Biology department marks Parents’ Day

By Mary Shotter, Biology technician

Following on from this year’s Eckersley Lecture on the History of the Periodic Table by Dr Peter Wothers, this year the theme of the Biology department’s Parents’ Day display was The Elements of Life, which looked at how individual chemical elements were used in the natural world.

In the lab there was the chance to make slides to view under the microscope and see the myriad of microscopic creatures found in pond water, test your grip strength (won, as always, by Sam Wilson in 6.2), check your lung volume and blood oxygen levels, and test your speed using a reaction timer.

Most popular of all, though, was a chance to see if you were ‘one in a million’ by trying out a series of genetic tests where people looked at a number of their own physical traits – for example, whether they could smell freesias, taste the bitter chemical found in sprouts or roll their tongue. Results ranged from being one in 31 to one in 2 million!

It was particularly nice to meet up with several Old Bedalians who came back to see us and who have gone on have very successful careers in the field of biology including Gary Skinner (OB 1992), who specialises in the use of DNA as a digital storage device and whose father, also Gary, was a previous Head of Biology and Science. We were also visited by the daughter of another former Head of Biology, Andrew Routh, who at 95 was keen to find out how the department had changed over the years.

It was a lovely day and a pleasure to welcome so many, old and new, to explore the world of Bedales Biology.