Shining light on the environment – STFC Science outreach fellowship

Project aims:

• engage with and entertain school children, teachers and interest groups in order to convey the exciting research being carried out at STFC funded light sources

• demonstrate that the physics that makes light sources work enable scientists to answer questions about how the environment works and can be protected

• show that environmental science is exactly that – the science of how the environment works – and is reliant on the application of physics, chemistry and biology

• demystify the lives of scientists, showing the process of scientific investigation and that scientists have good and bad days


Talks at Science Festivals and interest groups

Talks at schools

Tours and demonstrations at Diamond

Working with the media


Summary of activity:

Pretty much all the things listed in my objectives. There was less work with the media than I hoped and in the end it didn’t prove practical to do lots of tours of Diamond other than pre-existing ones, but that is just how things panned out.

Evaluation approach:

For the School talks I used feedback sheets. Otherwise I didn't evaluate things formally.

What went well:

1. Generally the talks to schools and interest groups went well

2. The blogging was fun

3. Eventually I found out about Chemistry Reviews and Physics Reviews which helped me do more of the writing than I initially managed

What was learned:

1. when embarking on a 3 year large scale project buying out some of your time make sure you have variety or you may get bored with your own talks!

2. when talking in schools it is easier to talk to 20 pupils than 200.

3. you have to contact adult interest groups way in advance to get a slot in their programmes

Top tips and advice for others

1. plan ahead

2. don't worry about doing all the things that you can with science communication - do what you are comfortable with

3. allow plenty of time for travel delays

About this project


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Project type:


Started (approximately):

Oct 2011

Ended: (approximately)

Sept 2014

Tags for this project:

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About the contributor

Mark Hodson
University of York

"Normal" academic interested in giving talks to interested groups, occasional writing.…

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