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Simon’s Adventure’s in Brain Science.

Simon Donald is probably best known for being one of two brothers who founded witty and irreverent magazine du jour of the 1980’s, Viz magazine. Behind the humour, lay a sadder story. Simon’s mother, Kay, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis as a young woman. After his birth, her health deteriorated badly. By the time she was 35, she was wheelchair bound, and she died in her 50’s, in 1994, unable to walk, speak or eat unaided, and never able to play as full a part in the lives of her three sons as she would have wanted.

In this documentary, Simon takes the shadows of the past head on and invites them into the boxing ring. He wanted to know everything there is to know about the disease that killed his Mum, but he wasn’t expecting his journey to take quite such a shocking turn……

Barts & The London 2nd MS Research Day

Final Pub7577_MS_INV_v1-1On Saturday 26th March 2011 from 10.30 am until 3.30pm, star speakers from the internationally renowned MS research team at Barts will be giving talks and showing films on the research behind the headlines.

The team is headed up by Prof Gavin Giovannoni and the day will be a chance to listen to clinicians and scientists speak and then mingle with them over coffee and lunch to ask any questions you might have.

Last years inaugural event was a great success (see film below), and this year should be even better!


Saturday 26 March 2011, 10.30am-3.30pm

Registration from 9.30-10.30am

Church House Conference Centre Dean’s Yard Westminster London SW1P 3NZ

Entrance is via Great Smith Street. Nearest tube station is St James’s Park on the District Line. RSVP on attached card

Ningbo Science Centre

In 2010, the REFINERY was lucky enough to embark on a project with international design consultancy, MET studios, to design exhibits for a brand new science centre opening in Ningbo, China. The Refinery acted as science consultants and were involved in the exhibit design concepts and subsequently the detail of the science content for each individual exhibit.


The Ningbo centre comprised three new galleries, Harmonious Homes, Universe and Oceans, and the REFINERY provided the science content for the 100 or so exhibits in each one. This work involved finding the data to back up the scientific concepts being explained, provide decision making matrices for software and game components, and writing scripts for audio-visual and Pepper’s Ghost exhibits.



Please excuse us if you stumble over any untidy bits of the site. We are in the process of tidying it up but have been extremely busy.


Most recently we  have been working on a grand total of more than 60 short films, which together made up the day of talks, prentations, posters and lectures from Barts inaugural “Research day for MS patients and their Families”. The day was organised by Gavin Giovanonni and his team in the Neurology Department at Barts and the Royal London Hospital.

The lectures took place in the stunning Centre of the Cell building (pictured) which was designed by Will Alsop.

The centre incorporates architectural pods resembling parts of cell structures which hang from the ceiling ; one acts as am outreach learning centre for schools and others as seminar booths.


The open plan space all overlooks a humungous basement laboratory, so that visitors can peer down and watch real scientists at work. Cleverly, they are protected from noxious fumes by an invisible sheet of air blown gently across the heads of the lab staff which carries any floating nasties off into the abyss.


The lectures themselves took place in the Perrin Lecture Theatre, named after Sir Michael Willcox Perrin a noted British scientist who created the first practical polythene, directed the first British atomic bomb programme, and managed the Allied intelligence of the Nazi atomic bomb.

As if that lot didn’t keep him busy, he also found time to be chairman of the Bart’s Medical School, a tradition that is carried on by his son, Charles Perrin, who is treasurer of Queen Mary’s to this day.