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The International Year of Light Science Ceilidh

A preview of the upcoming ceilidh on December 5th
International Year of Light ceilidh poster

Rachel Fisher, a 2nd year PhD student in the Jones group, tells us about her experience working on the International Year of Light ceilidh project:

The Science Ceilidh Band are an award-winning group who adapt traditional Scottish ceilidh dances to explain scientific concepts. To celebrate the International Year of Light they are collaborating with Edinburgh University and local community groups to create a science ceilidh with the theme of light. As a chemistry PhD student whose research focuses on fluorescence I was really keen to get involved. 

Taking your research from the lab to a ceilidh hall can sound like a daunting prospect for someone who doesn???t dance. When I and the other researchers met with Lewis (the ceilidh leader) to show it is in fact possible, he immediately got us up and dancing through the Dashing White Light Wave! 

The group of scientists gathered to create the ceilidh dances

Over coffee, the group of scientists who had gathered to create a dance discussed research topics and what we thought it was important to include in an International Year of Light ceilidh. Somehow, from the disorganised mind map we created, Lewis strung together our ideas into a ceilidh with a theme. We will start with the very basics of light and dance all the way to space. 

Each armed with a topic, we broke into smaller groups to work on a specific dance. My group began by tackling ???Why is the Sky Blue???. We pinpointed the key ideas involved in explaining this concept and with Lewis???s help we assigned a ceilidh move to represent each point. The only thing left to do was gather everyone together and (somewhat chaotically) try out our dance!

The notes taken for the Why is the Sky Blue? dance

Over the next few weeks I am going to get to see the dances I???ve helped create in action. Hopefully everyone is going to enjoy dancing through ???Why the Sky Looks Blue???!  I???ll also get to discover what everyone else has been working on and see postcards that have been produced to explain the dances.

Our next challenge is to learn how to call our ceilidh dances so we will be ready to present them at the International Year of Light Ceilidh on December 5th!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015