Beacons for Science: ESOF project launch

12th May 2016

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From developing the first computer to becoming the city of Graphene – Manchester is definitely a world renowned centre of science.

We are very excited to be sponsoring this year’s European City of Science festival in Manchester –  a chance for the city to showcase its unique scientific heritage and contribution to scientific study. At the heart of this festival is the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) which will bring over 4,500 leading thinkers, innovators, policy makers, journalists and educators from more than 90 countries to Manchester in July.

On Monday the 9th May, we attended the ‘Beacons for Science’ launch event at HOME – an interactive digital project that will provide a platform with the aim of getting people involved with science around the city in an easy and simple way through an app that will be available on mobile. This app will be integral to audience experience around Manchester, allowing people not only to see what is going on around the city, but to ‘’see through it’’ by providing a number of innovative technologies, films and virtual reality experiences that let you go under, over and inside the buildings of Manchester.

The idea at the heart of this app is to allow people around the city to‘’stumble upon science’’ in an accessible way, with location-reactive notifications about great things happening nearby in the city. Not only will this step-up the levels of engagement for those attending, but it is also encouraging people across Manchester from different organisations to collaborate and create new and exciting content.

One of these projects will focus on representing Manchester’s (often forgotten) legacy of women who have contributed to science. The Beacons for Science app will feature cutting edge technology that will allow virtual statues of Manchester’s women of science to appear around the city to remind us of their pioneering work. One of these will be Emily Williamson, a 19th century campaigner against the killing of birds to use as hats and fashion accessories. Williamson later founded the The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in 1889, a charity that is still going strong today and whose conservation efforts now extend across the globe.

The Beacons for Science app will also feature a virtual journey to discover the human cost of the Manchester Ship Canal, a virtual fly-over the city centre and a ‘walk through the wall’ tour of the Graphene Institute. It’s safe to say that 2016 will be a huge year for science in Manchester and a great chance for people around the city to be part of that journey. The app will be launched at the end of June and available for iPhone and Android.