Children design bags for international science conference

Local school children have painted pictures of humans in extreme environments on to cotton bags for a University of Portsmouth conference next week.

Children from Alverstoke, Purbrook and St John’s Junior Schools, were asked to draw designs for the 16th International Conference on Environmental Ergonomics, which is being hosted by Portsmouth’s Department of Sport and Exercise Science.

The conference will see academics from all over the world presenting research on the interaction of people with their physical environment, particularly extreme heat, cold and altitude.

Professor Mike Tipton and Dr Jim House with children from Alverstoke Junior School in Gosport

Professor Mike Tipton and Dr Jim House with children from Alverstoke Junior School in Gosport

Conference organiser Dr Jim House said: “We decided to involve school children so the delegates would be given something more exciting than a boring old conference bag. The children were invited to paint scenes depicting humans in extreme environments and in return the conference delegates will send emails to say who they are, where they are from, and what they research in their lab.

“I’ll collate these emails with my co-organisers, Professor Mike Tipton and Mrs Katie Kennedy, and they’ll be presented to the children shortly after the conference. We’re keen to cultivate interest in science amongst local children and also to increase their awareness of what a University is and does. I visited each school in May to talk generally about science and to tell them about the conference and it was wonderful to see how excited and engaged they were.”

The University is home to the Extreme Environment Laboratory, which is equipped to assess human performance and survival. Its immersion pool can be set anywhere between two to 40 degrees Celsius and its three environmental chambers are capable of simulating altitudes up to the summit of Everest, freezing conditions or hot desert climates.

Nearly 200 delegates from 27 countries will be attending the conference, which runs from Sunday 29 June to Friday 3 July.

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