Bestival 2011: Vaccine Assault Course
September 16, 2011 by Zoe
What better way to learn about chemical manufacturing processes than by careening through an assault course?
Devised by engineers Mike Hughson and Chris Grant from the University College London, the Vaccine Assault Course brought chemistry to life with a mix of adrenaline, bruises and cornstarch. A highly original mix of science with play, if we do say so ourselves.
To mimic the chemical manfufacturing process, entrants took on the role of a vaccine molecule being synthesized in the lab. Running through four stages, contestants were manufactured, filtered, chromatographed and finally vacuum-sealed into a blister pack while encumbered with hats, rucksacks and plastic balls. Representing antigens, the balls could fall off – a vaccine with fewer antigens would be less effective, so lost balls resulted in docked points.
Thus, revelers became the drugs, purifying, and refining themselves into pharmacological treats. Pure, chemical poetry.