The University of Salford returned to their inaugural professorial lecture series last Thursday starting with Professor Mike Wood’s ‘Mythbusting Chernobyl’, receiving praise from attendees.

Professor Wood has spent the last eight years working in and around the Chernobyl exclusion zone in Ukraine, and his public lecture aimed to clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding the area’s 1986 nuclear disaster.

One attendee, Fernando Campos, said: “I thought it was really useful, really interesting, it was quite enjoyable, Mike explained it in a very friendly way. There was a lot of useful information for everyone.”

Councillor for Salford Quays, Ann-Marie Humphreys, was also in attendance and was impressed with the event.

She said: “I thought it was a fascinating event, it really did, as it said, blew the myths and inaccurate conceptions people have about Chernobyl.

“It was interesting to hear the background, the history and the science of it, it’s just wonderful to see that flourishing wildlife there now and the scientific research enabled by it.”

In addition to the lecture, the event also featured an interactive exhibition, including a virtual reality tour of Chernobyl, miniature drone flying, and exhibits on the effects of radiation on the local wildlife of the area.

Professor Wood said: “we had tickets selling out really rapidly for in person attendance.”

Mike became a professor at the University four years ago and explained that, due to a variety of circumstances including the ongoing pandemic, he had not been able to give his inaugural lecture any sooner.

He said: “There’s been a hiatus in this programme. We’re now at the stage where the programme is starting up again, and I was honoured to be asked to be the first of the professorial speakers.”

PhD student Helen Whitehead, who presented her findings on the effects of radiation on birds in the area during the exhibition, praised the Professor’s lecture for its informative nature.

Also assisting in the delivery of the event was Professor Karl Dayson, Pro-vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Salford, who said the lecture was “a great example of science communication”, and that it was “a great advert for the kind of research undertaken at the University of Salford.”

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