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Durham University

Celebrate Science

Programme of events

Here are some of the great activities that took place at Celebrate Science 2019. The exhibitors for Celebrate Science 2020 will be announced as they are confirmed.

Share your photos from Celebrate Science at #CelebrateScience

Tuesday 27 - Thursday 29 October 2020
10am - 4pm Daily

Project Mars (SciArt Exchange and Durham University Learning Team)

Learning Centre, Palace Green Library

Project Mars was a global film and graphic arts competition inviting university students and early career professionals to communicate their visual interpretation of NASA’s deep space exploration path from Earth to Mars. A lot can happen during that 39-million-mile journey, so the creative concepts were as limitless as the expanse of space! Come and see the winning entries from the Project Mars competition, be inspired and create your own artwork! Screenings of the winning short films last approximately 20 minutes, alongside our creative activity station, in the Learning Centre inside Palace Green Library. Everyone is welcome. Children should be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Armstrong Challenge: following in the footsteps of ‘the man who made water work’ (The Common Room)

Tuesday 29th October only

Be inspired by our engineering heritage and join the Common Room team in following in the footsteps of engineering giant and past president of the Mining Institute, Lord William Armstrong. Discover his feats of local engineering and use your creative skills to build a version of Armstrong’s hydraulic crane. Do you have what it takes to solve our engineering challenge?

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

Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st 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; Framwellgate School; St Bede's Catholic School & Sixth Form College, Lanchester; Southmoor Academy; UTC South Durham; Wolsingham School)

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!

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.

Bubbles! (Durham University Chemistry)

Come join us to find out more about the science of how bubbles work! Can you rescue a duck from inside a bubble? Do you know how thick a bubble is? How you can work it out? Find out all this and more with our bubble-duck challenge!



The Power of Steam (Locomotion)

Have you ever wondered how a steam engine works or how steam powered the mighty Flying Scotsman locomotive to achieve speed of over 100 miles per hour? Come along and meet the team from Locomotion and discover the answer. You can have a go at building your own engine or vehicle powered completely by air, all built from everyday junk. How fast will your engine go?


How Random is Random? (Durham University Mathematics)

Can you predict how the balls will fall through our mathematical pinball machine? Let’s roll the dice to go for a random walk. Find out about the mathematics of random movement and the connections to a famous number pattern.



Jump over the Moon (Helen Schell, artist & the Institute of Physics)

Imagine you live on the Moon: What would it be like? ESA and NASA have announced they are planning to build a 'Moon Village' within the next 30 years. Invent and make your own moon rocket, moon house, moon buggy, or robot. Discover real lunar science at this drop-in art and science workshop using recycled materials.

Moving Machines (Beamish Museum)

This Autumn Beamish Museum is celebrating all things transport. Come along to design and make a contraption that moves using a wide range of materials you might not think can make a vehicle! Let your imagination soar! Will you invent something for the future, recreate the past or copy one of our famous vehicles from the museum? We’re excited to help you turn your creation into reality!


Light Entertainment (Durham University Physics)

Light and atoms are all around us, but is there more to them than meets the eye? Discover the physics of 3D films, make your own colour-changing picture and learn how we can use light to identify different atoms.



Nanobots! (Durham University Chemistry)

Swing into high gear as you step onto the track in the battle against cancer, a disease that kills over 8.2 million people per year worldwide. Take the wheel of a remote controlled forklift truck and go on a mission to eradicate the cancer cells around the track. Power your truck using a unique activation light and discover the incredible way nano-drills use light to target and safely eradicate cancerous cells in the body.

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.


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. These activities are supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Nanomaterials – from the laboratory into technology (Durham University Chemistry and the Centre for Process Innovation)

Discover why being very, very small is very, very different. Try making your own nanomaterials, find out how nature uses nanotechnology and how people have been using nanomaterials for hundreds of years. See how local companies are making exciting new products with nanomaterials.


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.


Exploring Earth Sciences (Durham University Earth Sciences)

Earth Sciences helps us understand natural hazards like volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and tsunamis. Earth Sciences also play an essential part in finding and developing new energy sources and resources. Join us to try some activities and discover what Earth Sciences is all about.


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 reaction time tests, a speech warping machine, and the ‘rubber hand illusion’.


Beautiful Biosciences (Durham University Biosciences)

Explore Biosciences from the microscopic to something as large as a Hippo.Can you identify an animal from the size and shape of its skull?! Augmented Reality T-shirts that help you to see inside your body and learn about your tissues and organs. Look at those tissues down the microscope and see how they are all made of tiny cells.


Solving the World’s Greatest Challenges (Durham University Global Challenges and Energy Centres for Doctoral Training)

Poverty, Hunger, Disease, Water, Energy, Climate. These global challenges, and many more, need solutions to make the world a better place for everyone. Come and join us to explore effective solutions to some of these challenges. You too can be a problem solver and make a difference.


The Attraction of Magnets (Durham University Physics)

Be amazed! Since the discovery of magnets their behaviour has created a sense of wonder. Scientists and engineers have studied magnetism and developed important technologies from generating electricity to storing information in the Internet cloud. Join us to explore the science and technology of magnetism from fridge magnets through to magnetic skyrmions.


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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