Weird and wonderful fun at the library

Lancaster Library.
Lancaster Library.
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Want to scan a ‘phantom’ baby, use a geiger counter to manage a contamination incident or correctly identify chocolate bars via their MRI scans?

Then go along to Lancaster library for a jam-packed few days of weird and wonderful science experiments as part of Lancaster’s Fun Palace weekend, October 3 and 4.

Dr Dean Harris, a lecturer at the University of Cumbria, took it upon himself to participate in the free weekend of activities to demonstrate the fascinating and practical uses of science.

He will be offering two chances to get hands-on.

There are many different activities going on over the weekend.

On Saturday October 3 (10am-noon) he will have a stand in Lancaster library demonstrating how physics and engineering are used in every-day healthcare.

Visitors to the stand will get a chance to get to grips with equipment actually used in hospitals by scanning a full term baby ‘phantom’ model with an ultrasound scanner, experience a simulated contamination incident using a geiger counter and take part in a fun MRI quiz – can you identify the well-known chocolate bars?

On Sunday October 4, Dean will give a lecture, 2-3pm at Lancaster library, on the science and art of seeing inside the amazing human body.

Lecture-goers will discover how medical imaging has evolved since Roentgen’s discovery of the X-ray in 1895.

Uncover the secrets behind ultrasound, CT scanners, MRI and gamma cameras. Appreciate how doctors use medical images to pinpoint disease. Understand how radioactivity helps us in medicine and learn about the imaging work in the Department of Medical and Sports Sciences at the University of Cumbria.

The talk is similar in style to the Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures and is aimed at budding scientists aged 13+ and will highlight the many exciting and rewarding opportunities out there for youngsters if they have the right experience and qualifications.

Dr Dean Harris said: “This will be a great opportunity to get hands-on experience of how scientists see inside the amazing machine that is the human body.

“I encourage youngsters to have a go – who knows, you might get inspired to choose science as a career!”

The Fun Palace idea was originally conceived in the 1960s and was meant to be a mobile ‘laboratory of fun’ and ‘a university of the streets’ that celebrated arts and sciences.

Today, temporary Fun Palaces are constructed by local people across the UK for their communities, bringing together arts and sciences, for free and for fun.

There are many different activities going on over the weekend. To see further details go to Lancaster’s Fun Palace website.

Dean Harris is clinical scientist and senior lecturer in medical imaging at the University of Cumbria.

The Department of Medical and Sports Sciences has suite of medical imaging courses available (Ultrasound and MRI), a popular radiography course (scoring 100 per cent in the national student satisfaction survey this year) and an award-winning Foundation Degree in radiation protection.

To see further details go to Lancaster’s Fun Palace website.