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Students help to get local children excited about Science & Engineering

Last week saw University of Portsmouth staff, students and experts get involved in the National Science and Engineering week, holding and partaking in events aimed at getting the community and local children involved in and excited about science.

Theoretical Cosmologist at the University of Portsmouth, Timothy Clemson, explained how he believed getting students and experts involved in these kind of events can help to engage and encourage event goers: “there’s a direct connection to subjects people are interested in through experts and they can answer the public’s questions better than anyone.”

Events began on Monday 12th with a day of lectures hosted at Portsmouth Grammar School by Jeremy Thomas and included talks by astrophysicist Dr Claudia, and a lecture by Professor Bob Nichol of the University of Portsmouth and the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, who conducted a review of the science behind the discovery of the accelerating universe in 1999, a discovery now confirmed and rewarded with a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011. The lecture welcomed attendees from all ages including school groups, and was well anticipated as the event quickly sold out.

On Wednesday 14th the University was involved in two National Science & Engineering week events. ‘Melting Ice – Rising Sea; Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment’, a lecture organised
in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society Southern Region, explored the rising sea levels as a result of melting ice in the Antarctic and Greenland. The talks evaluated the global effects of
rising sea levels as well as predicting the rate of rising sea levels in the future. The second event on Wednesday was ‘Portsmouth MathsJam’, the first of many monthly meetings where people can share an interest in mathematical puzzles and problems.

The ‘Model Science and Engineering Fun Day’ held at Canoe Lake on Saturday 18th saw children and adults enjoy a day of competitions and activities exploring and celebrating science and engineering. Children of all ages signed up and competed with self designed and built model cars, boats and planes, displaying the talents of these young engineers. The event encouraged young people to get involved in practical science and engineering, something the National Science & Engineering week is all about.

Speaking about events such as the ‘Model Science and Engineering Fun Day’, Timothy Clemson said: “we hope to give youngsters an idea of what’s involved in vehicle engineering in a fun way and so create a positive connection to the subject in their minds.”

One event yet to take place is ‘Don’t Lose the Music Campaign: Sound Heads’, and is due to be held at Le Café Parisien on Tuesday 27th March. This will include debates and discussions regarding deafness and the technology involved in helping to preserve hearing.