The University of Southampton

University launches new partnership for public engagement with Winchester Science Centre

Published: 4 October 2017
Illustration
Professor Sir Christopher Snowden and Ben Ward at the launch event

The University of Southampton has forged a new strategic partnership for public engagement with the Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium.

The partnership, launched at a special event held in Winchester, creates a new stage for world-leading research from the Department of Physics and Astronomy to reach the hearts and minds of visitors to the Science Centre.

Interactive displays at the popular site will soon include an exhibit on transistors, developed by an interdisciplinary University team including Professor David Smith, Head of Southampton’s Nanomaterials Group.

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Southampton, says: “It was my great pleasure to join with our colleagues from Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium to launch this new strategic partnership which represents a shared vision with the University of Southampton to use public engagement in science as a catalyst for activities that will lead us all to changing the world for the better.

“It’s vital for the University to access a number of platforms to publicly demonstrate the many features and benefits of our research and education. The Science Centre has been invaluable in working with us to achieve this goal over many years and I look forward to an even closer collaboration going forward as we explore ever more exciting ways to communicate our cutting-edge research and world-class education.”

The new transistors exhibit, which will be made available to the public in early 2018, will demonstrate the importance of transistors in modern electronics and present visitors with a physical analogue of a field effect transistor. The analogue will involve water representing electrical charge, with pressurised squeezing affecting flow through a long, thin balloon. The exhibit, which will be on display for a minimum of five years, combines expertise from Physics and Astronomy’s Professor David Smith, along with Professors Phil Bartlett and Gill Reid from the Department of Chemistry.

Ben Ward, CEO of Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium, adds: “Scientific public engagement has the potential to transform lives. It educates, empowers and inspires generations and encourages debate about topical issues that affect us all.

“Winchester Science Centre is thrilled to be working with cutting-edge researchers from the University of Southampton, helping to bridge the gap between academic research and the general public,” he added. “Our new partnership enables the Centre to highlight the importance of STEM learning through new interactive displays built in collaboration with the University, based on their world-changing research and how it impacts everyday life.”

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