Wonder 2017: The University of Nottingham's 'Man with the X-Ray Eyes'

 Highfields lake
09 Jun 2017 14:34:09.507

With just over a week to go until the University of Nottingham throws open its doors to the local community for Wonder 2017, its very own Professor Todd Landman is busy preparing for what seems the impossible feat.

Professor Landman, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle, will attempt to cycle blindfolded around Highfields Lake raising money for the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre at the University. 

In 1945, the amazing Kuda Bux, an Indian magician known as the Hindu Mystic and the ‘Man with the X-Ray Eyes’, skilfully rode a bicycle through a congested Times Square in New York City completely blindfolded. Professor Landman will attempt to carry out a similar stunt.

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Don’t try this at home!

Preparations have been underway for some time with Professor Landman working hard on memorising a detailed map of the perimeter of Highfields Lake in front of the historic Trent Building at the University.

He said: “On the day of the event, I shall be blindfolded and filmed riding a bicycle around the entire lake. The path is not without risks as the lake and the surrounding park is a popular place for the public to gather. But the combination of my memory of the map and my intuitive sense of space will allow me to navigate the treacherous route.”

If this wasn’t challenging enough, due to works being carried out on the west side of the lake, he has had to recalibrate his memory exercises to take into account the new ‘East Side’ route.

He added: “I am very excited to attempt this daring feat and to follow in the tradition of such a great magician as Kuda Bux. The event will be live streamed and filmed on the day.”

A randomly selected member of the public will be asked to try on the blindfold to ensure that he will not be able to see while carrying out the challenge.

The thrilling activity, which will take place at midday, starting at the Djanogly Theatre, DH Lawrence Pavilion, is part of Life Cycle 7 which is raising funds to create a brighter future for children with brain tumours. You can sponsor Professor Landman at his fundraising Just Giving page or donate via one of the collection buckets on campus.

Inspiring curious minds

Wonder 2017, which takes place on Saturday 17 June, is a free event for the local community to explore University Park and experience the ground-breaking research and world-class teaching first-hand. Previously known as May Fest, it gives curious minds the chance to take part in a huge variety of exciting family- friendly activities, split into zones by age range, to ensure they get the most out of their day.

Professor Landman’s attempt of the impossible will be just one of the many exciting and inspiring events taking place throughout the fun-packed day.

Other activities will include:

  • Solve clues on the Raiders of the Lost Park treasure hunt around Highfields — adventure awaits on this great fun, self-led nature trail, filled with riddles and tasks.
  • Watch extreme experiments which burn, cut, smash and crush materials — our chemical engineer will push the ordinary to the extraordinary.


  • Discover how your body works with hands-on activities — make balloon lungs from bottles and create gunge sputum with jelly and chocolate sprinkles.


  • Learn new skills with the University’s futsal team — let the Futsal Academy put you through your paces with this fun skills coaching session.


  • Get crafty and help create our mini sculpture park — artist Sarah Palmer will be on hand to help you build sculptures with an abundance of colourful materials to choose from.
  • Wow at our race-winning electronic motorbike — watch fantastic footage and a live demonstration of our superbike which won the European Track Series in 2015 and 2016.

Debbie Henthorn, Deputy Director of Campaign and Alumni Relations, and a team from across the University are organising Wonder.

She said: “We are delighted to be welcoming the community back into the University of Nottingham this June, for our incredible brand new event.

A full list of all the Wonder activities is now available to explore on the website, along with a new app which you can find on Google Play by searching ‘UoN Wonder 2017’. The app includes all of the programme listings and can help you navigate your way around campus. Users can also collect reward points along the way and claim a free hot drink.  

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Our academics can now be interviewed for broadcast via our Media Hub, which offers a Globelynx fixed camera and ISDN line facilities at University Park campus. For further information please contact a member of the Communications team on +44 (0)115 951 5798, email mediahub@nottingham.ac.uk or see the Globelynx website for how to register for this service.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


Liz Cass - Head of Media Relations

Email: liz.cass@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 748 4734 Location: University Park

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Published Date
Monday 8th April 2019

Media Relations - External Relations

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