2020 Nov – European Researchers’ Night, Cardiff

The annual European Researchers’ Night takes place in numerous European countries in the same week. It showcases European research and science, and involves the public in a fun and imaginative way.

Deborah Syrop (Cardiff University’s Engagement Officer) and Science Made Simple submitted a grant proposal to host an event from Cardiff. Davide Pinzan and Biologist, Dr Carlotta Olivero, contributed ideas, and all were delighted when it was successful. They chose the name Adiff (from ‘make a difference’) and designed activities online, due to the pandemic.

Davide and Carlotta co-managed the University’s Marie Curie researchers’ contributions – the topics of which ranged from eyeballs to electric pylons, coronavirus and woodlice. The researchers were illustrated in the form of cartoons, answered questions on their specialities, created videos and held quizzes.

The events included Science Busking, where researchers sat at digital tables and asked the audience to mimic simple experiments, which translated complex ideas into simple tasks. For example, Davide explained high voltage direct current (HVDC) outdoor insulation using a pen and paper. A pen becomes static when rubbed on wool or fleece, and attracts small pieces of paper. Similarly, outdoor insulators attract pollution when powered by direct voltage, which if combined with rain, can cause an unwanted explosion known as a ‘flashover’.

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