Step inside the UK’s leading Science and Innovation campus

For the first time in eight years, we invited you to come and explore behind the scenes, see first-hand where some of the world’s most pioneering research takes place, and meet the scientists and technicians who deliver the breakthroughs and discoveries they hear about on the news.

Harwell Open Day 2024

A Day to Remember

For the first time in eight years, we threw open our doors to over 10,000 enthusiastic visitors, offering a rare glimpse into the ground-breaking research and innovations happening right here in the UK.

Preparations, for Harwell Open Week, were over a year in the planning which included welcoming industry stakeholders and schools to the campus during the week with a public open day as the finale on the Saturday.

For the Open Day the weather played its part too on the Saturday, offering the perfect day to explore the sprawling campus, allowing young minds to wander and to celebrate all things science and tech. We even had DJ Axelle delighting the crowds with her day-long music set list.

Behind the scenes

Visitors had the rare opportunity to see behind the scenes at one of the largest collections globally of national research facilities, including Diamond Light Source, Central Laser Facility, ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, RAL Space and the Rosalind Franklin Institute. From supercomputing, accelerator science, and next generation telescopes to biological sciences and robotics, visitors we’re able to see first-hand how the different facilities deliver inspirational work and how it is improving life for current and future generations.

Meet the Stars

A highlight of the day was the opportunity to meet European Space Agency (ESA) astronauts Rosemary Coogan and Meganne Christian. They shared their experiences and insights, inspiring both young and old with their stories of space exploration and careers to date. Adding a touch of fun to the event, the beloved Shaun the Sheep also made a special appearance, delighting fans of all ages, and children got to experience first hand what it was like to be an astronaut by donning full space suits supplied by UK Space Agency.

Interactive Fun

The Harwell Open Day was packed with interactive experiences. Attendees tested their wits and teamwork in the thrilling Space Escape Room, tried their hand at landing a rocket on the moon with MDA Space, found out about the strengths of diamonds at Element Six, and immersed themselves into virtual reality experiences.  We were also lucky enough to have the famous Geist light installation at STFC, which combined the power of light, mirrors, illusions, motion sensors, and intricate coding to create a mesmerising galaxy of lights that respond to the audience’s presence.  Throughout the day visitors were mesmerised by dynamic robot displays, the Mars Rover and alien games from Astroscale.

Innovate X Talks

The Royal Institution kicked the day off with a series of inspiring and fun lightening talks with a deep dive into our very own cells to see how viruses and bacteria invade our bodies – and how science is helping us fight back whilst at the tail end of the day we heard from ESA on the Universe in a pancake. (I bet you never thought you would come to Harwell and hear the words pancake and universe in the same sentence).

Day of Innovation and Inspiration

Harwell Open Day offered a rare chance to delve into the world of cutting-edge science and technology, meet the brilliant minds behind these discoveries, engage with the future of innovation and have fun along the way. From astronauts and fashion to robots and interactive exhibits, and the amazing work of many local and STEM charities, the day was a resounding success.

Don’t miss out on future events like this—sign up to the Harwellian for more opportunities to explore the exciting world of science and technology at Harwell Campus.

And last but not least here is our condensed long list of thanks to the people and organisations that helped make the day a great success.

The amazing volunteers, UKRI, STFC, UKSA, ESA, The Royal Institution, the event sponsors, the 250+ organisations on campus, the national facilities, Eurest, Nurture, Calber, Knight Security, Tom Weller Photography, our videography team Raw Films.

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