Scientists on display at the Zoo



Scientists from Heriot-Watt escaped from their natural laboratory habitat and went on display at Edinburgh Zoo as Explorathon gave the public an opportunity to observe and interact with a range of research projects.

We gave people an opportunity to see what our researchers do and why it matters.
Laura Wicks

Organised by Heriot-Watt’s Engage group and part of a range of Explorathon events across Scotland, the Edinburgh Zoo event featured 26 research groups from around Edinburgh, 22 of them from Heriot-Watt.

The demonstrations and exhibits included how doctors, scientists and engineers are working to build a micro-robotic pill that can help diagnose and treat a variety of gut diseases; the plight of red squirrels as they battle the greys for survival; how birds use the earth’s magnetic field as a compass, how to take images so fast you can see light travelling through the air; how glowing jellyfish see inside the tiny world of living cells; what happens to the sugar in your food once you’ve eaten it; how to 3D print body parts and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s WildGenes laboratory.

Interest and enjoyment

Laura Wicks, Public Engagement Co-ordinator at Heriot-Watt, said, “This was a ‘zoo-perb’ opportunity for a wide range of the public to learn from ‘roar-inspiring’ Heriot-Watt scientists, educators and researchers. We showcased ground-breaking scientific research being undertaken at Heriot-Watt and around Edinburgh, and gave people an opportunity to see what our researchers do and why it matters.”

Co-organiser and public Engagement Co-ordinator Katarzyna Przybycien said, “As part of our widening access programme we issued 500 invitations to schools and community groups in the more deprived areas of the city and we were delighted at the interest the pupils showed and the fascinating questions they asked. They all enjoyed themselves and some didn’t want to leave at all.  Who knows, we could have been meeting some top future students there!”