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Big Bang Fair 2013

Staff from the Environmental Research Group (ERG) at King’s College London educated members of the public on air pollution and health at this year’s Big Bang Fair.

In an activity called ‘The Art of Breathing’, children were invited to use their breath to make a drawing that resembled the branching structure of the lungs. Meanwhile, their parents were invited to investigate real-time air pollution levels in their area using the ERG’s interactive website. These activities were designed to publicise the effect of air pollution in London on lung biology and health.

Family groups could also test their lung function and compare lung size on a spirometer.

ERG staff were at the event to represent the MRC-HPA Centre for Environment & Health. They co-hosted the MRC stand alongside representatives from the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing.

Dr Helen Wood, Andrew Grieve, Tim Baker, Dr Ian Mudway and Dr Paul Pfeffer from King’s were joined by Dr Rossa Brugha, Dr Chinedu Nwokoro, Dr Isobel Dundas and Louise Cross from Queen Mary University of London, and Effie Coe, Bianca Manu and Sabina Stefanova from Invisible Dust.

The ‘Use it don’t lose it!’ team from the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, ran activities in which participants were able to test their memory agility and explore an anatomical human brain.

The Big Bang is ‘the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK’, with a national Big Bang Fair held in a different location every year. This year’s event was held at London’s ExCel centre from 14 to 17 March. Over 65,000 visitors attended the event.

The MRC stand was located in the ‘Body Talk’ zone, whose theme was ‘understanding your body inside and out’. Other exhibitors included the British Society for Immunology and King’s Health Partners, the latter offering hands-on ‘experience’ of CPR, wound sewing and delivering a baby.

King’s College London is committed to communicating the College’s activities, particularly those involving aspects of research, to a wider audience. Participation at the Big Bang Fair is the latest activity in a rolling programme of outreach events designed to engage and educate the public about air pollution and health. In addition, the MRC is celebrating its centenary this year with a special programme of public engagement activities.