Children battled 'killer fungi' in a Space Invaders-style arcade game today (Tuesday May 24) as part of the newest exhibit at the Aberdeen Science Centre.
In collaboration with the University of Aberdeen, the new, interactive Kingdom of Fungi display aims to shed light on the organisms which can be life-savers as well as killers.
The University of Aberdeen have one of the world’s leading research teams specialising in fungal infections, which contribute to the deaths of more than one million people every year.
The new exhibit is designed to highlight fungi’s incredible diversity from mushrooms, to moulds and pathogens. Designed for a range of ages, it also intends to raise awareness of the positive and negative impact of fungi on human health and showcase the cutting-edge research being carried out at the University of Aberdeen by its world-leading Fungal Group to improve patient survival.
As well as boasting a custom-made video game where players must shoot ‘killer fungi’, there are a series of digital displays and interactive microscopes and games.
Professor Neil Gow, Head of the Aberdeen Fungal Group at the University of Aberdeen and one of the collaborators on the exhibit, said: “Most people are aware of how fungi are used to help develop antibiotics and are important in making some types of food and drink, like bread and beer. However, what is surprising to many is that more people die of fungal infections than malaria or breast cancer.
“Some people in the city may not be aware that the Aberdeen Fungal Group at the University of Aberdeen consists of some of the world’s best researchers in this area and we are incredibly passionate about spreading the word about how important and interesting it is.
“We have worked with the Aberdeen Science Centre to create an engaging and informative exhibit to raise the awareness of the good and dark side of these complex and significant organisms and I hope those who visit and try out the Kingdom of Fungi have fun and learn something new.”
Liz Hodge, CEO at Aberdeen Science Centre, said: “The Kingdom of Fungi exhibition is a great addition to the Science Centre. This collaboration with the University of Aberdeen gives us the opportunity to showcase the best of local scientific research whilst engaging our visitors with fun and inspiring displays.”
Dr Kenneth Skeldon, Head of Public Engagement at the University of and Chair of Aberdeen Science Centre, added: “The University of Aberdeen is committed to sharing our world-leading research and its impact, helping to raise awareness and stimulate engagement with global challenges, while inspiring the next generation of young scientists and researchers.
“We have developed an excellent partnership with Aberdeen Science Centre, and the Kingdom of Fungi exhibition is another example of us working together to bring a major University research journey to life for visitors of all ages.”
The exhibition is supported by a range of organisations with a major contribution from the Wellcome Trust through an institutional strategic support fund.
Features from the exhibit, will form part of the Aberdeen Fungal Group’s display at the 2016 Royal Society Science Summer Exhibition in London in July - the UK's leading showcase of world-class research.