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Durham University

Celebrate Science

Programme of events

Here are some of the great activities that took place at Celebrate Science 2018. The exhibitors for Celebrate Science 2019 will be announced as they are confirmed.

Share your photos from Celebrate Science at #CelebrateScience

Tuesday 29 - Thursday 31 October 2019
10am - 4pm Daily

National Trust Green Academies Project – Derwentside Urban Rangers (Derwentside College, Sustrans, Leadgate Task Force and the National Trust)

Tuesday 23rd October morning only

The Green Academies Project supports young people in looking after the green spaces where they live, highlighting some of the challenges faced by the environment and giving them opportunities to be part of the future of nature conservation. Find out more about the project and the work being carried out in the North East, and meet some of the Urban Rangers involved.

Sun Dome (EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in the Science and Technology of Fusion Energy)

Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th October Only

Come inside our Sun Dome! Join our scientists on an exploration of the power of the Sun and fusion energy. Can we make mini suns here on Earth and will these eventually power our homes? Shows last approximately 20 minutes and are suitable for anyone aged 4 and over. Children should be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Experiment! (Schools’ Science Ambassadors: Bishop Barrington School; Dene Community School; Framwellgate School, Durham; Kepier School; Monkwearmouth Academy; Parkside Academy; Richmond School; Sedgefield Community College; Southmoor Academy)

Come and meet these inspiring school students with an enthusiasm for science and a talent for getting people involved in experiments. They aim to amaze and engage with their hands-on activities including testing balloon rockets, building planets and investigating slimy stuff!

Biggest Eye on the Sky (European Southern Observatory and Schools’ Science Ambassadors: Belmont Community School; Longfield Academy; St Bede’s Catholic School & Sixth Form College, Lanchester; St. John’s School and Sixth Form College; UTC South Durham; Wolsingham School)

The "Extremely Large Telescope" is currently being built in Chile. This will be the largest telescope in the world. Join us to find out all about it and the secrets of the Universe it is expected to uncover. You will have the chance to build a telescope using mirrors and lasers, snap infrared pictures of exoplanets and discover how to see through dust clouds.

Planetarium (Durham University Physics)

Explore the night sky in Durham University’s planetarium. Join astronomers on a journey to the stars with stories about the constellations and fascinating facts about stars, planets and what you can see in the sky tonight. Shows last approximately 25 minutes and are suitable for anyone aged 4 and over. Children should be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Amazing Materials (Durham University Chemistry)

Come and see ordinary substances doing extraordinary things! Watch the crazy effect of high and low temperatures on some everyday items, see reactions producing colour changes and test some cutting edge materials with your own hands.

Thoughtful Planet: Waste Reimagined (Thought Foundation)

Thought Foundation is a thoughtful arts and cultural space with an annual exhibition showing artists’ creative responses to environmental issues. Join our Art Team to learn more about how we can reuse plastic waste in creative ways and then add your planet saving pledges to our collaborative art piece.

Mathematics in Motion (Durham University Mathematics)

Can you predict how the balls will fall through our mathematical pinball machine? Let’s take a mathematical walk based on the flipping of a coin. Come and learn about the mathematics of random movement and the connections to famous number patterns.

The Human Spaceship: How far can we see? (Helen Schell, Artist & ESERO-UK Space Ambassador)

In 2020, ESA & NASA will launch the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be able to look at light from the first stars in the Universe. Invent and make your own model of a space telescope and imagine what you would look at. This is a drop-in ‘make & take’ STEAM workshop, using recycled materials.

Eye Openers: Exploring Optical Illusions (Beamish Museum)

Have you ever tricked your eyes into seeing something that wasn’t there? The Victorians were fascinated by optical illusions, and designed a whole variety to entertain. Have a go at tricking your eyes with our examples, and make one to take home.

Light Entertainment (Durham University Physics)

We use light every day, but is there more to it than meets the eye? Learn about the physics of 3D films, make your own colour-changing picture and use real lab optics to guide a laser beam through a maze.


Athlete Testing (Durham University Sport)

What helps make athletes successful at events such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games? Sport Science uses a variety of different tests to monitor the athlete's performance and make sure that coach and athlete have all the information required for success. Come along and see if you could be a future Olympian!

Pathology: Disease Detectives (Pathology, County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust)

Pathology is the science behind the cure. Join local NHS scientists to dispel some of the myths about Pathology. Find out about the journey your blood sample takes in the laboratory and the clues the samples give us to help diagnose and monitor disease. Come and help us to celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS!

North Pennines Rocks! (North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership)

The North Pennines is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a UNESCO Global Geopark, within easy reach of Durham. Get hands-on and find out for yourself how this stunning local landscape is formed from magma to mining and from peat to people.

The Amazing World of Nanotechnology: (EU INDEED Innovative Training Network)

Join us and explore the world of nanomaterials and how nanotechnology is shaping the future. Come and learn how small these materials are, see how they grow, study them like a scientist and see how they can be used in technology!

Lights, Colours, Canera, Action! (Durham University Chemistry)

What do sweet wrappers, Pink Floyd, Star Wars and fibre-optic broadband have in common? It’s light! Join Robert Pal from Durham University Chemistry to understand light in all its glory.


Galaxy Makers (Durham University Institute for Computational Cosmology)

Understanding how galaxies are made is one of astronomy’s greatest puzzles. Join us to find out how we use computer simulations to test how galactic ingredients and violent events combine to shape the life history of galaxies, and make your own galaxy in the computer.

Natural Disasters! (Durham University Earth Sciences)

Explosive volcanoes! Oozing lava! Shaking ground! Visit us to find out how volcanoes grow and explode, why the ground shakes in an earthquake, and where these catastrophic events can occur. Come and have a go at making a volcano erupt, and see if you can build a structure that will survive an earthquake!

Modelling the Invisible (Durham University Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology)

Join us to explore the fundamental building blocks of nature and the laws describing their interactions. Find out how we use computer simulations to investigate natural radioactivity and cosmic rays, identify the rare natural events that we are searching for, and design future experiments.


Science and the Senses (Durham University Psychology)

A series of fun games for children designed to highlight how important our senses are, and how they work together to help us understand the world. Children of all ages can take part in a series of fun demonstrations involving smell boxes, coloured lights, and a ‘rubber hand illusion’.

Physics in the Field (Institute of Physics)

Join in with eye-catching physics tricks to wow all ages, using things that can be found at home. Some are messy, some are noisy and some need you to tinker in the kitchen, but all of them are crowd pleasing and show that physics is everywhere. Come along and find out how to amaze your friends and family with physics!

Name that Mammal! (Durham University Biosciences)

Mammals come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Some are large and graze on grasslands, some are small and fast and hunt insects, yet more can swim and chase fish. Can you tell the difference between the skull of a zebra and a wild boar, and work out why they are so different? P.S. There are a couple of skulls from animals who aren’t mammals – see if you can spot them!

Energy Conversion & Efficiency (Durham University Durham Energy Institute)

Visit us to learn all about energy, its generation, conversion and utilization. Joins us to explore energy efficiency within the home with hands-on experiments – generate your own electricity and learn about the advances in technology designed to save you money!


Catch your Breath (Life of Breath, Durham University Centre for Medical Humanities and Durham University Library Learning Team)

You breathe over 20,000 times per day, mostly without even thinking about it! Breathing isn't just a bodily function; it's how we experience our lives. Explore some of the amazing things your breath allows you to do - make a picture with your breath and measure your lung volume.


Science All Around You (Procter & Gamble)

Join scientists from Proctor & Gamble to explore the amazing science behind some of the things that you use everyday. There's more than meets the eye to many of the items you find in your home...


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