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YorNight: prestigious European Researchers’ Night heads to York

Posted on 18 September 2014

Over 80 events in 20 venues will take place in York on 26 September as part of the annual EU-funded European Researchers’ Night.

YorNight European Researchers' Night

‘YorNight’ is part of a European initiative that will showcase research in 300 cities across Europe on the same evening. The University of York won EU funding to ensure York is one of only four cities in England hosting European Researchers’ Night events, along with Birmingham, Bristol and the Natural History Museum, London.

YorNight will enable the public to engage with a wide array of research through hands-on demonstrations and workshops, ‘mini-taster’ accessible talks, tours, games, and demonstrations. All events are free and child-friendly and visitors are encouraged to experience as many of them as possible over the course of the evening. The main objective is to demonstrate to people how engaging with academic research can be both fun and relevent to their daily lives.

The University of York has led on the development of YorNight in collaboration with a range of organisations including the National Railway Museum, York Museums Trust, the York Medical Society, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Visit York. More than 20 venues are open across the city centre with late-night opening hours at many venues.

Professor Matthew Collins, founder of the BioArCh interdisciplinary research centre at the University of York, who led the YorNight bid, said: “York has a remarkable density of researchers and YorNight will be a great opportunity to meet many of them, and find out how their research is changing our lives for the better.”

Highlights of YorNight include:

  • Try on a spacesuit, handle a real space meteorite and enjoy a free screening of the blockbuster film Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, at King’s Manor from 6.30pm
  • Learn more from academics about their research with numerous Taster Talks occurring across the city. Find out what colour dinosaurs were with a talk by Johan Gren on molecular palaeontology (5.30 – 6.15pm, Yorkshire Museum Tempest Anderson Hall), discover how fruit flies can help Parkinson’s disease with Ryan West (7.00 - 7.15pm, York Medical Society), Roger Colbeck introduces quantum cryptology (8.50 – 9.20pm, King’s Manor) and Bob Doherty talks about the history of Fairtrade, its impact and its future (7.00 – 7.30pm, Mansion House).
  • Stargaze in the Observatory at the Yorkshire Museum Gardens from 5pm
  • Get exclusive out-of-hours access to the National Railway Museum– discover the unsung role of ambulance trains in WW1, become a railway research detective and find out how research brings the collections to life from 6.00 -8.00pm
  • Discover how huge hyenas hunted big game across Yorkshire with a lecture from Professor Patrick Boylan, President of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 6.30 – 7.30pm at the Yorkshire Museum
  • Learn about ancient diets with a ‘feeding time’ tasting table at Dig!, with late-night opening hours for adults. Sample bread made with grains used in the medieval period and Bronze-age nettle stew from 7.00pm.
  • Learn about storytelling, plays, performance and linguistics in three talks at York St John University, 6.00 – 7.30pm
  • Venture out on historical walking tours of the city centre, learning about Georgian, Norman and later Medieval York. Conducted by Matthew Jenkins and Gareth Dean.
  • Discover which archaeological tribe you come from, decode the DNA of medieval parchment and make a DNA bracelet of your own name at the EU zone in St Helen’s Square
  • Drop in and have a coffee at two Researcher’s Café’s with late-night opening hours at the Treasurer’s House and York Cocoa House. Chat informally with various University of York researchers and learn something new!
  • Find out about food sustainability with Quorn through an exhibition, free food tasting and a 15 minute talk from 7.30pm, and discover how insects could help meet our protein demands through an exhibition at King’s Manor, 5.00 - 10.00pm
  • Explore York’s Cold War bunker with the University of York’s Department of Physics

Organised every September since 2005, European Researchers’ Night attracted 1.2 million visitors in 2013 alone. The University of York’s successful bid means York will be part of European Researchers’ Night for two years and will host a second YorNight on 25 September 2015.

Joan Concannon, Director of External Relations at the University of York, said: “We are delighted to work with so many partners and collaborators across the city to showcase such incredibly diverse research. The University takes great pride in its role as a public intellectual and to demonstrate why education and research can transform lives. We hope that as many people as possible will experience much of the programme over the course of the evening’.

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