This event happened in the past (2019 edition)

Norwich Research Park Day

The Explorium

This is an event from the 2019 edition

The Explorium

Discover the groundbreaking science happening at the Norwich Research Park! Find out what happens in the lab, and how the Park’s vision to change lives and rethink society is being brought to life, right on your doorstep.

Norwich Research Park
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Step into a giant nose and learn the science behind snot, allergies and asthma. Become an atmospheric detective. Take flight on the bumblebee trail or build a new species of plant from LEGO®. Activities from Norwich Research Park partners UEA, the John Innes Centre, the Quadram Institute, the Earlham Institute, The Sainsbury Laboratory, plus Big C: Norfolk’s Cancer Charity.

Please note that the seed pod explosion is no longer happening, and NNUH can no longer attend.

Illustration: DesignPod


Building Plants

The way a plant looks is determined by its DNA. Follow the genetic instructions to build a new plant from LEGO, or create a pea by rolling a dice. How many different plants can we get by starting with the same materials? How will the weather effect your plant? Scientists from the John Innes Centre celebrate 100 years of the Genetic Society by exploring genes in this hands-on activity.

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science, genetics and microbiology. The John Innes Centre has a long tradition of training PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. PhD degrees obtained via the John Innes Centre are awarded by the University of East Anglia. The John Innes Centre has a contingent of postdoctoral researchers, many of whom are recruited onto the institute’s Post-doctoral Training Fellowship programme. The John Innes Centre is also the Norwich base of the Sainsbury Laboratory, an institute focused on plant disease.

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Sonification – An Interdisciplinary Project

Sonification sound-boardsonification (noun): the use of non-speech audio to convey information or perceptualise data.

We can use sonification to represent data, like the beeps of a heart rate monitor in a hospital. We can also draw inspiration from natural phenomena to create sonic compositions. Engage your senses and learn how sonification can present ecological data in a way that is both scientifically and artistically useful, and find out how the arts and sciences can contribute to the public understanding of both disciplines.

Dr Stephen Bennett is a Lecturer in Humanities in the Interdisciplinary Institute of the Humanities at the University of East Anglia.


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The Sainsbury Laboratory: The Science of Plant-microbe Interactions

Sainsbury LabThe scientists from the Sainsbury Lab are plant protectors, working hard to keep our important food crops safe from disease! Take a look through a microscope to see how disease can damage a plant, and see how researchers use scientific experiments to figure out how to treat infected crops, or even stop plant diseases altogether.

The Sainsbury Laboratory is a world-leading research institute on the Norwich Research Park, working on the science of plant-microbe interactions. The Laboratory’s main goals are to: make fundamental discoveries in the science of plant-microbe interactions; build on fundamental scientific research and deliver science solutions that reduce crop losses to important diseases; provide an outstanding training environment that prepares scientists who pass through the Laboratory to excel in their careers; and develop and deploy cutting edge technologies to combat plant diseases and accelerate breeding.

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Atmospheric Detectives

CloudsLike cows and sheep, some – but not all – people breathe out methane. Find out if you’re one of the people who exhale methane with your carbon dioxide by taking your turn on a very high-precision atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane analyser and observing the results, with UEA’s own atmospheric detectives!

Dr Andrew Manning is a Associate Professor in Atmospheric and Ocean Science in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia. He will be joined by his colleagues Leigh Fleming and Dr Matt Jones.


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I Am Quadram

Quadram InstituteMeet the team from the new Quadram Institute and learn more about the ground-breaking food and health research being done on our doorsteps on the Norwich Research Park. And if that’s not enough, find out how you can be a vital part of these life-changing discoveries.

The mission of the Quadram Institute is to understand how food and gut microbiota are linked to the promotion of health and the prevention of disease, with an emphasis on diet- and age-associated diseases. Using this knowledge, they aim to develop evidence-based strategies to maximise positive impacts of food on health, from early life to the extension of a healthy lifespan in old age, and reduce the economic and societal costs of chronic diseases.

Art of the Gut Activities

Meet Quadram’s artist in residence Jennie Pedley and explore the Art of the Gut exhibition in the BBC Foyer. Try the following activities:

  • make your own Wish for Wellness for yourself or a friend
  • use handmade templates of body parts and microbes to make a rubbing to add to the exhibition, with local sculptor, Chris Jackson.
  • take the Veg Pledge – improve your health by eating veg! Feed the microbes that help you get the most out of your food. Guess the veg from beautiful slices of vegetable papyrus!
  • make a felt microbe to wear as a sign of your pledge, with local artist Rach Anstey-Sanders.

British Sign Language interpreter available between 1pm–4pm.

Quadram Institute
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Allergy Busters

SneezingIt’s snot something you get to do every day! Step into a giant nose and learn the science behind snot, allergies and asthma. Roll up your sleeves and make some snot, learn what happens when we sneeze and why certain cells are important in asthma, and look at allergens down the microscope.

Prof Maria O’Connell is Professor of Cell Biology in the School of Pharmacy at the University of East Anglia.


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Scene It All Before? 

Golden Gate bridgeScience needs you! Be part of an ongoing research programme investigating how we process scenes in our day-to-day lives. Join UEA’s Dr Louise Ewing for a series of exciting psychological experiments that will really make you think about how you understand scenes.

Dr Louise Ewing is a Lecturer in Psychology in the School of Psychology at the University of East Anglia.


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Big C –  Cancer Awareness

Big C UV cameraDiscover what the Big C is doing locally to educate people about cancer prevention and early detection. Get stuck in with some hands on mini workshops at their stand to help you improve your health and wellbeing.

See how the sun can damage your skin – and how applying sun cream can prevent this – in this hands-on activity. Apply some fun sun cream colours and see what effect it has, with Big C’s UV camera!

The Big C Cancer Charity funds world-class research into many different types of cancer across the Norwich Research Park, invests in medical diagnostic and treatment equipment in Norfolk’s hospitals and provides practical and emotional support through its acute and community Big C Centres. This year Big C are further developing their community education programme to encourage early detection through educating about the signs and symptoms of cancer and healthy lifestyle. Our aim is to achieve better outcomes for those directly or indirectly affected by cancer living in Norfolk and Waveney.

Big C

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Nature’s Dazzling Diversity

Did you know that our planet is home to millions of species, and there are still millions more to discover? In nature you can find every colour, pattern and shape imaginable across the animals, plants and microbes living alongside us. But where did this amazing diversity come from, and why should we care about it?

Join a team of researchers from the University of East Anglia who are studying how and why biodiversity evolves. You will be introduced to incredible copycat fish, birds with spoons for beaks, and creepy-crawlies of all shapes and sizes. Alongside a fun set of activities, you will learn why Charles Darwin’s ideas were so important for how we think about nature, and why we should value biodiversity much more than we do.

Dr Lewis Spurgin is a research fellow in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia.


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Science Scribbles

Science Scribbles merchandisePick up some fantastically fun science merch at Norwich Science Festival!

Science Scribbles is an online store that sells science-themed merchandise such as fun and colourful stickers, postcards and bookmarks.

The store was created by Lauren Callender, a PhD student on a mission to encourage and inspire younger generations to pursue a career in science.

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Wednesday 23 October
Venue: The Forum’s Explorium
Cost: Free, drop-in
Age: All ages