Outreach and Public Engagement
The group is passionate about and active in disseminating research outcomes to the public. We participate in outreach activities ranging from careers advice to A-level students all the way to communicating science through dancing! Selected examples and resources are given below.
Also see the resources we have developed, which include:
We organised a full day of activities at the Lydgate Junior School, during British Science Week. Five group members and two volunteers gathered together to communicate what is chemical engineering and the latest research ongoing in our group to 120 Year 6 students.
Activities and sessions during the day included:
Students were very enthusiastic, not only about cotton candy being present. They engaged very well with the presentations and the demonstrations, asking questions and participating in lively discussions. The volunteers we had great fun showcasing our research and general discipline and engaging with such a lively audience.
All students found the day as interesting, fun and informative. When asked “Would you do it again?” we got a massive Yes, in a heartbeat! The school pupils showed their appreciation with a heart-warming Thank you card !
We were very honoured to participate to Festival of the Mind in 2018, showcasing our work from the SynBIM project through Strictly Nano Dancing. We created a collaborative, theatrical animated video to demonstrate the importance of green chemistry, bioinspiration and respect for the environment.
Several dancing acts performed by various dance groups, including brilliant volunteers from a local school, made our messages come alive. These groups of people from different backgrounds created choreographies to translate the scientific concepts into movement and make them appear seamless and effortless.
We touched on how current chemical industries are unsustainable, using hazardous chemicals, overusing scarce resources and polluting the environment. We explained how bioinspiration can be the way to the future learning from nature and applying the knowledge, through research, to create better, more sustainable products and processes. We then focused on nanomaterials, specifically magnetic nanoparticles and silica nanoparticles, both re-created from their natural counterparts found in magnetotatic bacteria and diatoms respectively. This collaboration is also the heart of the SynBIM project, connecting many disciplines and scales together, towards the goal of sustainable nanomaterials manufacturing.
Our session, appropriately named Strictly Nano Dancing, was quite popular, attracting more than 500 people on the day, of all ages and backgrounds. We also held a small exhibition, with some props and more information on our research, where visitors could find out more details about what they witnessed in the choreographies and the videos being projected. Overall, we enjoyed this event and we were grateful to receive lots of great feedback.
Also see this by our colleagues in Glasgow