On 23 and 30 October, young visitors to the RCP discovered how ‘science superheroes crushed COVID’. They dressed up as bogies, nose hairs and even a coronavirus particle, and met world-leading scientist, Professor Tom Solomon.
This was the first time the Museum had hosted Professor Solomon’s show and the first time running an event in both the RCP in London and RCP at the Spine in Liverpool. Supported by The Pandemic Institute, of which Professor Solomon is the director, the show was a fantastic, fun and interactive way to introduce children to the science of COVID-19 – both how the virus works and how the vaccine was developed to tackle it. We were delighted to be joined by around 170 adults and children across our two sites from the local London and Liverpool communities.
The performance led by Professor Solomon on stage highlighted five comic book “science superheroes” to explain why viruses emerge, what happens in a pandemic, and how we can beat such threats in the future. Everyone in the audience had the chance to be involved in activities like Jason and the R-Go-Noughts used to explain how viruses are spread and many young volunteers took part on stage. We had newsreaders, a bat, several bogies, nose hairs, antibodies and, of course, ‘Corrie the coronavirus’ demonstrating through organised chaos how the virus infects a person and how the vaccine works to prevent this.
'Informative, interactive, fun!'
'Kept kids very focused and I enjoyed it at the same time.'
'It was excellent, please hold more events like this.'
Below images by The Pandemic Institute.
When he is not on stage, Tom is fighting emerging viruses for real. He is a doctor, RCP censor, researcher and director of the Pandemic Institute at the University of Liverpool. He was awarded a CBE in June 2021 for his work on emerging infections. Tom is also an award-winning science communicator, winning two Guinness World Records (one for the fastest marathon dressed as a doctor and another for creating the world’s largest brain), and hosts the Scouse Science Podcast.
During the pandemic, Tom has appeared regularly on BBC One’s Breakfast and Radio 4’s Today Programme. Other appearances include CBBC’s Newsround, BBC One’s The One Show and Question Time, as well as Radio 4’s Saturday Live and Great Lives. He performed this show first in 2022 with rave reviews in the press:
‘Clear, accessible, moving...amazing’ - Guardian
'One of the Top Ten Kids’ Shows at the 2022 Fringe’ - Time Out
This was one of a series of events that run alongside exhibition ‘Fortitude’. In ‘Fortitude’ the RCP are privileged to share the experiences of healthcare professionals working during the COVID-19 pandemic, in their own words. The exhibition can be visited at the RCP in London and online from 25 September 2023 to 24 May 2024.
Gail Chapman, public programmes officer