Science on a grand scale at the Urdd National Eisteddfod
Swansea University will be showcasing science on a grand scale at one of Europe’s largest youth festivals, when it comes to Swansea next week.
The Urdd National Eisteddfod will take place at Felidre, near Swansea, from Monday May 30 until Saturday, June 4, 2011.
One of the festival’s flagship exhibitions – the GwyddonLe science pavilion – will bring science to life for the thousands of young people who will visit the event. GwyddonLe will hold all kinds of interactive scientific exhibitions and workshops for all ages on the theme of ‘Scale’.
Swansea University has teamed up with a host of other organisations – including Tata Steel, Techniquest, the National Botanic Garden of Wales and Keep Wales Tidy – to create an exciting learning environment.
Professor Richard B Davies, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are proud to support the Urdd National Eisteddfod again, particularly as this year’s host city is Swansea.
“If universities are to build effectively upon the success of Welsh medium schools it is essential that Welsh is seen not only as a language of the arts and culture, but also of science, research, and enterprise. This is why we are delighted to join with the Urdd in presenting the GwyddonLe this year, which will give a flavour of the world-class research and teaching expertise of our academic staff and postgraduate students.
“We hope that by bringing science to life in a fun and interactive way, the GwyddonLe activities will inspire many young minds to pursue careers in the key strategic growth areas that underpin economic growth and prosperity – following in the proud scientific tradition Wales holds and Swansea University represents.”
Professor Iwan Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, added: “We are delighted to see the realisation of the GwyddonLe partnership between the University and the Urdd Eisteddfod.
“We have recently established Academi Hywel Teifi to promote more opportunities for Welsh medium teaching and learning in all disciplines and we are particularly keen to build on our established strengths in Modern Languages, History and Law and extend this to the sciences and technology and Life and Health Sciences.
“The thousands of children visiting the Urdd Eisteddfod receive their education through the medium of Welsh and we hope that the science activities at the GwyddonLe will inspire them to continue their studies into University.”
Aled Siôn, Director of the Urdd National Eisteddfod, said: “GwyddonLe is an innovative project and one of the festival’s flagship exhibitions and we’re grateful to the University not only for their support but also their expertise in the science field.”
GwyddonLe, in partnership with Swansea University
The GwyddonLe, which is open daily from 10am until 4pm, promises to offer an attractive science experience to visitors throughout the Urdd Eisteddfod week.
A scale model of the BLOODHOUND SSC supersonic car will be on show and members of the project’s team – who are attempting to raise the World Land Speed Record to 1,000mph – will be discussing how the car has been designed.
Researchers at Swansea University have played a key role in the design of the vehicle, which is now being built with an attempt on the record planned for 2012.
The College of Engineering will showcase research into ‘shape-memory alloy’ putty, fingerprints, and hydrogen/electrolysis. There will also be a chance to discover how the buildings of the future will be able to produce their own electricity, as scientists demonstrate how solar cells are built and how a special ‘paint’ can produce electricity.
Physicists from the College of Science will be demonstrating an atomic force microscope to show structures down to nanometres and will be illustrating how liquid nitrogen affects matter.
There will be Maths puzzles and quizzes to amaze and amuse.
The College of Medicine will be running sessions on the topics of ‘Bacteria, can you see them?’, ‘Antibiotics, where do they come from?’, and ‘The body’, and asking visitors questions such as “Do you know how long your intestine is?” and “Do you know what is in your stomach?”
The Geography Department in the College of Science will be offering activities ranging from ‘the smallest grains to the greatest of forces’, with sessions on ‘Glacial Goo’, allowing visitors to get to grips with glaciers, by creating their own; ‘Fossil Hunt’, allowing visitors to unearth their own fossils and learn about how geologists work in the field; and ‘Ice cores’, allowing visitors to explore ice cores hands-on, to discover how the secrets of past climates can be found in ancient ice.
The Biosciences Department in the College of Science will be offering visitors the opportunity to get to know some of the creatures who live in the sea and on its shore in the exciting Touch Pool. Visitors will also be able to make a new home for insects, find out what an owl had for supper, and discover the big shark that lives in the pond in their back gardens.
Attention will also be drawn to the relationship between Ethics and Science – young visitors will be encouraged to discuss and note their opinions about topics such as human cloning and nanotechnology.
Swansea University stand
Among the activities and information on offer to visitors to Swansea University’s other stand on the Field will be language taster sessions delivered by staff from the Modern Languages Department.
The School of Law’s Hywel Dda Institute will also have a presence, with a session delivered by the research institute’s Director, Dr Gwynedd Parry. Kathryn Devonald Davies from the School of Law will also be delivering an information session on the University’s Legal Practice Course (LPC).
There will be displays from the Modern Languages Department, Academi Hywel Teifi, the Hywel Dda Institute, the South Wales Miners’ Library, and the Richard Burton Centre.
And the poet Robat Powell will be launching a book of englynion (traditional Welsh short poem form), written by students of the Department of Adult Continuing Education (DACE) class ‘Creu ar Gynghanedd’, at the stand at 12:30pm on Thursday, June 2.
Representatives from the University’s academic Colleges and Schools and current Swansea students will be on hand throughout the week to answer visitors’ questions about study areas and student life, and the University’s prospectus and course literature will be available.
Swansea University alumni will also have the opportunity to join the Alumni Association at the stand.
Professor of English Literature at Swansea, M.Wynn Thomas is a judge of one the main literary competitions, The Crown, awarded for the best prose writer.
The Urdd National Eisteddfod will take place at the Felindre site (just off the M4), Swansea from Monday, May 30 until Saturday, June 4, 2011. For more information visit http://www.urdd.org/en/eisteddfod/urdd-national-eisteddfod.
For more information about Swansea University visit www.swansea.ac.uk.