Blachtington Mill schoolboy used as guinea pig for Royal Institution’s lectures

The Argus: Blachtington Mill schoolboy used as guinea pig for Royal Institution’s lectures Blachtington Mill schoolboy used as guinea pig for Royal Institution’s lectures

A schoolboy became a human guinea pig as he performed a starring role in a Christmas institution.

The Royal Institution’s Christmas lectures are often compared to the Queen’s Christmas message and the Carols from King’s as integral parts of the festive television calendar.

For Oliver Campbell, 12, it turned into a chance to become a television star as he was selected to help a leading professor demonstrate the intricacies of what goes on under a person’s skin.


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It meant the pupil of Blatchington Mill School in Hove had a handheld vein finder machine pushed into a forearm with the footage being shown to everyone inside the lecture hall.

Speaking after the filming, Oliver said: “I loved the Christmas lectures.

“We learnt all about DNA and different types of animals.

“It was so cool being on stage and showing my veins to the audience, the machine made them look bright green.

“I can’t wait to see them on television.”

The historic science lectures, which first took place in 1825, were filmed in London earlier this month.

Dr Alison Woollard, a lecturer in genetics at the University of Oxford, led this year’s demonstration which is titled Life Fantastic.

Using developmental biology, the aim is to explore the secret life of creatures as diverse as microscopic worms, chihuahuas, the naked mole rat, chickens and lobsters.

They will be broadcast as part of the BBC’s Christmas schedule on BBC Four at 8pm on tomorrow, Sunday and Monday.

Oliver’s cameo will be shownin the first showwhen the academic uses the machine to highlight the intricate map of veins found under the skin of his forearm.

Dr Woollard said: “Everyone has an inner scientist; the world of science is not an exclusive club that most people can’t join, and everyone can feel the excitement of discovery when things are explained carefully enough.”

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