On Saturday, April 13, 2013, the UNC science community gathered along Cameron Avenue in Chapel Hill, NC for the second annual UNC Science Expo hosted by the Morehead Planetarium. The UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders featured a booth at the event, along with over 80 other exhibitors and 100 hands-on activities, demos, lab tours, stage presentations, and more. Lindsey and I spent the beautiful spring day showing the rubber hand illusion to the science enthusiasts. For a detailed account of the rubber hand illusion, please visit Katie Weinel’s blog post from January 2013 (click here).
Everyone from young students on field trips to adults seeking new knowledge flocked to our booth to learn about the rubber hand illusion. A fake hand sure attracts a lot of attention! After explaining the basic purpose of our study, the measures that were employed, the target population, and the general findings, we gave people the opportunity to participate. Everyone really loved it and thought it was an interesting project! In addition, some people were curious about the general topic of eating disorders. It was nice to educate and openly discuss our area of study while hopefully reducing the stigma and stereotypes associated with these disorders.
Attending the science expo was UNC’s new chancellor-elect, Carol Folt. As a former research instructor in biological sciences at Dartmouth College, Folt represents and supports women in science. Her personal research interests include metal toxicity and the effects that dietary mercury and arsenic have on aquatic and human life. We welcome UNC’s first female chancellor, and we are glad she celebrated with us for a day of science!
Overall, it was fun to be able to share the rubber hand illusion with my fellow Tar Heel community. The greatest thing I took away from the expo was the feeling of all-around excitement and passion for science on the UNC campus, especially from the youth. Carolina can look forward to a lot of bright, young scientists in its future!
By: Morgan Walker