Dr Vicky Mason, in collaboration with Discovery Planet in Ramsgate, has launched a pilot scheme of public workshops designed to engage the wider local community with Science thanks to a Science and Technology Facilities Council Public Engagement grant.
Ahead of the opening of the pop-up science shop in Ramsgate high street staff and students from the University of Kent’s from Kent’s Physics and Astrophysics department held a two-day event at the Old Fire Station, giving a taste of what’s to come. The first event was focused on clean energy to tie in with COP26, giving the public a chance to meet the scientists and engineers helping us live sustainably.
270 school students from 8 schools, 40 teachers and 50 members of the public attended free workshops that was developed and delivered by Dr Mason and PhD student Anna Peiro Franch – who is researching new materials for solar panels – and included a presentation from London Array, the local wind farm company.
As well as two Kent undergraduate students, eight local volunteers helped make the event possible: 3 from Kent Coast Volunteering, 2 science students from East Kent College, 2 A-level physics students from Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School and one regular Discovery Planet helper.
External evaluators attended both days, helping to develop how we evaluate the event and record feedback – which was extremely positive. All the teachers and members of the public asked us to let them know when the next event is – we look forward to seeing them again soon.
The team will be back on the High street very soon when Discovery Planet get the keys to their shop premises where staff and postgraduate students from across the University of Kent will deliver exciting activities. These free events will give schools and local residents the chance to take part in hands-on activities and talk to the scientists working on some of the biggest global challenges we face. Watch this space for further updates.
Here are some images from the event.