Infectious: Stay Away

An interactive exhibition in Ireland gives visitors a front row seat to the science behind epidemics

Rowan Higgs
Jun 11, 2009
An imposing hazard sign greets visitors approaching the east entrance to Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in Ireland: "__INFECTIOUS: STAY AWAY__." The warning does not appear to be working. In its first month on view, more than 20,000 people visited the linkurl:Science Gallery;http://www.sciencegallery.com/ in TCD to see linkurl:Cliona O'Farrelly;http://www.ucd.ie/medicine/research/staff/ofarrelly/bio.htm and linkurl:Luke O'Neill's;http://www.tcd.ie/Biochemistry/research/l_o_neill.php free immunology exhibition -- an interactive collection of all things infectious, alarming and down right icky. On a summer day, I visit the exhibit, and I'm accompanied by about 20-30 other visitors, mainly adults with a handful of school kids."__Infectious__ is more an experience than an education," explains Professor O'Farrelly, a TCD immunologist and co-creator of __Infectious__. "The exhibition allows the public to explore important mechanisms in immunology such as pathogen detection, replication, transmission, resistance and clearing.""People feel alienated by science because the vocabulary has become increasingly complex, but many things can be explained simply," says O'Farrelly. These concepts...

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