Science up close - July 2015
On Saturday 11 July Harwell Campus opened its doors to the public so that they could have a peek behind the scenes at some of the World’s most spectacular and powerful science facilities.
16,000 fans of Science visited the Campus on its first Open Day in over a decade.
Visitors were able to tour the STFC Central Laser Facility to see its Vulcan laser, which produces a beam so intense that it is like taking all of the sunlight shining on the Earth at any one moment and focusing it onto a pin head; the Diamond Light Source (the iconic silver ring that works like a giant microscope and produces light 10 billion times brighter than the sun); RAL Space which designs, builds and tests instruments that will be launched into space, including hi-definition cameras that are now operational on the International Space Station and the ISIS Neutron & Muon Source which is used for a huge variety of science, from designing new medicines to testing materials used in aircraft.
Visitors also had an opportunity to take a ‘selfie’ with a gigantic cast of a Gorgosaurus dinosaur skeleton in the Diamond Light Source atrium, and star in a Matrix-style ‘frozen time’ film sequence.
Doors opened at 9:30 and the initial rush of visitors saw over 1,000 people on site in the first 30 minutes, all keen to see as much as possible. When the site finally closed at 6pm, a staggering 16,000 people had been through the doors of Harwell.
For pictures and more information about the Open Days please click here.
On Wednesday 8 July 2015, the Harwell Campus welcomed schools to the site, allowing unprecedented access to some of the UK’s largest science and engineering facilities. This was a unique opportunity to expose students to the excitement of cutting-edge science, inspiring them to pursue STEM subjects.Read more
On Saturday 11 July 2015, the Harwell campus opened its doors to the public to visit and explore our amazing science and technology. This unique event enabled visitors to access all areas and learn about the UK’s involvement in space explorations, exciting experiments with powerful X-rays and neutrons, supercomputing and much more.Read more
What they said
Every site I went to I found the people manning them more than happy to explain things in simple terms, giving me as much time as I wanted. The enthusiasm they showed for their work was infectious. Every person who was wearing a purple T Shirt was a credit to your organisation. Fifty years after failing miserably in my O level for Physics I finally found out what an interesting subject it was!
We would just like to record our thanks to all members of staff and volunteers who made our visit such an enjoyable day. Everyone was very enthusiastic and helpful. We hope you will repeat the event in the not too distant future.
Waskett & Tilbury families
We were very impressed with the organisation and the activities. It was like an example of how outreach should be at its best.
I got answers to all the questions I had been dying to ask someone for ages and although my interest in particle physics is based on curiosity rather than any deep scientific knowledge, the explanations I was given were easily understandable and in no way made me feel ignorant. My fascination with the LHC is now notched up a step!
My grandson Charlie (aged 10) enjoyed it so much with all the experiments etc. and also the dressing up in Bio suits and especially the space suit (well done to the man who ran that as it was such hard work in the heat getting the kids in and out of the space suit). Everyone on the site was so pleasant and helpful and the experiments were well thought out to appeal to all ages, we all learnt something.
M E Sheppard
I appreciate that all the people who explained so much to me so patiently were not only volunteering, but the very scientists who do the work - I'm delighted that I inadvertently took advantage of this opportunity, I'll be back every year! I'm in awe of the work you do, and feel proud to live nearby.
I am particularly grateful to the team in the new space Centre who spent a great deal of time talking to my 7 year old grandson about his interest in Volcanoes and The Northern Lights. We have one budding scientist who is very keen to visit again and already thinking about where he will spend his time on work experience.
The day surpassed even our wildest hopes. There was a delightful feeling of relaxed happiness all through the day, and, even with the inevitable long delays when driving out of the site, everyone seemed to be good-humoured. All of the staff were welcoming, and seemed pleased to answer questions at any level. Thank you for an unforgettable day.
Dr. David Brand
An impressive amount of organisation must have gone into making it a fascinating day for myself and many others.
My husband and I were curious and came along with our young sons, William (5) and Henry (4). We hoped their eyes would be opened a little wider to the incredible world around us. It was super to see their faces as they explored the facilities and engaged with the 'science experts'.
William's favourite part of the day was "using the real science equipment to find the secret letter" in the laser facility. He also liked the idea of exploring the properties of a chameleon in the ISIS facility to create his own invisibility super powers!
Henry's favourite part of the day was "the space room - I liked the picture of the astronauts and the rockets and the control station". He also enjoyed the fact that the ground control looked like Benny's in the Lego movie!
It was a very well organised event with some exceptionally friendly and welcoming people (who were all brilliant with our boys). Thank you for opening your doors to us - we do hope you will be able to do it again in future.
Rebecca, Paul, William and Henry
We had an absolutely fascinating day and thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Campus last Saturday.