For some brief respite from the onslaught of awesome science, I took the opportunity to visit the Biomolecular Discovery Dome (Hall C) – a portable exhibit, sponsored by the Public Affairs Committee. The dome, which resembles a black Styrofoam igloo, is designed to be taken into schools and teach high school students about a variety of difficult-to-grasp topics, from HIV replication to ribosomes.
In the UK we are seeing a rapid increase in demand from the public for science outreach. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Network brings experts from various disciplines into the public eye with school workshops, public lectures and events. Organisations such as these, as well as the week-long Cambridge Science Festival, are both significant demonstrations of the public’s thirst for knowledge. This demand places the scientists willing to communicate their research at a critical interface between the lab and the lecture hall.
The discovery dome is a well executed example of how public engagement can inspire the next generation of bioscientists and galvanise other members of the public to learn more about the world around them. The dome will be going on the road later this year so go and have a look!