This year at the Science Pavilion Professor Arwyn Jones and his team aimed to answer the question ‘What is a polymer?’ using a combination of interactive displays, events and challenges for all. Showcasing how everyone can make use of polymers for very different reasons, it ensured visitors gained an understanding of how chemistry supports the function of materials.
Six innovative and dynamic events were held involving rugby, babies’ nappes, cardiac stents, heart beats and fun science. The diversity of content created a consistently busy event programme and staff on the stand interacted with people of all ages. Young children were encouraged to make clay hearts and the team explained to the older generation how polymers support the development of new therapeutics against diseases, such as coronary heart disease and inherited genetic defects. This exhibition was sponsored by the EPSRC who fund a part of the research going on in the Arwyn Jones laboratory at Cardiff University. At the Eisteddfod Arwyn was able to discuss his polymer based research with the public, to highlight how they may be used to treat diseases such as cancer.
Over 21,000 individuals visited the Science Pavilion, including Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister. A large model of the word polymer was also built specifically for the National Eisteddfod. Used for the ‘Polymer Rugby Challenge’, over 600 people interacted with the model and the team raised £343.53 for their selected charity – Cancer Research Wales. The polymer stand presented an enjoyable and energetic display with one visitor commenting:
“This is really interesting, do you mind if we come again tomorrow?”
The polymer stand benefitted the public and presented an opportunity for academics to introduce their research to a diverse audience. Arwyn Jones, Professor of Membrane Traffic and Drug Delivery says:
“Once the public had an understanding of the term polymer, grasped just how varied polymers are and that they have so many different attributes it was then easy to explain to them what we are doing as a research team at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science at Cardiff University”