Stories from the British Science Festival 2013

Dick Ahlstrom and I covered the British Science Festival for The Irish Times last week.

This is a wrap up of most of our work. 

We started the week with a story on research into ‘gaze training’ and autism.

Next up was the story of a fossilised pair of dinosaurs. Latest evidence from the University of Manchester says that one of the duelling pair was a Nanotyrannus. The problem is that it may never be recorded in science if brought into a private collection in next November’s big auction in New York.

I went to hear a lecture by Prof Desmond Tobin, an Irish academic now at Bradford, who is an expert in skin science. My piece focused on his message that peer-reviewed science was king when it comes to cosmetics.

Dick Ahlstrom wrote some interesting pieces around this time, including these:

Don’t hang around to have your kids:

Panda gut microbes might be gold for biofuel production:

A big expedition planned by the British Antarctic Survey people:

‘Atmospheric rivers’ with a truck-load of rain are on the way:

Stem cell scamming:

I did a piece on using glucose sensors, mobile technology and apps. Elite runners will take part in a project looking at the impact of high-level exercise on diabetes control:

My piece on cloud education and Skype grannies. You’ll have to read it to see what that’s all about:

A war-game-like simulation to understand and address health inequalities and socio-economic interventions. Living just a few miles apart can mean a decade’s difference in ‘healthy life expectations’ between people. This interesting game will try to identify solutions.

We did a piece on landslides in the UK and we included an irish interest in the story:

The excitement at the last day of the festival was the unveiling of the world’s ugliest animal. There’s a serious conservation story behind this an you can read more from the Ugly Animals Preservation Society.

Here was some of the build-up!

And, the announcement:

And, our story on it:

The blobfish got a lot of reaction, too. Of course, that’s the point of the campaign – not to have a laugh at these animals but to ‘raise awareness’ of their critically-endangered status.

And, lastly it was sewage treatment. Prof Tom Curtis was presenting on a new hydrogen fuell cells working on sewage at the full-scale treatment plant.

It had been a long week:

But, on Thursday night, we could sit back.

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