Cell Explorers— Burst the myth of the mad scientist

What do you see when you think of a scientist? An old man, with crazy white hair, wearing a lab coat and goggles while covered in a cloud of smoke? This is the classic perception that many people might have. Cell EXPLORERS will address this mad scientist stereotype in their new workshop at the 2016 Galway Science & Technology Festival from the 14-27 November.

The Arty Scientist workshop will create a space where children can draw life-size self-portraits of themselves as scientists, using pictures of the diverse population of scientists based in NUI Galway as inspiration. A mixed team of artists, led by Marina Wild, a member of the University’s Arts Office and Shane Cunningham, auditor of the student Arts Society, and scientists will be on hand to help the young participants. This innovative project is supported by the French Embassy, Science Week Ireland and the Galway Science & Technology Festival.

Along with this new workshop festival favourites the Fantastic DNA and Little Cells workshops will return again this year. In Fantastic DNA families can learn about the amazing DNA molecule that controls the activities of the cell and learn how to extract DNA from a banana. Little Cells introduces younger children to the concept of how small cells are and how different types of cells make up our bodies. And, in collaboration with the Under the Microscope outreach initiative from Anatomy, the Exploring Under the Microscope workshop returns and will introduce children to how microscopes work and how you can use them to investigate what insects use to walk on walls.

All four workshops, developed by NUI Galway students and scientists, are demonstrated by enthusiastic and passionate Cell EXPLORERS team members who are nothing like the stereotypical mad scientist. Workshops will take place on Sunday, 27 November at the Galway Science & Technology Festival’s final day Exhibition at NUI Galway.

In addition, the Cell EXPLORERS team of volunteers will be travelling around Galway County and City during the two weeks of the Festival from the 14–27 November, bringing the Fantastic DNA and Little Cells Roadshow into classrooms where children can act like scientists in their schools.

Speaking about the Cell EXPLORERS activities for Festival 2016, Director Dr. Muriel Grenon said: “We are very excited to once again be a part of the largest science festival in Ireland taking place here in Galway. Cell EXPLORERS has been running hands-on science outreach activities since 2012 and the Galway Science & Technology Festival and final day Exhibition is always a highlight of the year for us. If you or your child are interested in hands-on science then sign up for one of our workshops.”

Free tickets to the Festival Exhibition workshops can be booked online at www.galwayscience.eventbrite.com from Saturday, 19 November at 11am. Free school workshops including the Cell EXPLORERS roadshow can be booked at www.galwayscience.ie For more details on the activities of Cell EXPLORERS, the outreach programme at the School of Natural Sciences in NUI Galway, follow on Twitter @Cellexplorers and on www.facebook.com/Cellexplorers and use the hashtag #scienceweek and #GalwayScience to join the conversation.

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