22
JUL
2016

No slowing down of Cockcroft Outreach Activities

Following on from the highly successful Daresbury Open Week, last Thursday, 14th July, saw even more outreach events attended by members of the Cockcroft Institute.

The first event involved children from the Chernobyl children’s project, a charity which aims to support children and families affected by the 1986 nuclear disaster, visiting Daresbury Laboratory. Quasar group member Alex Alexandrova led the daylong astronomy themed event and with them discussed planets, stars, galaxies and constellations to spark their interest in science. The children were treated with a trip inside a planetarium so that they could interactively see the constellations which make up the night sky and were taught how to identify the North Star. In the afternoon the children designed and built rockets out of paper and plastic cups which were taken outside and launched high into the air using a foot pump.

Alex helping children from the Chernobyl children’s project build and design paper rockets.

Alex helping children from the Chernobyl children’s project build and design paper rockets.

The second saw PhD students Sonal Misty and Billy Kyle attend a STEM careers Fair at Altrincham Grammar school. Many neighbouring schools also attended the event which was aimed at trying to interest children into careers in science and engineering. Sonal and Billy exhibited a stall at the event and along with demonstrating salad bowl accelerators and a Van de Graff generator, talked to students about accelerator science, undergraduate recruitment schemes, their day to day lives as scientists and the career paths that led them into this field of research.

Billy and Sonal representing the Cockcroft Institute at a STEM Careers fair at Altrincham Grammar school.

Billy and Sonal representing the Cockcroft Institute at a STEM Careers fair at Altrincham Grammar school.

The third event has taken place over the weekend of the 22nd – 24th July when Daresbury Laboratory’s Public Engagement and Cockcroft Institute lead a team of Daresbury scientists and engineers in a bid to engage Festival goers at the Blue Dot Festival, Jodrell Bank with Science and Technology. Stand activities included a unique Virtual Reality experience, providing festival goers with the opportunity to explore Daresbury’s Versatile Electron Linear Accelerator (VELA) using Oculus Rifts whilst receiving a running commentary from the CI team. The VR was reinforced and science explained through a series of interactive demonstrations including a particle accelerator in a salad bowl, infra red camera, plasma ball and emission spectroscopy activity to engage visitors with the science, engineering and applications of Particle Accelerators. The activities neatly linked to the Large Hadron Collider Roadshow that was also being run through STFC Comms. Intermixed with accelerator science, the team also found the time to discuss the science of the sun using a solar telescope and the applications of exploring our universe with different types of light. A talk on the imminent Rosetta Mission Finale was also given by the team as a Family Show in the Festival’s Space Pavillion, with youngsters getting the opportunity to get up close to a home made dry ice comet.