Jodrell Bank Summer Science Festival
Children were amazed by the Venus' Fly Traps.
Fly caught by a carnivorous plant.
Visitors could see the heart beating in this giant projection of a live Daphnia
Visitors take a look at the organisms that live in Manchester’s waterways.
In August several members of the faculty took part in the first ever Jodrell Bank Summer Science Festival. They joined representatives from other University of Manchester faculties to show visitors about the exciting work being undertaken at the University. By the end of the festival over 2000 people had visited the Discovery Centre making the festival a huge success.
While other departments excited the audience with the opportunity to control a (pretend) nuclear reactor, engage in dance mat recycling or create their own brand of fluorescent slime, the FLS team decided to do two separate displays: The Aquatic Life of Manchester and Carnivorous Plants.
The first of these was dedicated to the different organisms that can be found around Manchester’s waterways. Rob, Andy Dean, Adam van Casteren and Keith White supervised the identification of invertebrates while also allowing visitors to try and find different species of algae under the microscope. The star of the show, however, was the (magnified) live daphnia projected on the wall, which allowed those interested to make out the heartbeat and observe its feeding and swimming behaviour.
Visitors were also introduced to our carnivorous plant collection, including Venus fly traps, Sundews, Utricularia, Sarracenia and Nepenthes pitcher plants. Amanda Bamford, Pete Bickerton and Matt Miller showed people the many ways plants catch their prey. Using a digital microscope, visitors took close-up photos of their favorite plants eating their favorite prey (see example below) to take home. They also tried to identify the contents of a pitcher trap (wasps, fly heads, decomposing bees etc…..!) and even fed the Venus fly traps throughout the day. Videos of plants catching flies, earwigs, tadpoles and even frogs projected on the walls of Jodrell bank astounding visitors of all ages!
Thanks to the efforts of the whole team, with the support of Charlotte Alcock and the Jodrell Events Manager Alan Parlane, the whole week was a resounding success and planning for the next festival is already underway.