FUTURES: Walking with Scientists

On Friday 28th September, WISE student Ioanna Stamataki took part in an event called “Walking with Scientists”. It was part of FUTURES, a series of free events taking place across Bristol and Bath to celebrate European Researchers’ Night. This night is funded by the EU Commission and aims to engage the European public in celebrating the latest and most stimulating research at both a local and international level. This year, simultaneous events took place in over 300 cities, spanning across 24 European countries.

Two walks were organised and led by Olly Langdon from Kilter Theatre and the walkers were joined by researchers from the University of Bath at different stops along the route to talk about their work, and answer questions. With the Abbey as a starting point and stops at Westgate Buildings, Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, the Herschel Museum, Carpenter House, Halfpenny Bridge and Pulteney Weir, researchers from all disciplines presented their research. The talks ranged from modern slavery, to pain management, modern work practices in the legal profession, astronomy, historical floods, uncertainty and flood resilience of building materials.

During the walk, Ioanna in collaboration with Tom Smith from EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Statistical Applied Mathematics (SAMBa) gave a short talk about the historical floods of the River Avon in the City of Bath and the applications of using such historical data.  The data Ioanna presented has been supported by research conducted as part of a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, led by the Research Unit for Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience (WEIR) and coupled with a public engagement project, called the River is the Venue, which has commissioned a series of artworks inspired by the flooding events in Bath.

During the walk, the group stood underneath the Halfpenny Bridge where Ioanna started by pointing out the flood marks and talked briefly about some important floods in Bath such as 1823, 1882, 1894, 1960 and 1968 and the policy changes they triggered. Ioanna related this to her own research on flash floods, which can be very difficult events to observe and can only be traced back to the flood marks that they leave. Tom went on further to explain why we can’t know determine exactly how big historical floods have been, and why this uncertainty must be considered when trying to understand the risks that future floods pose to Bath.

Ioanna said: “It was a very interesting experience and I had such a good time talking part at the European Researcher’s Night. Events like this are a great opportunity to engage the public with the research we are doing at the University and the interest was obvious from the involvement and participation”. Keep an eye out for a full video of the event on the FUTURES website and in the meantime have a look here at a short interview from the day and more videos and photos on the event’s social media: