I will be posting links to activities and outreach opportunities as part of the East Midlands Branch of the Institute of Physics (IoP). For undergraduates – this is a good opportunity to get involved in science communication (or to play with some cool toys).

IoP I’m a Physicist Brownie/Guide Badge

brownie badges

The East Midlands branch of the IoP is launching the ‘I’m a Physicist’ girlguiding badge in Nottinghamshire from January 2019. We are looking for Brownie/Guide groups to try it out! The first 1000 badges will be free to individuals who complete the feedback form and post it back. Links to ‘instructable’ style videos will be posted here soon.

March 2019 – Volunteers wanted for British Science Week

9th March – Science in the Park: Rockets and Light Painting

16th March – STEM community day at Loughborough: Rockets and Nitrogen Ice Cream

Lego model of a time of flight neutron diffractometer

We are currently collecting the necessary parts for this and looking for volunteers to help build the model beamline (from instructions). 

2018 – 2019 Energy Harvesting Kit

We are currently  developing an Energy Harvesting Kit for schools and science fairs based on the Wurth Technologies kit – Energy Harvesting Kit. Anyone interested in energy harvesting, programming, or outreach should contact me for more information.

Previous Outreach Activities

Ford Fund Residential Course – Wind Power Workshop, 12th July 2018

1-2 hour workshop, where groups of students were set a challenge:

  1. Construct a working Homopolar motor
  2. Build a mini wind-turbine using a motor, blue tack, and some paper/card.

STEM Community Day at Loughborough, 21st April 2018

“Each year, Loughborough University hosts a ‘Community Day’ event where Loughborough locals are invited on campus to take part in various ‘science based’ activities.”

As part of this we had Light Painting and Nitrogen ice cream demos running. Click on the link below to find your photo.

Light Painting at Community Day 21/04/2018

3 Minute Wonder, Nottingham, 13th February 2018

Come watch as early career researchers try to explain their research in just 3 minutes. With nothing more than a single slide and any props they bring along, there’s £250 up for grabs.

Ongoing: Observatory visits as part of brownie/scout/girl guides (etc) badges

If you are a Beaver/Scouts/Guides/Brownies leader in the Loughborough area that want access to the observatory as part of your groups ‘Space Badge’ please contact me.

Ongoing: Anyone interested in physics/science outreach can get involved and there are several events throughout the year where you can help out, such as:

– UCAS visits and open days

– Observatory open evenings

– National Science and Engineering Week (including Community Day)

– The Big Bang Fair

– Science workshops

– Nottingham Light Night (last on 10th Febuary 2017).

Currently available demos

1.  Electrodough kit

Use electrically conductive playdough (flour+salt+lemon juice+oil+water+food colouring) to create colourful and imaginative circuits. A useful activity to teach basic aspects of electricity (positive and negative terminals to a battery; LEDs; switches; resistance), or just to while away some time.

2. Superconducting Train Demo

Watch the floating train effortlessly glide around a magnetic track. Coupled with a ferrofluid flask this is a useful demo to help explain:

– The use of liquid nitrogen

– Permanent magnets

– Superconductors

– Magnetic fields and flux pinning

– The difference between ferromagnetism and diamagnetism

– The Maglev concept for high speed train travel

– The use of superconducting magnets at CERN

3. Ferrofluids

A black *goop* consisting of iron nanoparticles coated in a surfactant and suspended in oil. This enables 3D visualisation of magnetic fields.

Ferrofluid example

4. The Peltier Powered Cloud Chamber

A diffusion cloud chamber that allows you to see the emission of alpha and beta particles from some weak radioactive sources. Rather than use dry ice to keep the base cold, two Peltier cells coupled together are used to reach temperatures as low as -30 C. This is a useful demo to help explain:

– Radioactivity

– Supersaturation

– Cloud formation

– The difference between alpha and beta particle emission

– The effect of a magnetic field on charged particles

– The Peltier and effect and Peltier cells

5. The Two Balloons

You have two identical balloons that have been inflated to different sizes and connected by a tube that is currently clamped (i.e. no air flow between them). What happens to the smaller balloon when you unclamp the tube? A great demo to explain:

– Elasticity

– Air pressure

– Hysteresis

6. iPhone Microscope

Constructed from the lens from a laser pointer and some adjustable perspex slabs… A great way to demonstrate:

– The lens equation

– Microscopy

7. The Homopolar Motor

Constructed from a battery, magnet and some spare wire (or paperclips), this is a great way to demonstrate:

– The Lorentz Force (left hand rule)

– Where physics ‘ends’ and engineering ‘begins’…

Research Lectures

When a lab just won’t cut it: experiments in a beamline

Time: 13th December 2017, 2-3pm

Place: U0.05, Loughborough University

New Directions in Energy Research or a Magnetic Quirk?

Time: 26th March 2014, 4-5pm

Place: W.003, Loughborough University

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