In alignment with the themes set by the national body Science Learning Centres, and in response to the Public Attitudes to Science 2008 government report (PAS report) published on 11th March, Diamond plans to engage with the public by building a programme around three areas:
This week Diamond Light Source, the UK’s world-class new research facility on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, is launching its latest programme of public outreach activities. After a successful celebration year in 2007, when the facility opened on time, on budget and to specification and welcomed over 4,000 members of the general public to its open days, Diamond is offering a further opportunity for the public to visit the facility.
According to the recent PAS report, 79% of the public surveyed believe that science is a fundamental part of life and everyone should take an interest in it. Diamond witnessed this notable public interest in science when there was an overwhelming response to its open days last summer. Due to the high level of demand not everyone could be accommodated, therefore, the facility is launching Inside Diamond – a series of free events when the facility will open up to several hundred members of the public four times a year, starting in July, to offer a guided tour along with hands-on activities and talks by staff that work at and use Diamond.
|"At Diamond we aim to inform, involve and inspire the public by offering the opportunity to explore our facility and its science. There is so much exciting research happening here and we want to tell people about it. Inside Diamond will offer members of the public the chance to interact with scientists, engineers and staff at all levels whilst visiting the facility. We hope that by providing such opportunities we will help to increase awareness of science in society as well as inspiring young people to take-up science and follow careers in research." |
Laura Holland, Outreach and Events manager
Places for Inside Diamond will be subject to availability and will be bookable online in the near future. Keep an eye on our website for more information and registration.
As well as activities based at the facility, Diamond will also be participating in events such as the BA Festival of Science which takes place in Liverpool during September this year. Festival goers will be able to listen to scientists and users of the facility to find out about the fascinating research projects happening at Diamond.
The public engagement programme will have a large focus on young people and how Diamond can aid their studies and inspire them to pursue careers in science and engineering. Liaising with teachers, education experts, scientists and engineers, Diamond will continue to provide useful educational resources and endeavour to create further teaching aids relevant to the curriculum. As indicated by the PAS report, the internet is an increasingly important source for those actively seeking information on science and with this is mind, Diamond is in the process of creating a web area specifically for the public and young people where they will be able to virtually explore Diamond and its science.
Diamond acknowledges that there are still many people who need to be drawn into science via more creative and interesting means and already has three artists in residence who are using the facility and its research as inspiration for pieces of art which reflect Diamond and its work. Building on its involvement in the arts, Diamond intends to host future events covering a variety of artistic areas from music to literature to dance to present science in a different light and access diverse audiences.
Paula Groves, a sculptor working mainly with scrap metal, is one of Diamond’s artists in residence. She says:
|"I’m really proud to be involved with Diamond. This experience has opened my eyes to a whole different level of understanding and visual interpretation and beauty. To see beauty in areas where you wouldn’t ordinarily see it is really quite something. I don’t know where the residency will take us over the year but I think it will unearth some very very interesting and challenging ideas" |
Paula Groves, Diamond artist-in-residence
With a significant demand for more information direct from researchers (as identified by the recent PAS report) Diamond is continuing to offer training, mentoring and support to its scientists and engineers to enable them to effectively communicate their work, and advances in scientific research in general, to the public.
Dr Simon Alcock, a Metrology Scientist at Diamond, enjoys communicating with the public, and inspiring young people to study science.
"It’s great to meet with members of the local community, and chat about the interesting research that we're carrying out at Diamond. People really appreciate the opportunity to talk to scientists about their work, and to understand how science is relevant to everyday life. I've been asked a huge range of questions, everything from complex technical details about how the Diamond machine works, to why is Diamond shaped like a doughnut! People are often genuinely surprised that science provides so many benefits that we often take for granted: new medical cures, stronger engineering materials, or even the latest electronic gadget. Coming up with informative answers, tailored to suit the audience, is a fun and refreshing challenge. It’s a great opportunity to highlight why a career in science is such a good choice."
For more information or images, contact:
Sarah Bucknall at Diamond: 0044 (0) 1235 778639 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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