Beautiful Science at the British Library

British_20Library_20LogoA new free exhibition begins at the British Library today on a scientific theme with an artistic twist.

Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight explores how our understanding of ourselves and our planet has evolved alongside our ability to represent, graph and map the mass data of the time.

From John Snow’s plotting of the 1854 London cholera infections on a map to colourful depictions of the tree of life, you can discover how picturing scientific data provides new insight into our lives.

The exhibition is running in the Folio Society Gallery until 26th May. For further details visit the British Library website here.

European Union on the Radar

radar logo

Radar, the University’s contemporary arts programme, gets the new term under way with a new European-themed project running throughout October which will interest artists and students of European history and politics alike.

‘Welcome to European Union’ is an exhibition of photography, video and works on paper which examines the transformations that have taken place in the newly created borderland areas between Narva in Estonia and Ivangorod in Russia. As new EU lines have been drawn on a map the public spaces ‘inbetween’ the borderlands are contested and new rules and regulations applied, redefining the physical and social boundaries, and reshaping communities. It’s been developed as an interdisciplinary cultural project by the sociologist Alena Pfoser and artist Eva Engelbert, with participation and contributions from the photoclub ‘Narva’, Estonia, and opens tomorrow (Tuesday 8th October) daily between 10AM-4PM  in the LUA Project Space in the Edward Barnsley Building (next to the Cope Auditorium in the campus’s East Park) and runs through until Friday 25th October. Admission is free.

Accompanying the exhibition on Friday 18th October, also at the LUA Project Space, is a day-long symposium of presentations and discussion, European Borderscapes, exploring the reconfiguration of European borders after the fall of the Iron Curtain and Eastern enlargement, and how rather than dissolving, the number of borders has multiplied and become more differentiated. Alena Pfoser has programmed the event in collaboration with the CulCom Research Group and has been financially supported by Radar, the Graduate School Research Culture Fund and Loughborough University’s Department of Social Sciences. This event is also free, but booking is required via this link.

For further information, visit the Loughborough University Arts page here.

Polar Film Festival

polar film festival logo

Next week the University’s own Geography Department, in association with the International Glaciological Society-British Branch and the UK Polar Network, will be presenting an evening of films and discussion on the thorny issue of the development of the polar region and its potential effect on the environment.

The Polar Film Festival features four films – Greenland Ice Sheet Research – Life in the Field, Science at 90 South, ASH, ICE, MUD and The BBC’s Frozen Planet – all examining a different aspect of living, working and filming at the North & South Poles, as well as the history and science behind mankind’s first steps towards understanding not only more these beautiful but forbidding regions, but also about how human growth and technological development is effecting it – with catastrophic implications.

Each film will be introduced by a leading polar scientist, all four of whom will chair a discussion panel after the final showing.

The event will be taking place at Holywell Park on Tuesday 3rd September between 6.30-9PM. Admission is free, but you will need to register if you wish to attend, via this link:

Free Screening of 'Thin Ice' Climate Change Film

thin iceThe Geography Department have arranged for a FREE screening of the climate change information film Thin Ice this coming Tuesday evening.

Thin Ice: The Inside Story of Climate Science – is a unique project: a film about climate science made by a scientist – geologist Simon Lamb. For over three years he followed scientists from a wide range of disciplines at work in the Arctic, Antarctic, Southern Ocean, New Zealand, Europe and the USA. They talk about their work, their hopes and fears with a rare candour and directness. This creates an intimate portrait of the global community of researchers racing to understand our planet’s changing climate, and provides a compelling case for rising CO2 as the main cause.

400 free tickets are up for grabs for this screening, which is being held in Room J104 in the Edward Herbert Building between 5.30-7PM. To register visit this link:

World Space Week

Today marks the beginning of World Space Week, an annual international celebration of the many benefits of the exploration of outer space.

This year’s theme for the event is “Space for Human Safety and Security”, which seeks to extol the virtues of how much Earth observation, navigation and telecommunication satellites are used everyday to protect humans and safeguard our environment.

Chosen specifically for this date by the UN General Assembly to mark the succesful launch of Sputnik 1, the first man-made satellite, on October 4th 1957, and the signining of the ‘Treaty on Principles Governing the Activites of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies’ on October 10 1967, World Space Week has been held every year since 1999, and seeks primarily to educate people about the positives of space exploration and encourage better public understanding and support for space programmes.

We’re very keen on space in the Library, and not just the kind students look for for studying in! We possess a large range of material about space flight and the history of astronautics, including access to NASA’s Scientific & Technical Information (STI) web site among our extensive array of Aeronautical databases.

For more information about World Space Week, including an opportunity to participate in a ‘Tweet-up’ with legendary Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, visit their website here:

Black History Month

This month is Black History Month, an annual observance of the importance of the African diaspora on modern British civilisation, culture and history, marked by a series of special events across the country and a website hosting a wide range of specially written articles and essays on the subject, as well as video clips and music.

These include a potted history of the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush in 1948, which marked the beginning of the post-war mass immigration, a biography of Joe Clough, London’s first black bus driver in 1910, and a rarely-seen war-time documentary film shot in 1944 called West Indies Calling, which highlights the important role played by the people of the Carribbean in the British war effort.

The Library has a considerable range of material about black history and culture and the African diaspora across the globe, available in book form and electronic format via our vast range of electronic resources available through Library Catalogue Plus.

To look at the Black History Month site, follow this link:

Drip Drip Drop Little July Showers…

Jokes about wet English summers have been a staple for self-depreciating British residents since the age of the Caesars, but it was no laughing matter for those caught in the shock deluge that water-logged Loughborough (and the rest of the country) during Open Day a week or so ago.

Indeed, so severe was the rain that the Library even had its own moat (pictured above) and flooded the fire escape exit down on Level 1 (fortunately for users and our stock, only up to the level of the first step!!). Other buildings across campus were similarly effected, too.

While there doesn’t appear to be very much one can individually do in the face of such a watery onslaught (apart from investing in a bigger umbrella!) research is on-going into how society can better cope with climate change and the unpreditable weather it brings down upon us. The University’s own Centre for Hydrological and Ecosystem Science (CHES) in the Geography Department is one such facility, plus we ourselves have access to a wide variety of up-to-date information on the topic via databases such as RealClimate and Water Resource Abstracts. Something to look at while you’re waiting for the skies to clear, anyway!

For further pictures of the Great Library Flood of 2012, check out our Flickr photostream here.

Travel the World… By Phone!

Google Maps upgraded itself with some new features this week, allowing users of mobile technology for the first time to be able to journey all over the planet from the comfort of… where ever!

New image rendering techniques have also been applied to the software, enabling browsers to see and visit whole towns and cities in vivid 3-D.

They’ve also introduced Street View Trekker, a wilderness version of their highly popular street-level system, that enables users to visit newly digitally mapped areas that were previously far off the beaten track, such as the Grand Canyon.

If cartography and geography is your thing, Google Maps isn’t the only resource available. The Library has access to Digimap, a collection of EDINA services providing maps and map data, including Ordnance Survey maps, which can viewed either online or via appropriate software such as CAD. Why not take the trip…?

Planet Earth image courtest of woodleywonderworks, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Holocaust Memorial Day

Treblinka Memorial Site, image copyright Radio Nederland Wereldomroep, reproduced under CC Licence from Flickr

Today (January 27th) is Holocaust Memorial Day, and coincides with a recent BBC radio programme which recounts a geophysical examination of the Treblinka death camp site by a team of British forensic archaeologists.

Over 800,000 Jews were murdered on the site between 1942 to 1943 before the Nazis destroyed the camp in a vain attempt to erase all evidence of their crimes. But unlike Auschwitz, where its gas chambers and crematoria have survived, the memorial at Treblinka simply consists of 17,000 stones with the names of places where Jews were transported from all around Europe. A team  from the University of Birmingham have used the latest imaging techniques to help locate the remains of victims at the site of the camp and to throughly map its location.

The Hidden Graves of the Holocaust is currently available to listen to again via the BBCi Player here. For further reading on the topic, the Library has a large stock of material devoted to the history, study and discussion of the Holocaust, searchable through Library Catalogue Plus

The stated objective of Holocaust Memorial Day is to “provide an opportunity for everyone to learn lessons from the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides and apply them to the present day to create a safer, better future”. To find out more about it, visit the HMD Trust home page here.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Image copyright L2F1, reproduced under CC licence from Flickr

Today marks the start of the Chinese New Year, a 15-day celebration of the end of winter and the beginning of a new Lunar year.

It also marks the beginning of a new cycle of the Chinese zodiac, as repesented by 12 different animals of Chinese legend and mythology. 2012 represents the year of the Dragon, a potent symbol of power, strength and good fortune.

To help celebrate the occasion there are a variety of events going on this week  in the Student Union, including 10% off all Oriental produce in the Union Building shop. To find out more, visit the SU home page here.

If you’re interested in finding out more about China, its history and traditions, don’t forget that the Library has quite a range of books on the subject in our geography, history and sociology sections, searchable through Library Catalogue Plus.