Bollington Festival in Full Swing

The annual Bollington Festival has reached its halfway stage with the organisers and volunteers determined to make the Festival bigger and better than ever.  For the first time, there are a number of science events taking place, with prestigious speakers from a number of scientific disciplines providing entertaining and very informative presentations over the course of the Festival, which itself runs from May 8th to May 25th.

The first presentation on the science programme, the SCIBAR event – Can Humans grow new Limbs? led by the speaker for the evening Professor Enrique Amaya, of the Healing Foundation Centre, the University of Manchester, was a big success with a reported 85 people attending.  SCIBAR stands for science bar, and these events provide people with the opportunity to learn more about a specific scientific subject in an informal, relaxed environment such as a bar in a pub.  What a winning combination, a fascinating insight into a scientific topic and the chance to have a drink or two.  This type of event is building on the success enjoyed by the Knutsford SCIBAR.  Knutsford like Bollington, is a town in Cheshire, it seems that the county is becoming quite well known for its innovative science events.

The second science event took place last night.  Dr Phil Manning from the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (University of Manchester) gave a presentation entitled “Hunting Dinosaurs in the 21st Century”.  This event took place at the Bollington Arts Centre and an estimated 120 people attended.  It certainly was packed, even the balcony area had to be opened to accommodate the audience, which comprised of academics, teachers, parents and of course a lot of young dinosaur fans, or as Phil calls them “munchkins”.

The Audience Settles In

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture shows the hall filling up prior to the start of Dr Phil Manning’s talk.  The capacity of the hall is approximately 120 persons, so the venue was just about filled to its capacity.

Dr Phil Manning gave a highly entertaining and informative presentation providing the audience with further information on his work on the superbly preserved Hadrosaurine mummy “Dakota”.  It looks like this amazing specimen will provide scientists with a whole array of fresh dinosaur data and some incredible, ground breaking insight into Dinosauria.  With Phil’s easy going, engaging style the time seemed to fly by.  He discussed some of the very latest analytical techniques, reviewed the work carried out at Manchester University on dinosaur locomotion, talked in detail about the deep-scanning techniques that had been employed to help analyse the matrix surrounding the duck-billed dinosaur fossil he had been working on.  Even Darwin, Huxley and Argentinosaurus were covered, in what was a super presentation.

Dr Manning has that rare ability in a speaker to be able to engage with all the members of the audience, from the serious academics to the young children who had come to meet someone who actually digs up dinosaurs.  Although he has an extremely busy schedule, Phil took time out to answer questions from the audience at the end of his talk.  It is surprising how young children in particular, seem to be able to think of really difficult questions to ask, but Phil took them all in his stride.

Dr Phil Manning (University of Manchester)

Dr. Phil Manning

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

There are a number of other science events planned for the Bollington Festival, covering such diverse subjects as astronomy, family science workshops, and the science of smells.  There truly is something for everyone at the Bollington Science Festival.

To visit the Festival’s website: Bollington Festival

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