For those of you who don't know Popup Science is a new science communication event that Seirian Sumner, Chris Wyatt and myself started in Bristol to bring scientists out of their labs and offices and onto the streets to 'popup' and engage with the public about their research.
This year Seirian and I took Popup Science with us to our conference (the International Union for the Study of Social Insect) that we were attending in Cairns. Along with our Cairns event co-organiser Tanya Latty from the University of Sydney we ran an afternoon of Popup Science on the Esplanade on the 16th of July.
We had a wonderful team of international scientists from the conference joining us for the event who were brilliant at drawing in a crowd. Although all of our topics were social insect based we covered so many different areas of their fascinating biology.
Seirian and I (University of Bristol) found a local Cairns paper wasp nest to explain why we love our model species and about how much we can learn about social evolution from them. Some friendly rivalry to team wasp arrived with Paul Eggleton (NHM London) who was persuading the public why he believes termites are so much more interesting than wasps.
The University of Sydney team brought along with them specimens of many of the bees species the group works with in both Australia and around the world as well as some discussion on social slime moulds. The bees were also represented from one of the conferences plenary speakers Jay Evans (USDA-ARD Bee Research Lab) who was addressing how different genetic approaches could be used in helping to mitigate the current declines in bee populations.
|Jay Evans and Tanya Latty trying to 'catch' the publics attention|
|People lining up to try a green ant|
|The greens ants trying to make their escape|
|The girls from Helsinki team ant|
Over the course of 4 hours we spoke to hundreds of people from holiday makers to school groups sharing all of our passion for science with them. Seirian, Tanya and myself would like to thank everyone who took part in our Cairn's Popup Science event and for making it such a successful and fun afternoon.
All of those who took part (fingers crossed I haven't missed anyone!)