Favourite Things: From scenery to circus skills in adopted home

Nate Adams is a research associate in biology and a lecturer in Science Communication at the University of Sheffield. He is originally from Australia, and has lived in Sheffield for almost 10 years. Outside of the lab, Nate is a keen science communicator, and has contributed to CBBC's Absolute Genius, Marrying Mum and Dad, and How To Be Epic At Everything. He appears all over the country at science and music festivals, presenting explosive science shows, and recently obtained a world record for the highest liquid nitrogen volcano! March is the busiest time of year for Nate, who is presenting multiple shows for Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering. Married to Duncan, he is hoping one day to be able to get a puppy.

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:56 am
Nathan Adams is a research scientist at Sheffield University and he is this weeks Favourite Things subject for the Sheffield Telegraph - one of his choices is the Winter Garden. Picture: Chris Etchells

Awesome walls

As it says on the tin, my favourite climbing wall in Sheffield is awesome.  It’s big, so lots of routes, and never too crowded.  I find climbing a great way to deal with stress. It’s really sociable if you go with a bunch of friends, it beats the gym, and they do a fantastic hot chocolate.

slippery stones

I recently became a British citizen - and apparently a compulsory part of this is to go swimming out in the open. My favourite place is at Slippery Stones at the end of Lady Bower.  In the summer there is nothing better than making a packed lunch and riding out, then cooling off in the natural pool.

the winter garden

Growing up in Asia, the Winter Garden reminds me of the strolling through the subtropical forests of Hong Kong.  Its an oasis of calm in the city centre, a happy place where I can stop for lunch.  On top of that, the council has been very accommodating to me in the past for using the Winter Garden as a venue - from setting off explosions on the last Fright Nite, to more recent work when we installed the giant E. coli and Origami GFP as part of KrebsFest.

firth court

It seems strange to say the building where I work is one of my favourite places in Sheffield, but it is.  With Edwardian architecture, its’ towers, quads and sweeping staircase, it may look straight out of Downton, but there is much behind the facade.

Firth Court is filled with incredible scientific equipment, such as multi-story superconducting magnets cooled to around the temperature of Neptune, and electron microscopes that can reveal the tiniest structures of life.

It also contains many piece of incredible art, including a portrait of Sir Hans Krebs.


Drive or ride out from the city on Ecclesall road up until you turn right onto Ringinglow Road, and keep going up, past the pub, and further up. At the top, in the national park, the first carpark is the perfect place to start a walk either through the valley or along an edge.  It’s my favourite walk on a snowy day, walking up to Stanage Edge, or on a summer evening, with some mates I’ll grab my bouldering mat after work and practise problems along the bottom path.

greentop circus

I turned 30 last year - and I wanted to challenge myself with something completely new, so I signed up for six weeks of aerial classes. It’s now been a year and I’ve become a bit of an addict - I spend my Friday evenings tying myself up 10 ft in the air.  If I could go back to 15 year old Emo version of me and tell him how many pairs of bright colour leggings I own now… not only fashionable but functional as well - they prevent rope burn.  Greentop have loads of classes for adults, from aerials to acrobatics and circus skills.

sentinel brewhouse

Sheffield has a plethora of excellent pubs - I’m a fan of the Gardener’s Rest in Kelham island and the Brother’s Arms in Heeley.  My current favourite pub is the Sentinel Brewhouse in the city centre, not only for their fine beer but they also serve a mean Chicken Schnitzel, which is effectively the national dish of Australia. The bar is great, the staff friendly, and I like the ‘not-too hipster but cool looking’ interior.  

They are hosting our Brewing Science event on March 12 for the Science Festival, which I will be attending after my own talk finishes earlier in the day, as after a day of setting fire to my institution, who wouldn’t want to learn more about the science of brewing while enjoying a tasty beverage.