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So much science on our doorstep

PUBLISHED: 11:21 14 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:24 14 October 2019

Find out how the work of local scientists is helping to save bees, on The Bumblebee Trail at The Forum           Picture: Norwich Science Festival

Find out how the work of local scientists is helping to save bees, on The Bumblebee Trail at The Forum Picture: Norwich Science Festival

Norwich Science Festival

Norwich is rich territory for scientific research, as these Norwich Science Festival 2019 events show.

How many different sounds does an erupting volcano make? Volcano experts from UEA will share explosive stories, and detail just what it's like to live next to one    Picture: Jon StoneHow many different sounds does an erupting volcano make? Volcano experts from UEA will share explosive stories, and detail just what it's like to live next to one Picture: Jon Stone

Did you know that you can train bees to sniff out bombs and drugs? That's just one of the fascinating facts you might impress friends with after exploring the Bumblebee Trail at the Norwich Science Festival this month.

Earlham Institute's Dr Pete Bickerton, who is running the event, and making an appearance as 'Barney the Bee', says: "I hope that people will come away excited about the research being carried out on their doorstep at Earlham Institute, and how we're contributing to ensuring the future of pollinators and biodiversity for generations to come."

Those who successfully complete the trail will be rewarded with a packet of wildflower seeds to encourage pollinators - whether in their own gardens or even window boxes.

Not only is the Norwich Science Festival, running October 18-26, packed with fascinating ways for kids and adults to wile away an autumnal afternoon, it's also a celebration of the incredible scientific breakthroughs happening right here in Norfolk.

Barney the Bee will be buzzing with plenty of fascinating facts at Earlham Institute's Bumblebee Trail on October 22     Picture: Norwich Science FestivalBarney the Bee will be buzzing with plenty of fascinating facts at Earlham Institute's Bumblebee Trail on October 22 Picture: Norwich Science Festival

As David Parfrey, executive chair for Norwich Research Park, explains: "The Norwich Science Festival has established itself as a fabulous showcase for what is happening in science, and how science research is going to help us address some of the major challenges facing the human race. I'm delighted that so many members of the Norwich Research Park community are participating in it."

Volcano experts, space-curious authors and neuroscientists who have all worked at the research park will also be sharing their incredible work with audiences. UEA's 'geohazards' research group has a 3m tall roaring 'volcano', with light tubes showing the magma's journey. You can climb inside to learn the stories of Montserratians whose lives were transformed when the island's volcano, dormant for 300 years, erupted in 1995.

"We'll have bits of volcanoes that people can hold, space for people to make their own volcanic earthquakes, and a preparedness game where people can pack their pillowcase with essentials for an emergency," says Dr Jessica Johnson, lecturer in geophysics at UEA.

Meanwhile, brain injury survivor James Piercy and neuroscientist Dr Michael Grey will discuss the brain's ability to rewire itself after injury, and demonstrate how James' brain changes as he learns new tasks. James, a science educator at the research park, says: "I want to show people that good recovery from injuries like a stroke is possible by helping the brain to make new connections."

Brain injury affects 250,000 people every year – Dr Michael Grey and brain injury survivor James Piercy reveal how 'neuroplasticity' works to rewire the brain     Picture: Norwich Science FestivalBrain injury affects 250,000 people every year – Dr Michael Grey and brain injury survivor James Piercy reveal how 'neuroplasticity' works to rewire the brain Picture: Norwich Science Festival

For the full Norwich Science Festival 2019 programme visit norwichsciencefestival.co.uk

Don't miss these local science highlights:

Greta Mitchell will read from her space exploration-themed picture book 'There's No Place Like...'     Picture: Norwich Science FestivalGreta Mitchell will read from her space exploration-themed picture book 'There's No Place Like...' Picture: Norwich Science Festival

Small Island, Big Volcano (And the People Who Roared Back)

Saturday, October 26

1.30-2.30pm

Gallery Stage, The Forum, Norwich

Free, drop-in

Age: 10+

When they erupt, volcanoes create incredible sights and sounds, from roaring explosions to the deathly silence of a pyroclastic flow. This talk explores the eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano on Montserrat - the many inspiring ways Montserratians responded to it, what it tells us about volcanoes and how we make sense of their behaviour.

Where have you BEEn? The Bumblebee trail

Tuesday, October 22

10am-4pm

The Explorium, The Forum, Norwich

Free, drop-in

You may also want to watch:

All ages

How can we help to save bees? Possibly by planting the best wildflowers, but which flowers do bees like to visit, and where? Come and take part in this exciting trail, from the award-winning Pink Pigeon Trail team, where you'll discover how genomics can help conserve species.

Take an Urban Safari with Gaspard the Fox

Monday, October 21

1-2pm

Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library, Millennium Plain, Norwich

£2 per child

Book: store.uea.ac.uk

Age: 5-8

When BBC Radio 4 newsreader Zeb Soanes found an injured fox outside his house, it led to a beautiful friendship between Zeb and 'Gaspard' the fox. Come and hear about Gaspard's adventures, create some foxy crafts and join Zeb and a team from UEA for an urban safari into the city of Norwich.

There's No Place Like… Picture Book Reading for Families

Saturday, October 26

11am-12pm

Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library, Millennium Plain, Norwich

Free, booking required

at norwichsciencefestival.co.uk

Age: 3+

Curiosity was built for a very important purpose - to explore Mars. But it can get a bit boring exploring on your own, so Curiosity goes looking for Opportunity. Join UEA alumna Greta Mitchell for a special picture book reading about space and loneliness for kids and adults alike.

Neuroplasticity: Rewiring your Brain

Tuesday, October 22

6.30-8pm

The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich

Cost: £5, book: norwichsciencefestival.co.uk

Age: 15+

Brain injury affects 250,000 people every year. Good rehabilitation is achieved by following the principles of neuroplasticity. Join brain injury survivor James Piercy and neuroscientist Dr Michael Grey as they discuss the changing brain. Can we see James' brain change as he learns a new task?

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