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Festivalgoers inspired by astronomy research at Glastonbury Science Tent

Published: 13 July 2017

Music fans engaged with astronomy research from the University of Southampton through an interactive ‘Bringing Research to Life’ Roadshow at Glastonbury Festival’s Science Tent at the end of June. The Science Tent, which had thousands of visitors during the five-day festival, was part of a wider outreach presence by several universities in the south.

Representatives from the South East Physics Network (SEPnet) engaged with nearly 900 festivalgoers to ‘Guess the Gas’ as they showcased research from the Department of Physics and Astronomy’s Supernova Group at this summer’s festival. The activity - which encouraged participants to use and take away a pair of Diffraction Grating Glasses - challenged visitors to identify elements within gas tubes. This introduced the science of spectroscopy which has applications in astronomy, such as measuring the speed of galaxies and the expansion of the universe.

Sadie Jones, Outreach Leader in Astronomy, says: “It is always a thrill to share Southampton’s world-leading research with a diverse and energetic audience at Glastonbury Festival, and our science tent was once again a popular addition to the Green Futures field this year. We were really pleased with levels of engagement, with people from across all ages spending time chatting about our research.”

Sadie was one of three SEPnet representatives at the international festival from Tuesday 20th to Monday 26th June, and engaged with an audience of 470 men and 410 women that passed through the Southampton roadshow.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy takes part in several year-round public engagement programmes that encourage more students to study physics at A-Level and beyond. Activities include the free Soton Astrodome mobile planetarium and the Light Express Roadshow.

Find out more about Physics and Astronomy’s outreach and public engagement at:

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