leaves around as is my want! My talk, “Plant Silicon: Tales from a Plant Accountant”, used financial terms, such as investment and return, to explain why leaves, and indeed plants, vary so much. I presented an argument for why I think silicon should be more widely considered in plant economic strategies.
I also enjoyed the more permanent museum displays, especially sections about the history of Northern Ireland from archaeological records and The Troubles. My trip to Belfast was a great opportunity for me to visit The Open University’s Northern Ireland office too!