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Lego on Mars, Britney and Sir Isaac Newton

A press release about Science Week at the University of Leeds, 15 – 19 March 2004, which featured a demonstration of the MvM system

What happens when your memory fails? How does your heart know it has to beat? These and many other questions are being addressed as part of National Science Week, March 15 to 19 at the University of Leeds.

Over the course of the week around 1,200 students from primary and secondary schools in the region will take part in hands-on experiments, laboratory-based practical sessions and demonstration lectures.

Students will have the chance to make music without instruments using interactive multimedia technology, use geo-physical equipment to discover what lies under the ground and take part in debates about genetics, ethics

and health. Science Trails will give students the chance to find out what it is like to study science.

A highlight of the week will be the regional final of the First Lego League (FLL) tournament on Tuesday 16 March. The regional final of the FLL will see eight teams of 10-16-year-olds compete using the Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System to carry out missions based on those carried out by NASA in Mars expeditions.

Each team will have two minutes to complete as many missions as possible and amidst the hectic environment of the competition, will make research presentations to the judges, showcasing their knowledge of the science behind their efforts. The day will culminate in a showdown between the highest scoring teams.

During the week there will also be performances by the Quantum Theatre for Science of ‘A Complete Guide to Horses Forces’ in which Dr Morris Clampstand takes the audience on a whistle-stop tour through the principles of forces and mechanics. With the help of Sir Isaac Newton, James Joule, Pascal and work experience assistant Britney, the school students will learn all about gravity, friction, density, pressure and much more.

Notes for Editors

National Science Week is co-ordinated by the British Association for the Advancement of Science and has run across the UK every March since 1994. It aims to celebrate science and its importance in our lives by giving people the chance to participate in science activities and experiments in their local area.

The University’s Science Week is run annually and provides an opportunity to:

  • Encourage an understanding of what science, engineering and technology can and cannot achieve
  • Promote appreciation of the role of science in our daily lives – from medicine to mobile phones
  • Encourage pupils to study science, engineering and technology beyond the age of 16, thereby promoting the possibility of careers in this area.

Photo Opportunity

Activities during National Science Week will provide a number of exciting photo opportunities. The week includes the launching of water-fuelled rockets and workshops in Snakes, Slugs, Spiders and Slime! A programme of events is attached.


MONDAY 15 MARCH Primary Science Day• Snakes, Slugs and Spiders

• Wild Weather

• Flash! Bang!

09.30 – 12.00 and 12.30 – 15.00, University of

Bridge It!Use and develop your problem-solving, communication and
negotiation skills, as well as your imagination, to battle it
out in a team of five in the Bridge It ! competition. Students
will work together to plan and construct a bridge in this
day-long event, to focus on career routes and higher education
opportunities.9.30 – 14.30, Leeds Metropolitan University
Fibonacci and his rabbitsExplore a remarkable series of numbers generated from a problem
set by Italian mathematician Fibonacci in 1202, that is still
revealing its secrets today. See how the series appears in
nature (sunflowers, pine cones and pineapples), architecture
and art, and solve a well known optical illusion. Calculators
will be needed.10.00 – 12.00, University of Leeds
Twilight DebateShould we test for genetic diseases? How would you use the
results? An opportunity to engage in a series of two or three
topical debates around the areas of health, genetics and
ethics.16.00 – 18.00, Leeds Metropolitan University
TUESDAY 16 MARCH Science DayA combination of workshops for Key Stage 3 pupils:

Make a Molecule

Leeds Rocks

Phenomenal Physics

Sessions 9.30-12.00 and 12.30-15.00, University of Leeds

First Lego League: Mission MarsLocal students are delving into the challenges faced by
real-life scientists and engineers at NASA with the First Lego
League tournament. By building a robot and investigating a
research assignment, they have been working in teams in January
and February to discover how Mission Mars relates to the real
world of science. Today the teams will battle it out in the
final of the competition.13.00-15.00, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University
of Leeds
Constructive ExperienceWork in a team to explore real life issues related to building,
creation and planning of local housing9.30 – 14.30 University of Leeds
WEDNESDAY 17 MARCH A Complete Guide to ForcesQuantum Theatre for Science

On Forces And Mechanics

Dr Morris Clampstand offers you a whistle-stop tour through the
principles of forces and mechanics. With the help of Sir Isaac
Newton, James Joule, Pascal and the unpromising work experience
assistant Britney (who due to an administrative error was given a
placement to work with forces rather than, as she had hoped,
horses) we learn about gravity, friction, density, pressure and
much, much more.

Disaster strikes when food poisoning disables the pilots of a plane
on which Britney’s mother is a passenger. Time and speed
calculations are needed to ensure that the plane has enough fuel to
divert to Eastbourne International Airport – can Britney use
what she has learned to save the day?

A Complete Guide to Horses/Forces covers relevant topics of the
National Curriculum for Science Key Stage 3 and is sponsored by
Rolls-Royce plc.

10.00 – 11.30 and 13.00 – 14.30

13.30-15.00, School Parties

19.00 – 20.30, General Public (Adults £4 Children
£1), Great Hall, University of Leeds

THURSDAY 18 MARCH Primary Science DayHow Strong are You?

Who Can Shout the Loudest?

And many more health-related activities

9.30-12.00 and 12.30-15.00, Leeds Metropolitan UniversityScience Day

Slime Time!

Heart of the Matter

Colourful Chemistry

9.30 – 12.00 and 12.30 – 15.00, University of

FRIDAY 19 MARCH Science WorkshopsMorning sessions:

Why make a GM potato ?

Make the perfect potato! Discover how the genes of a potato can
be modified to protect the plant from pests without the need to
use harmful chemicals.

Detecting Marvellous Molecules

Become a biochemist, work in a lab and learn for yourself how
molecules such as chlorophyll and sweat are separated and
identified in living organisms.

The Chemical Detective

We need your help – many drugs exist as almost identical
white powders but which ones are which? Use the special
techniques we can teach you to identify some common drugs.

How to be a Rocket Scientist

Work in teams to produce water-fuelled rockets and launch them
to great heights. Which rocket will be propelled furthest?

Psychology but not as you know it

What happens when memory fails?.. The Electric brain…
come along, take part and explore Psychology.

Quills, Ink, Blood… write, draw and

Celebrate the idea of ‘Gothic’ from the 1400s right up to the
late Victorian industrial age. A chance to make your own
medieval ink and edible blood and write and draw with a quill,
whilst looking at the original handwriting of
‘Dracula’s’ Bram Stoker and ink drawings
housed within the University Library and Art Collection.

10.00 – 12.00, University of LeedsAfternoon sessions:

Music via Motion

Become a musician in a second. Use interactive multimedia
technology to make music without instruments.

You Are What You Eat

Tantalise your taste buds and experience the amazing science of
food. Let our students experiment on you with their ideas.

How to be a Rocket Scientist

Work in teams to produce water-fuelled rockets and launch them
to great heights. Which rocket will be propelled furthest?

Earthquakes in Britain

Earthquakes are one of the most dangerous and spectacular of
natural hazards. Access the earthquake monitoring network and
find the location of an earthquake

What Lies Beneath…

Use special Geo-physical equipment and discover what lies
beneath the Earth’s surface, below our feet.

12.30 – 14.30, University of Leeds

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