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When the lights go out

Marion E Brooks-Bartlett21 June 2012

Sleep illustration

Sleep illustration by Matteo Farinella

Have you ever wondered what happens the moment you close your eyes and go to sleep? Did people give you this vague understanding of ‘it’s the time when your body gets to rest’?

Well, following Hans Berger’s invention of the Electroencephalogram (EEG) in 1924, we have been able to measures brain activity and we can now see that the brain is actually very active during sleep.

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Aufwiedersehen Cheltenham

Frances-Catherine Quevenco15 June 2011

Bags unpacked and a new stack of unread copies of Eureka magazine added to my collection, I look back fondly on my week at the Cheltenham Science Festival. From the beautiful scenery of the English countryside, to my fellow bursary students, to the many intriguing science talks and interactive zones, there is nothing I would not happily do again.

Alongside the many talks held at the festival there were also plenty interactive science activities for young, old, and those somewhere in the middle. My favourite in particular was the “Who wants to be a Science Presenter?” activity in the BBC Science tent, where the Brian Coxes of tomorrow could have a go at presenting a little bit of science of their own and to make things more realistic you were given props, a fake earpiece, and a camera filming you live.

The Discovery Zone in the Town Hall was also a haven of fun and learning. I recall standing wide-eyed amidst a group of fifth graders watching a scientist from Liverpool University demonstrate how to make water into dry powder. I also loved the idea of the Talking Point tent that allowed the audience members and the speakers to congregate, ask questions and lead discussions outside of the lecture. I felt that this made science seem more accessible, especially since the speakers were so open to answering questions.
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