We recently held our first ever Physics and Frogs A Level Study Days. On these study days students get the unique opportunity to work alongside our Curator of Herpetology, Andrew Gray, and his research colleague from the Photon Science Institute, Dr Mark Dickinson.
The day kicked off with great talks firstly from Andrew, talking about his work abroad in animal conservation and giving a great overview of how and why The Manchester Museum has and looks after a living animal collection. Andrew then talked about the research he has been involved in before handing over to Mark who had the tough task of going over the physics behind these exciting scientific techniques. Mark covered topics such as visible light, infra-red light and ultra-violet light before talking in-depth about how the techniques work and the sort of data they provide.
Following lunch, the afternoon was spent in Mark’s Lab where the pupils used Hi-tech spectrometers, Infra-red cameras, thermal imaging and Optical Coherence Tomography equipment (OCT). Andrew posted up a great OCT image of skin which you can see here.
Students really engaged with being able to carry out the research by themselves, with our supervision, and they all took the opportunity to handle the frogs and have their picture taken.
After the practical work, Andrew took all the students back over to The Museum and provided a hands-on tour of the vivarium and the other animals in his care.
I really hope that the students got as much out of the day as we did developing and delivering it, it’s a real privilege to be able to work with live animals and to work with such cutting edge equipment, so thanks to all involved!