Newcastle University
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Physiology Friday

Version 2 2023-01-24, 10:33
Version 1 2022-03-04, 10:38
posted on 2023-01-24, 10:33 authored by Harley Stevenson-CocksHarley Stevenson-Cocks

Physiology Friday is an annual celebration of the subject of physiology. Sponsored by the Physiological Society – a professional society that brings together >4,000 scientists from over 60 countries and promotes research and education in physiology - it is an occasion when physiologists at any career stage, from students through to professors, participate in enthusing and engaging the public in a range of research topics related to physiology.

For Physiology Friday 2021 Newcastle University hosted a special guest public lecture by Dr Michael (Mike) Crawley from Durham University. The lecture, based on his recent book “Out of Thin Air”, centred around Mike’s interests in long-distance running, and the research for the book involved spending over a year training alongside Ethiopian runners in their native forests and mountains, to find and tap in to their secrets of success - physiologically, socially and competitively! We had around 100 attendees for the lecture, which was great to see, and plenty of audience discussion with Mike.

Either side of this public lecture (and in the week leading up to it), staff and students at Newcastle University arranged a variety of stalls, activities and demonstrations to engage the public in the wonderful subject of physiology and the relevance of physiology research for academic knowledge, medicine and public health policy. This included showcasing topics such as anatomy, neuroscience, developmental biology, and the effects of altitude on the body – all of which fall under the umbrella term of ‘physiology’. We also sent a team of staff and students out to Durham Sixth Form Centre to teach and enthuse pupils there about physiology – specifically, the anatomy and functioning of the heart.

Our students also interviewed friends, family, fellow students and staff to gauge their opinions on the important question of “What is Physiology?”. There were lots of revealing and interesting answers!

We followed on these activities in 2022 with another public lecture, this time by Dr Graham Burns (Consultant Respiratory Physician at the RVI) again sandwiched by students delivering an ECG workshop in Durham and holding engagement activities for the public, as well as conducting more recorded interviews. 

This collection features items from all these activities.

Be sure to also check out our separate "What is Physiology?" link ( as the students have continued to add interview recordings (e.g. with internationally renowned visiting researchers/lecturers) on this important question.