Delve into a world of discovery and extraordinary experiments

Researchers-nightThe world’s first robotic plant, glowing zebrafish embryos and a kinetic sculpture of ice and fire will be on show as the University of Sheffield offers a glimpse into its world leading research during Researchers’ Night (Friday 26 September 2014).

The University will open its doors from 5pm-8pm, where more than 120 researchers and students will host night-time experiments, talks, tours and demonstrations covering topics from archaeology to dentistry and languages to psychology.

Roboplant, an artificial human-sized plant designed by Sheffield scientists to demonstrate the fundamental steps of photosynthesis, will greet visitors to the University’s Alfred Denny Building – where the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences will showcase its work.

A giant computer game will be projected onto a wall of the University’s historic Firth Court, where visitors can create and destroy cells as they learn about the role of chemotherapy and antibiotics in the fight against cancer and other diseases.

Over on the University’s concourse, Sheffield artist Jonny White will showcase the Human Machine – a four-metre high kinetic sculpture made of steel armature and working ice gear wheels – which will be set alight in a spectacular display.

Visitors can also take a look through the microscope at beautiful zebrafish embryos and learn how scientists are using the humble creatures to study a range of human diseases and the hopes they have for discovering new treatments.

Dr Nate Adams, from the University’s Department of Molecular Biology, will delve through the history books to recreate some of his favourite demonstrations from the 18th and 19th century using a Van de Graaff generator – a device to make very high voltages – with something potentially highly flammable and rocket propelled.

A unique collaboration between Project Neurone, the Sheffield Centre of Robotics and ScienceGrrl will allow visitors to immerse themselves in a world of robots – even learning how to control a robot to save the world from a zombie apocalypse.

Visitors will also be able to delve into particle physics using the University cloud chamber, hear a talk about Barry Hines, the writer of A Kestrel for a Knave, filmed as Kes, take a sneak peek into a Biblical Studies researcher’s scrapbook and learn how magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can unlock the secrets of our brains.

Professor Tony Ryan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science at the University of Sheffield, said: “Researchers night goes from strength to strength. Engaging with the public makes for better research that is informed by the concerns of the citizens who both fund and use it.

“But most of all it is great fun – I love seeing our researchers delighting children with their amazing feats and dazzling their parents with our world leading knowledge.”

Events are aimed at secondary school students, sixth formers and adults. It is completely free and no booking is required.

Researchers’ Night is part of the University of Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind, which sees the University’s world leading academics join forces with some of the country’s most famous artists, musicians and performers to take their research to the streets.

For more information about Researchers’ Night, visit


Researchers’ Night

Festival Of The Mind