Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

500 celebrate Brookes' Science Bazaar

Friday, 20 March 2009

Children microscope

Oxford Brookes welcomed over 500 members of the public to its first Science Bazaar on Saturday 14th March 2009, to enjoy a free family day of science and technology.

Oxford Brookes welcomed over 500 members of the public to its first Science Bazaar on Saturday 14th March 2009, to enjoy a free family day of science and technology.

Oxford Brookes students and staff designed a range of Science, Engineering and Computing workshops in the excellent teaching and research facilities at Gipsy Lane. Hundreds of children aged from 6 to 12 and their families engaged in hands-on activities that made science and technology fun.

In the School of Life Sciences, visitors had opportunities to make smoothies in the recently furbished nutrition laboratory and see living cells using the confocal microscope. They even made their own functional food with additional nutritional benefits – pasta made with beta-glucan from barley – in the newly opened Functional Food Centre.


Children and families examined spring flowers and chromosomes under the microscopes, and budding Olympians had the chance to test their fitness levels in the new Human Performance lab.

Workshop spaces filled up fast and the drop-in sessions for bridge building and programming your own virtual world were hugely popular.

Formula Brookes car provided a talking point in the main entrance, alongside maths puzzles and hands-on nutrition demonstrations including feely boxes to identify different fruits and vegetables.

Throughout the day, groups and families competed in a University Challenge style ‘Science Challenge’, with a top prize of an annual family ticket to Science Oxford, St Clements. Families also entered the National Science and Engineering Week quiz for an extra chance to win a family day ticket to Science Oxford.

The success of the day and its popularity with the public suggest that this could become an annual event to promote public understanding of science and technology in Oxfordshire.

The event is part of the British Science Association’s National Science and Engineering Week and the Oxfordshire Science Festival. Oxford Brookes University was one of 15 organisations involved in the official launch of the festival promoting public engagement with Science on Saturday 28th February in Bonn Square, Oxford. The School of Life Sciences invited the public to test the acidity of soft drinks and to think about healthy eating in conjunction with the campaign Change4Life.

Staff in the School of Life Sciences have also been celebrating National Science and Engineering Week with school pupils from the region. Dr Henk Smit and Mr Martyn Morris ran food sensing and exercise workshops respectively for Year 9 pupils on Monday 9th March as part of Aimhigher’s event ‘Two Faces of Science’.

On Tuesday 10th March members of the Genomic Instability research group took part in the ‘How Science Works’ programme from the Oxfordshire Education Business Partnership, delivering workshops for Year 10s at Matthew Arnold School. Dr John Runions also contributed to the Cherwell School Sixth Form Science talks with his lecture “Part jellyfish, part plant: Why would scientists make such a thing?”

With thanks to Science Oxford for its support of the Science Bazaar on 14th March and donation of prizes and acknowledgements to all Oxford Brookes University staff and students who have contributed to the Oxfordshire Science Festival events.

The School of Life Sciences has a number of opportunities to support the educational development of young people in Oxfordshire and the surrounding region, and is keen to inspire the next generation of scientists.

For further information and contact details, please visit our  Schools Liaison webpage.

Read what the  Oxford Times reported.