ERPE at Explorathon 2014

ERPE at Explorathon 2014

On Friday 26 September, a host of Heriot-Watt academics and students took the opportunity to share their research with the public at the Explorathon - Scotland's first European Researchers' Night.

One night, Unlimited discovery
This extravaganza of discovery, debate and entertainment takes place annually in 300 cities across Europe, to bring the world of research to the general public. In Edinburgh, a myriad of activities were hosted at Our Dynamic Earth, The National Museum of Scotland, the Botanic Gardens and at various cafes across the city, bringing together academics from across the Edinburgh universities.

A Dynamic afternoon
At Our Dynamic Earth, Heriot-Watt’s scientists amazed and inspired more than 700 adults and children. From deep sea robots and the coral reefs they help protect, to arctic exploration, and glowing jellyfish that let us see inside the tiny world of living cells, the afternoon was a chance for the public to see what researchers really do and why it matters. Another highlight was Dr Jonathan Leach’s Creative Cameras exhibit from the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition, with his cameras that take pictures of things moving as fast as light.

Dynamic Earth’s new Scientific Director, Dr Hermione Cockburn said, “I think it is a wonderful way to engage with the public and communicate current research to quite a diverse set of people.”

Her feelings were echoed by Professor Rory Duncan, from the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences. He said, “Speaking to members of the public is a super-important output that's often overlooked by researchers. As well as the almost overwhelming enthusiasm for science shown by the public of all ages, it's essential to explain how we spend their hard-earned cash. The afternoon at ODE was a brilliant showcase for the breadth of Heriot-Watt science and engineering, enthusiastically embraced by interested visitors of all ages.”

Professor Murray Roberts, from the School of Life Sciences, said “I was delighted to see so many people at Explorathon. It’s always energising to spend time doing public engagement work, and you can guarantee you’ll get better questions from the 5-year olds than most colleagues at international conferences!"

HW Engage
The Dynamic Earth event was jointly organised by HW Engage, Heriot-Watt’s public engagement initiative in the Centre for Academic Leadership and Development, in collaboration with the Beltane Public Engagement Network. The Explorathon project was made possible with funding from the European Commission secured by the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde.

Next year’s Explorathon is on the 25 September 2015. For further information on this and other public engagement activities, contact HW Engage.

Dr Melanie Jimenez demonstrates water purification with lego and magnets.
Dr Melanie Jimenez demonstrates water purification with lego and magnets.