Women in Science Fair

On this glorious sunny day, I set off to MOSI to help out with the event Women in Science Fair organised by Manchester Girl Geeks (mainly coordinated by Katie Steckles).

Five female scientists’ lives were staged: Caroline Herschel, Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie, Delia Derbyshire, Grace Hopper. Each of them had an amateur actress performing their lives, and some hands-on activities to accompany the learning of their achievements. For example, at the stall about Grace Hopper, visitors learned to spell their names in ASCII code. At the Florence Nightingale stall, visitors learned about data visualisation and infographics (first introduced by the mathematician Nightingale). At the completion of some exercise (identifying different kinds of diagrams and charts), visitors were offered sweets of 4 different colours. When a colour was selected, a sweet was removed from a bar chart made of sweets, and offered to the visitor who selected it. At the end of the event, the bar chart would represent which colour of the sweets was the most popular. It turned out that the red bar was the lowest, so the red candies were the most popular amongst the visitors. [photos to be followed shortly]

There were also posters about female celebrities who have science degrees (a list compiled by volunteers – however, to be honest, it was not an easy task and it was even more difficult to find British female celebrities with science degrees). We also compiled a list of female astronauts, a list of women with Nobel Prizes, and a list of everyday items invented by women (including windscreen wipers, invented by Mary Anderson in 1903).

The majority of the young visitors were much more juvenile than we expected (like under 10s). This is a serious problem – it shows how little teenagers are engaged with museums and galleries and classic music concerts these days. Well, hopefully we managed to inspire some young minds and some parents at the end of the day.

On this glorious sunny day, nearly 20 female volunteers showed up at MOSI to help out with this event. It showed that we care. It also showed that we can make a difference.

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