8 Minutes 20 Seconds Exhibition

Think Physics joined forces with The Holy Biscuit gallery on 15th and 16th of May to contribute to another action-packed NewcastleGateshead Late Shows. This collaboration was in honour of the International Year of Light and a timely addition to Northumbria University’s UKMHD Conference this May.

The result of the collaboration was 8 Minutes 20 Seconds, an exhibition presenting an artistic interpretation of the science behind the sun. The 8 Minutes 20 Seconds refers to the time it takes for light from the Sun to reach the earth.

The exhibition featured Helen Schell’s large scale optical illusions exploring the solar eclipse and John Jo Murray’s scientific sculpture, exploring how light can create subtle changes in colour and reflections. Sarah Davis’ work explored our understanding of the world from the prehistoric era through to the present through bold motifs and colours to chart the Earth’s development and relationship to the sun. While, Emily Simpson looked at how camera filters process light differently from the human eye, exploring the impact of the sun on technology.

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The exhibition was interspersed with interactive science exhibits and texts curated by Think Physics and Northumbria University MSc Science Communications students Jacalyn Laird, Jane Shearer and Lucy Mace, who focused on how the sun creates light and how we interact with it. During the Late Shows the students guided visitors round the interactive elements of the exhibition ensuring the scientific content of the exhibition was accurate and engaging. The exhibition was enhanced by a number of events, including an opening for members of the UKMHD Conference, an Art & Science discussion evening and a visit from St Catherine’s Primary School.

All photos by A Baker Photos.

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The show has received over 1000 visitors and had some fantastic feedback from visitors:

“Fantastic! Great ideas linking art and science with some beautiful artwork and interactive exhibits”

“Informative, interesting, enjoyable. Thank you”

“Creativity and excellence – with great, clever and interactive displays.


You can read more about the Think Physics and Holy Biscuit collaboration in NARC Magazine.

IOP talk: Formation of Extrasolar Planets

Dr. Ken Rice from the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Astronomy will be here at Northumbria University on 18th June, speaking on the formation of extrasolar planets. To date we’ve confirmed the existence of almost 2,000 planets beyond our solar system – come and discover how they formed and evolved in this Institute of Physics-organised lecture.

The event will take place in room A003 in the Ellison Building, 7–8pm. All welcome.

For more information, the IOP have a glossy flier (PDF, 1Mb), and a Facebook page.

Stepping into the (not-so-lime) light!

The Centre for Life’s forthcoming live science show In a Spin is being produced in collaboration with Think Physics. Today, therefore, has involved much sketching, planning and calculating, as Joe and Duncan from Life build props and set-pieces for the show.

Don’t be fooled by the cobbled-together appearance of the strip of lightbulbs above. Oh, no. That is a very rough-around-the-edges prototype. What it shows, however, is that we’ve done our sums more-or-less correctly, and we can indeed switch a bunch of lamps with a controller and a relay without blowing anything up unintentionally. Which would have been embarrassing.

Tomorrow, Joe’s world will revolve around a pile of laser-cut arrows, and new intern Callum will hopefully show us how to draw up a PCB which we can get fabricated by Northumbria’s magnificent milling machine.

I’d say ‘watch this space,’ but really, don’t: watch the show at the Centre for Life, from 16th June.