STEM in Song

The LMB atrium was filled with music during STEM in Song as the Girls’ Choir of St Catharine’s College performed songs featuring microbes, the scientific pioneer Margaret Cavendish and the chemical formula for DDT. The highlight of the show was the premiere of ‘There in Front of Me’, the winning poem from the STEM in Song competition set to music by the choir’s composer, Gwyneth Herbert. The poem’s author, Isabella Bridge, was present during the event, and read her poem to the audience before the song’s premiere.

The music was interspersed with entertaining scientific demonstrations by Dr Mairi Kilkenny and Dr Neil Rzechorzek from the University of Cambridge Biochemistry Department. They wowed the audience with a disappearing water trick and flowers that shattered after rapid freezing in liquid nitrogen.

Following the performance, visitors learned more about the cutting-edge research taking place at the LMB. During laboratory tours LMB scientists introduced their work on signalling pathways in cancer and the chemical origin of life. There was also chance to meet researchers at two family-friendly hands-on exhibits: ‘Mighty Molecular Motors’ and ‘From mini-brains in a dish to big brains in our heads’. Visitors discovered the tiny machines that organise the inside of our cells by making pompom and pipe cleaner models of the molecular motor, dynein, viewing Tetrahymena cilia in-action and rotating 3D molecular structures. Visitors could view ‘mini-brains’ in a dish and find out how these brain organoids are used to study brain development, and then test their matching skills in the ‘Where is my brain?’ game.

Over 150 visitors attended the two events, comments from them included:

“Thank you for an excellent event. Loved STEM in Song, the lab tours and mini brains are amazing. Thank you!”

“I really liked how we could see all the cells and how interesting our bodies actually are”

“Very inspiring and an eye opener for parents & children. A discussion opener about future careers for the children”

“Fascinating to find out about all the work happening here, great to see the labs and hear from the people doing the research”

Further references:

Cambridge Science Festival