The event has just finished, incidentally. Yesterday I hosted Search for a Planet, which was a way of exploring planets, physics, and geology. A short video from the ship’s computer explained to the team that they (the crew) had been woken from hibernation to help to find a new planet to land on, since the ship’s database has been destroyed. Information on various physical factors was available – star type, temperature, gravity, atmospheric composition etc. – and the team had to use that information to search for an appropriate planet to make their new home. It was a very cool activity, with a strong visual impact. The science elements were key to solving the puzzle, i.e. understanding the difference between degrees Kelvin and Celsius (most of the students hadn’t come across Kelvin before); working out the correct mix of gases in the atmosphere; knowing how much gravity is OK before you get squashed flat.
The talk yesterday morning was by Dave Conway-Jones, who showed off the Hursley Emerging Technology lab by remote control, and talked about motes and zigbee and various other new, cool technologies. Today we had Ian Hughes talking about Wimbledon, as well as a talk by Peter Robinson from Cambridge University on using computers to analyse emotions through facial expressions.
Today it was back to Three Wise Monkeys for me. Strangely appropriate, given the press coverage. Anyway, I’ve had a great time – roll on next year.