Thursday, 21 April 2011

MadLab - Love to learn

Here’s a quick update on two new projects that MadLab have added to their plethora of creative/techy goings-on. If you love to learn about science/techy/crafty things then read on...

This spring, Madlab launched the Omniversity, a series of professional training courses at the MadLab lead by some of the sharpest minds and most cutting-edge practitioners in digital and future-looking sectors in the country.
Topics covered will include progressive technologies like Arduino, an open source programming tool that can be used to make interactive electronic objects and is a favourite with artists and crafty hackers. It’s designed to be easy to use, so you don’t need a background in programming to work it out. To get an idea of what you could do with this tool, check out for an inspiring list of weird and wonderful Arduino-based creations). 

The Beginner's Guide to Arduino course will be starting on June 4th 2011 – head over to the Omniversity site for details or follow their tweets @Omniversity.
Madlab and MMU have been awarded a Wellcome Trust grant for public engagement and have launched 12 month DIYbio project in Manchester, riding on the wave of the popularity of community labs that have been springing up over the last couple of years. DIYBio is “dedicated to making biology an accessible pursuit for citizen scientists, amateur biologists and biological engineers who value openness and safety.” Anyone can get involved, you just need passion and an inquisitive mind! Head over to the DIYBio page for details of projects and how to get on board.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Messages from space - Gagarin celebration at MOSI

We had a brilliant time yesterday. We were making and launching rockets with the museum's fabulous presenters and 'sending' messages to and from space at MOSI, all in celebration of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space 50 years ago. Kids were asked to write messages that they would send back to Earth if they were the first person in space. Here are our favourites...

Festival Director, Natalie Ireland, making rockets.

"I have reached the moon. Let's get cake when I come back."

"Hello Mum. You are the Jupiter in my solar sytem. XXX"

"In the future we may discover bacterial life on Europa. Please can I be alive to see that."
 Check out the rest of the photos on our Flickr group. Thanks to everyone who came along and participated. We had over 200 messages and they were all fantastic!

Friday, 1 April 2011

50th anniversary of Yuri Gargarin's flight into space

It’s been three weeks since our last post, so here’s some epic history to make up for our absence.

Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space when he lauched from Kazakstan on April 12th 1961, and this month we’ll be honouring the 50th anniversary of this mission by taking part in a nationwide day of rocket launching - Rockets for Yuri. Come and make rockets and send them off into the sky with us at the Museum of Science and Industry. We'll be there between 11-1pm and 2-4pm but there will be other activities, including Planetarium shows, at the museum throughout the day. Check out the Festival website for details.

After orbiting the earth and returning safely, Gagarin promptly commenced a world tour. This included a visit to Manchester and Trafford three months after his flight and we’ve managed to uncover some photos of this appearance. 

Gagarin on Chester Road, near the Manchester United football ground.
Taken by Bill Wilcox, an amateur photographer, working for Smith's Autos on Chester Road in Stretford.

Gagarin greets the crowds in Manchester

Yuri Gagarin and Bernard Lovell