First person: Renee Watson on science and the city
11:10am Friday 8th March 2013 in News
I would be willing to bet that before 9am this morning you relied on science. In fact you probably relied on science a lot! The timer in your alarm, the chemistry of your shampoo and that nutritiously balanced breakfast cereal all uses science. Not only is this proof that science is part of everyone’s life it also shows that science is incredibly cool. When you start to look through the microscope at your life even those of you who get a cold shiver when you hear the word ‘science’ must have to admit that it is a huge part of your life.
Of course I appreciate that not everyone is like me. I hear the word science and immediately my body responds with a pleasurable feeling akin to eating chocolate. I was one of the lucky ones, I was taken to a science museum on a school trip when I was six and have been addicted ever since. As the manager of the Oxfordshire Science Festival (OSF) I get to share my passion with all kinds of people.
As a science ambassador I also get to blow stuff up, play with Lego and be inspired by the natural curiosity of children. What a job?! OSF has shown me that Oxfordshire is a great place to be in love with science. Our county is like a frontier (cue little house on the prairie or other more current freedom tune), like a wilderness filled with explorers constantly discovering new, exciting and incredibly important things. Did you know that we host a company that is designing and building an aeroplane that will be able to get you to Australia in five hours? Forget Majorca give me the Great Barrier Reef!
The University of Oxford plays host to a research group currently testing a completely new bowel cancer treatment, another that is developing a vaccine for malaria and HIV, yet another that has designed the self-driving car you and I will probably drive within the next 15 years.
Oxford Brookes scientists have developed a sensor to detect the early signs of Parkinson’s disease, were integral in the invention of the now very popular bamboo bike and an incredible “wonder book” which uses computer vision technology and is being brought to market with Sony. Excited yet? I hope you are feeling some of that science-love because our future depends on it. It is a vital currency and just like you don’t have to be an economist to talk about money you don’t have to be a scientist to talk about science.
There are plenty of local opportunities to talk about science.
The Oxfordshire Science Festival includes around 100 events, courses, seminars, activities, exhibitions and workshops.
Last year about 30,000 people had a go at our events. Join us at one of our 2013 events, invest in your future and see whether you can catch a dose of science fever.
n Oxfordshire Science Festival runs from Saturday until March 24. For further information, go to the website oxfordshiresciencefestival.co.uk