The University of Southampton

Young astrophysicists rocket into Space Zone at Science and Engineering Day

Published: 22 March 2019
Illustration
: Young astrophysicists make scientific discoveries in the Space Zone.

Inquisitive minds discovered wonders of the universe as part of over 150 free activities in the University of Southampton's Science and Engineering Day.

The School of Physics and Astronomy was transformed into a Space Zone on Saturday as a festival atmosphere drew thousands of visitors to Highfield and Boldrewood campuses.

Families explored the universe in a mobile planetarium, built their own solar systems out of Play-Doh and learned the science behind the Large Hadron Collider in shows and workshops across the day.

Dr Sadie Jones, Space Zone Manager, says: "Our aim is to encourage more students to study physics at A-level and beyond, and we love sharing our knowledge, resources and skills with the public. The online tickets for space zone events sold out in record time this year and it was great to welcome over a thousand people through our doors on Saturday. I hope our activities have started to inspire some pioneering physicists and astronomers of the future."

The Soton Astrodome mobile planetarium provided one of the highlights of the Space Zone with videos introducing visitors to the world of astronomy and the aurora physics of the Northern Lights. The Aurora Borealis were also the focus of a new citizen science project, the Aurora Zoo, and a live Planeterella demonstration which simulated the phenomena.

Hands-on activities helped families make a range of scientific discoveries around the Space Zone. Children built Play-Doh planets to learn about our solar system, predicted climate change in a computer-modelling 'predict-a-planet' game and flew through the Extragalactic Large-Scale Universe in 3D with the Astera visualisation.

Visitors also learned about the science of photonics in performances of the Light Express Roadshow and were electrified by demonstrations from a Van der Graaf Generator, liquid nitrogen and levitating superconductors in the Accelerate! science show.

Details about future public and engagement and outreach activities in the School are available through the Physics and Astronomy website.

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