Showing posts tagged BodyWorks

What makes you unique?

In the words of that fuzzy blue monster Grover- you are special, there is no one else like you but just how unique are you? One of the exhibits in BodyWorks asks that exact question. The DNA Decider is a touch screen game that asks our visitors questions like what colour is your hair, are you left or right handed and is your ear wax sticky or flaky?


Since BodyWorks opened nearly 6 months ago, over 12 thousand people have recorded their information. We have taken all of their details and created a profile of a typical GSC Visitor. 

Sex- Female

Hair Colour- Brown

Eye Colour- Blue

Skin Colour- I (light, pale white skin)

Free hanging or attached ear lobes? - hanging

Left or right handed? - right

Does your hairline form a peak in the front of your forehead? - no peak

Is your ear wax sticky or flaky? - sticky


Are you a brown-haired, blued-eyed female with light skin, hanging ear lobes, right handed with no hair peak and sticky ear wax? According to the DNA decider that describes the average visitor to Glasgow Science Centre. Plus, just 6% of those who recorded their results were unique and did not share all their characteristics with any other visitor.

Although we share many characteristics with other people, Grover is right- there is no one just like you! It is your DNA though that contains the information that makes you truly unique. 

The Science of Lungs

As part of the BodyWorks programme, we have been performing lung dissection demonstrations to show our visitors how their lungs work. It has been our most popular activity over the summer so will be including it in our regular programme over the upcoming months.

Here is what some of our visitors have been saying:

“Our favourite (certainly for some of us) was the dissection demonstration. We were able to hold sheep’s lungs and heart!”

“It was interesting but gross”

“Lung dissection was really well done and brilliant to see all the children watching it and then going up to touch the material”

“The lung dissection was very interesting. Young children no longer have the opportunity to witness/take part in a dissection at school, but all of the children there (and the adults!) were fascinated by it. Most of the children were brave enough to handle the gruesome bits at the end of the show too, I thought it was a very useful exercise for my own budding biologist.”

For those who haven’t come along to a demonstration, here is an insight to what you are missing.

This picture shows the bronchioles, but as it’s a transverse (horizontal) section so all you see are ‘holes’

These sections of lungs are floating in water due their low density

These are sections of the lung, showing the branching of the bronchial tree. The ‘holes’ you can see are where the bronchi split into smaller bronchioles, which keep branching and getting smaller and smaller until they cannot be seen with the naked eye.

The Science Bit:

Your lungs are located within your chest cavity inside the rib cage. They are made of spongy, elastic tissue that stretches and constricts as you breathe. Your left lung is slightly smaller than your right lung, to make space for your heart.

When you breathe in, you suck air in through your nose and mouth and down a tube called the trachea. Your trachea divides into two tubes called the primary bronchi. From there, the bronchi progressively branch into smaller airways, which eventually lead to tiny air sacs called alveoli. This intricate network of airways looks like an upside-down tree.

Your alveoli are surrounded by minute blood vessels, as this is where gases diffuse from your lungs into your blood and from your blood into your lungs. Oxygen passes from your alveoli into your blood and carbon dioxide, which is produced when your cells break down nutrients, passes from your blood into your alveoli.

The total surface area of your alveoli is about the size of a tennis court. However, if you’re not doing vigorous exercise, you only use about one-twentieth of your lungs’ gas-exchanging surface.

You normally breathe in and out about 500ml of air 15 times a minute. Your nervous system automatically increases the rate and depth of your breathing if your body needs more oxygen, for example when you’re doing exercise.

Air is forced in and out of your lungs by movements of your diaphragm and other breathing muscles. When you breathe in, your breathing muscles contract, pulling your ribs up and out. The space within your chest increases and reduces the air pressure inside your lungs. As a result, air flows into your lungs. When you breathe out, your muscles relax and your ribs move down and in. The space within your chest decreases again, the pressure inside your lungs increases, and air flows out.

If you would like to come along to our lung dissection demonstration, please check out the show times on our website 

"A Wonderful Way to Spend a Day"

So we all think that Glasgow Science Centre is great but why take our word for it? Today’s blog is a review by Rosie Woodhouse from about her visit to the Centre with her family over the summer:

When we were invited to visit Glasgow Science Centre in July I don’t know who was more excited – me or my two wee reviewers. We are geeky science junkies in this house, always wanting to know “how does this work?” (and frequently “reverse engineering” items to find out how they were built), and our most well thumbed book is the pop up Body Book – I kid you not – if you have young children and haven’t got this book I totally recommend it. Particularly for the sheer entertainment that happens every time my 5 year old sees someone smoking..” Mum…(she shrieks in a stage whisper)..shall we get them the book and show them what happens to their lungs when they smoke. They musn’t know…”  So when the lovely people at the Science Centre told us that they had a new exhibition BodyWorks that covered a whole floor we could barely wait to get there.

Here we are on the morning of our visit..


I have to admit that I was basking in the glory of being there, on time, all excited and happy and knowing that nothing could top this on our summer trip to Glasgow ( a visit to the Lego shop the day before had come perilously close) and then… right after I took these photos a Glaswegian gentleman decided to cycle into the water feature/pond and execute a spectacular bellyflop into the water…how on earth was the Science Centre going to top that for children’s entertainment?

I shouldn’t have worried. The staff took great care of us, issued us with cute wristbands and we headed into the exhibitions.


We headed straight for Body Works – well with the promise of a dissection and two blood and gut thirsty mini terrors you do, don’t you. And how we LOVED it – we could have spent the whole day there.


We returned to this first piece in the exhibition time and again – much fun was had and lots of hand, face and bottom contours were made! We also loved that one of the ever smiling, never tiring staff happily pushed all the pieces flat again so we could have another go ..and another…and another..

Next, it was on to the human hamster wheel – which measured your energy output and was jolly hard work! Then de-constructing vital organs – epic fun.



Kate particularly loved the little tabard with the Velcro on organs (some of the photos were hilarious but sadly, unsuitable for a family blog!) while Tom loved the machines and gadgets that measured heart function..


This was one of the most clever features of the exhibitions all over the Science Centre – that they appealed to all ages. Different groups could enjoy the same interactive displays in different ways. One moment a father would be absorbed in the information about brain wave performance and the next 5 year old Kate would be learning the same information but in an age appropriate activity. Very clever.

Next up one of the lovely helpers asked Tom and Kate if they would like to play a memory game – as you can see they were very thoughtful about the process! But is was a great game designed to illustrate how difficult it is to remember a simple list, but how much easier it is to remember the items on that list if you make up a story incorporating those items.


We spent a while longer measuring the power of brain waves – this was terribly impressive. The children strapped electrode wraps round their heads and tried to be the most relaxed in order to move an object. Absolutely intriguing for all of us. Then we took part in some more physical challenges – how high we could jump, looking at a skeleton mimicking our movements as we pedalled a bicycle and running time trials. All recorded on the clever little oyster style cards given to the children by the staff. They could record which activities they had been to, measure what they did and their improvements and take photos. A fantastic souvenir of their visit.



Wow. After all of that it was lunchtime! We headed downstairs for coffee (for Mum) and juice and sandwiches for my little science boffins. They didn’t want to pause and really wanted to carry on investigating.

After lunch we were scheduled to attend a 3D presentation in the IMAX theatre followed by a trip to the Planetarium. The 3D film was Sea Rex and we were utterly captivated. I had wondered if the topic (the discovery of dinosaur fossils and their scientific import) would hold the children’s attention. But it did. The film was perfectly balanced and crafted and I was thrilled to watch Tom and Kate lean out of their seats to try and stroke the Tyrannosaurus who appeared to be leaning into the IMAX theatre. Utter magic!


We dashed from there to the Planetarium which was a wonderful experience too. Tom and Kate particularly related to the young and engaging staff throughout the Glasgow Science Centre and listened really attentively to the description and de-coding of the mysteries of the night skies. Now they know how to find the North Star and to name the larger constellations.

Another quick juice stop then we dashed off to spend the final hour of the day in the Science Mall. Somewhere we had visited before and we were looking forward to seeing some favourite exhibitions. They didn’t disappoint.


Tom getting up close and personal with a giant African land snail (Kate did a very girly squeal at this point!)


Zooming around the track while Tom explores in the background.


Some images looking at visual perception and distortion – guaranteed magnets for all photographers!


Going home…

Huge thanks to the Glasgow Science Centre and particular thanks to the friendly, knowledgeable and engaging staff. A highly recommended day out for the family.

Rosie x

Words and photography by Rosie Woodhouse 

Thank you to Rosie for your review and your kind words about GSC and our staff! 

BodyWorks on Tour

BodyWorks van on its tour on Scotland

You may have seen a brightly coloured van on the road, with what looks like a dissected head on the side.  Even scarier, perhaps you spotted it in a school car park or on a highland single-track?  So I thought you’re due an explanation…

Our BodyWorks On Tour programme allows us to take science on the road and directly into classrooms across Scotland. The team travel the width and breadth of the country in their vans- bursting to the seams with interactive exhibits and spectacular science demos- aiming to inspire the pupils’ love of science.  Last year alone, over 23,000 pupils from the islands to the lowlands took part in our BodyWorks on Tour programme.

On Tour’s Duncan delivering Journey through my boy to primary school pupils

The programme is made possible through support we receive from GlaxoSmithKline. Since its inception in 2009, the partnership has gone from strength to strength and BodyWorks On Tour has engaged over 230,000 people - almost 5 times as was originally forecast.  Demand has been so great that in September we will be adding an additional delivery team.

We want to bring science to everyone so from August we are diversifying and will begin delivery in Low Moss Prison where prisoners will use BodyVision and Fitlab exhibits to develop health and wellbeing skills. Using this as a trial to gauge uptake and engagement, we will work with Motherwell College and the Scottish Prison Service to expand to other areas.

On Tour at Glasgow Mela

We will continue our work with the NHS Smoke Free Services where we use the BodyWorks exhibits to encourage people to join local smoking cessation programmes. This has been a great success and is a great example of how we can encourage people to make better health and wellbeing choices. 

On Tour’s new 3D anatomy show

Debuting at the Scottish Learning Festival is our brand new and truly amazing 3D anatomy show.  Developed in conjunction with Phil Lavery of the Digital Foundation, the show will take you on a 3D journey through the human body.

In working with companies like GSK and the NHS we can extend the reach and impact of important messages like the Health and Wellbeing theme of BodyWorks.  We are professional mass communicators with the skills to explain science and fascinate people with it, and the reach, through BodyWorks on Tour and the Science Centre itself to a potential ½ million people a year!

Thank you to everyone at GlaxoSmithKline for their continued support for BodyWorks on Tour.

Glasgow City of Science at Big Bang Scotland

The Big Bang Scotland is taking place today across the river in the SECC today. The event aims to inspire and enthuse young people about pursuing careers in STEM, through interactive and educational activities for young people. This echoes our own charitable mission- to promote science in a fun and interesting way.

Our On Tour team is there as part of Glasgow City of Science, whose role is to pull together partners from local authorities, academia, industry, and organisations with an interest in science and science engagement, to focus on how we improve lives.

There are workshops, school competitions, science busking, presentations and lots more happening over the course of today.

Here is a few pics we took this morning of us and our other City of Science partners:

BodyWorks on Tour

Call the Midwife, University West of Scotland

Paramedics Emergency Response, Scottish Ambulance Service

Prosthetics and Orthotics, University of Strathclyde

Secret Service of NHS, IBMS

As well as exhibiting at the event, taking part in the school 3 minute challenge AND doing workshops, our very own Dr Robin Hoyle and Heather the Weather was judging one of the school competitions. We grabbed them mid-judging for a quick snap

We’re back!


So we have taken a bit of a blog holiday after all our hard work getting BodyWorks ready. Since the exhibition opened on March 28th, 72,640 people have visited the exhibition- including almost 20,000 school pupils from across Scotland. It has been great to see people of all ages interacting with BodyWorks from the small scientists running in the hamster wheel and becoming a mucus ninjas to, shall we say, the more mature visitor studying the complexity of the 3D brain and performing an autopsy.


We have received some great feedback from our visitors:

The bodyworks exhibit was fantastic! Inspiring even"

The new BodyWorks is fabulous. Really informative and fun. We spent 1.5 hours up there and still didn’t get round everything. Well done!”

“We all very much enjoyed the new body works floor, it is well laid out, has great interactive exhibits and is very informative

“This is great to have it all in one place. My kids are very different but there is something for everybody! For the children’s education, this is the best value by far.”

“Absolutely fantastic we ranged from a two year old to an adult with a medical degree. All of us loved it.”

Have you visited BodyWorks? We would love to know what you think about it.

In other news we have had our busiest year EVER with 270,368 visitors to the Science Mall in the financial year 2012-13. This boost in numbers is a great recognition of all the hard work that we have done in the last 12 months. It has been an extremely positive year for us and we are proud as punch of what we have achieved.

So what’s next? We are working to bring a brand new exhibition to the Science Mall but that is all we can say for now (stay tuned).There are a lot of things in the pipeline for GSC and it is a very exciting time for us. So for now let us leave you with a teaser- what area in the Science Mall is getting a revamp in time for the summer? We will share the details here later this week.

Well BodyWorks has been open for nearly a week and approximately 12,000 people have visited the exhibition. Are you one of them? Get in touch with us and let us know what you think.

Here is a video from our opening event with some words of wisdom from the 3 doctors- Stephen, Rob and Gillian!

Less than 24 hours to go

BodyWorks will open to Glasgow Science Centre visitors in less than 24 hours. Eeeeek! Before that we need to do the final, final finishing touches and host a BodyWorks launch event for over 500 people.

Our behind the scenes night with some of our passport holders went really well. Guests put the new exhibits through their paces -  helping us spot some final tweaks to make. A big thank-you to everyone who came along… one of the comments of the night came from a youngster who told his mum, “that was absolutely epic!”

Here are some photos from the night

We are looking forward to welcoming our guests tonight for the launch and 10am tomorrow morning! #doorsopen

The lucky 100

100 lucky passport holders are going to get a behind the scenes exclusive look at BodyWorks tonight. We are not 100% finished but this little taster session will give our visitors an idea of how great the new exhibition is!

It is all hands to the pump as the doors will open in just over 2 hours. Here’s how we are looking.

If you are coming along tonight please get in touch here, facebook and twitter to let us know what you think!

8 Days, 8 hours and 12 minutes

We cannot believe in just over 8 days we are going to be opening the doors to BodyWorks. However, for some lucky people they will be able to experience our brand new exhibition before anyone else.

130 of our Science Passport holders have been lucky enough to get an exclusive behind the scenes visit to the exhibition this Thursday. We are really looking forward to getting their feedback about BodyWorks. Until then, here are some shots from Floor 3.

Sharon tries her hand at Muccus Ninjas


Sprint track being installed…


The Live Lab is taking shape