According to the Bristol University website “Bristol’s streets are set to be transformed into a living laboratory of innovation and experimentation as Bristol Bright Night sweeps through the city for the very first time.”
In my experience I would say this didn’t quite feel the case, as so many people along the waterfront area of Bristol seemed to be oblivious to it. In a way this worked in my favour as I didn’t have the chance to ‘book’ any free tickets, it meant I had the chance to just wander round and get involved in the evening.
The event started at 12:00 noon and went on until midnight. I participated from around 7pm until 10pm, as I was working during the day.
I attended some talks by a range of University researchers based in Bristol. The 5 minute long micro talks, hosted by The Watershed, cover subjects such as robot swarms, genetics of fruit flies, and when humans started drinking milk. The micro talks were good because they forced the researchers to be brief in their explanations and left no room for anything too complicated. On the other hand, to really understand why this research is being done, the talks could have been a bit longer.
After this I took advantage of At-Bristol, the city’s premier science and discovery centre, FREE night for adults. Regaining a sense of childlike wonder and exploration, I played with a model of the human body attempting to place the vital organs in the right place. I was not aware quite how big the liver is! Had a go at generating electricity from pumping water, messed around with some pendulums, and got to go in to the Planetarium – again for FREE.
Overall I didn’t feel like I saw anything totally awe-inspiring, because most of the information was presented in a straight forward research led, non-theatrical way. What I did feel was a sense of wonder at all the things that go on, both in the world and universe, that I just don’t think about on a day-to-day basis. Also, at the vast array of research and work going on in the city, exploring things which shape our lives and the way we all understand things. Fruit flies are helping with genetic understanding of conditions like Alzheimer’s, humans shouldn’t be able to digest milk, the nearest galaxy to our galaxy is on a collision course with our galaxy.
Bight Night was an international event that took place in 300 cities across Europe as part of the European Commission’s Researchers Night. I look forward to next years event!