Wonder 2017: Watch Vikings battle, and create body parts from jelly

 Wonder Vikings
26 May 2017 14:40:55.917

Have you ever wondered what Mars looks like, what your skin’s made of, how planes can fly, why T-rex had tiny arms or how Vikings fought?

It’s now less than a month to go until you can find out at Wonder 2017.

On Saturday 17 June 2017 between 11am and 5pm, the University of Nottingham will be throwing open its doors to the local community to uncover and answer the questions you’ve always wondered about. The free event, held at University Park and previously known as May Fest, gives curious minds the chance to try a variety of fun and hands-on activities.

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Visitors are invited to explore the University’s ground-breaking research and world-class teaching first-hand by taking part in family-friendly activities, split into zones and by age range, to ensure they get the most out of their day.

Wonder what you look like inside?

All the events are run by staff and students at the university. Assistant Professor in Early English Paul Cavill is behind a re-enactment of a Viking battle against Anglo-Saxons.

He said: “Our students will be using authentic weapons and clothing to reproduce as closely as possible the appearance and conditions of warriors in battle. They’ll be using historical records to guide their re-enactment of the fighting strategies that were used.”

Remarkable Respiratory will include a number of for children and families to help them understand the way our lungs work and the research we do in respiratory medicine.

Rebecca Braybrooke, Research Facilitator and Project Manager in the School of Medicine, said: “These will include making balloon lungs from bottles, creating gunge sputum with jelly and chocolate sprinkles, and fashioning DNA bracelets.

“People will also have opportunity to use microscopes and pipettes to provide experience with real science laboratory equipment. Look out for the unique VIRTUALI-TEE t-shirts which will also be on show allowing people a fun way to see inside the human body.”

A lecture on the Lighter Side of Chemistry will be delivered by the University’s Professor of Chemistry Sir Martyn Poliakoff, who fronts the internet YouTube sensation the Periodic Table of Videos.

Sir Martyn said: “The lecture demonstrates some of the chemical effects of light — so-called Photochemistry and shows how this is being exploited in research at the University to make it easier for industry to manufacture key chemicals that we need to treat diseases.”

Other events and activities throughout the day will include:

  • Solve clues on the Raiders of the Lost Park treasure hunt around Highfields.
  • Watch extreme experiments which burn, cut, smash and crush materials.
  • Discover how your body works with hands-on activities.
  • Learn new skills with the University’s futsal team.
  • Get crafty and help create our mini sculpture park.
  • Wow at our race-winning electronic motorbike.

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.

“We care deeply about the University’s connection to the community and appreciate how many local people, businesses and partners in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire are involved in making what we do at the University possible. What better way to showcase the contributions that the University makes to education, research and business than opening up the campus to our community who are such an important part of our success.

“We will bring children and grown-ups from all backgrounds together at University Park, for a fantastic free day out with some very exciting activities, experiments and demonstrations. We’d encourage anyone interested to come and join us for what promises to be a stimulating and fun-filled day.”

A full list of all the Wonder activities is now available to explore on the website, along with a new app which will go live in early June, to guide visitors around University Park Campus. Users of the app can collect points on their journey and pick up rewards along the way. 

— Ends —

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…


Story credits


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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telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798
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