The Science Fair

Sun 28 Sep 2014

As part of our Watch the Skies! weekend we want you to meet scientists from across The University of Manchester and take the chance to discuss their weird and wonderful work – from taking a virtual reality walk inside a space station, to escaping the leafy-teeth of carnivorous plants.

Responding to key themes from our feature films, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Ridley Scott’s Alien, these special exhibitions will be open from 17:30 – 19:30 on both Fri 03 Oct and Sat 04 Oct.

Entry to all exhibitions is included in the price of a Watch the Skies!  ticket.


In space, no-one can hear you scream

Responding to the film Alien’s strapline, we invite you to play a selection of actual sounds from space, including recordings of pulsars, the city sized remnants of exploded stars recorded with the telescope at Jodrell Bank. The first of these to be discovered was dubbed LGM-1 (Little Green Man 1), because its repetitive flashing was at first suspected to be a message from extra-terrestrials.

Exploring Space

Watch some of the classic footage of Jodrell Bank’s role in the space race from the 1950s and 60s, including the first photographs ever sent from the surface of the Moon (in 1966, but sadly not revealing any black monoliths) and the tracking of the Eagle Lander. Bring the story right up to date by talking to our scientists about how they use telescopes around the world and in space, including the Planck spacecraft, partly built here and used to study the fading glow of the Big Bang.

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When Plants Bite Back

The creature in Alien is a classic sci-fi monster but we don’t need to go off-planet to find weird and wonderful life-forms that demonstrate nature red in tooth, claw and leaf – the Earth is full of them already! Scientists from the Faculty of Life Sciences will be showing off their collection of carnivorous plants.

Earth and Solar System

See and touch rocks from the Moon and even Mars as part of a collection of meteorites brought by scientists from the University’s School of Earth, Atmospheric & Environmental Sciences. Learn more about how they help us understand the origins of our own solar system.


Virtual Reality

Try out an Oculus Rift VR headset with scientists from the University’s School of Computer Science. Discover your inner Sandra Bullock or George Clooney with a demo of a virtual spacewalk outside the International Space Station.


Meet scientists from the RoboGals Manchester team, have a go at programming robots and find out more about their use in science and engineering. We’re not guaranteeing you’ll get near to producing a HAL 9000 but we’l put a manual override on our pod-bay doors just in case.

For more information about the weekend, screenings and additional commissions please visit the Watch the Skies! event page.

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