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At Graphene NOWNANO we aim to promote science and raise awareness of the breadth of STEM opportunities available to children of all ages. Through participation in various science festivals, masterclasses and social media we aim to spread the word and inspire the next generation of graphene scientists.
Outreach is an essential aspect of being a researcher, both at the PhD level and beyond. Taking part in outreach and engaging with the general public also helps our students learn about presenting their complex research topics in a more approachable, understandable way.
Our students are encouraged to participate in at least one activity a year. They also help develop supporting materials such as posters, booklets and hands-on activities.
Below are some of the activities we are involved in, click on the pictures to read more about them.
British Science Week ›
Graphene NOWNANO hold a regular stand during the nation-wide British Science Week at the annual event in the Sackville Street building, as well as hosting the Nano Masterclass. We were visited by over 1100 attendees, school pupils and teachers alike, who enjoyed learning about the wonderful world of 2D materials and making their very own graphene!
Seb, a volunteer at the 2017 event, said “It was great to talk to so many inquisitive students and teachers during British Science week and introduce them to the wonderful world of 2D materials. Events like these can help inspire the next generation of scientists.”
Science X ›
Graphene NOWNANO takes part in the annual Science X event at the intu Trafford Centre, spreading the word of nanoscience to the general public.
Wejun, one of our students, said, “I really enjoyed the activity and learned a lot in terms of communicating with children and how to introduce your research to the general public in a more understandable way.”
Bluedot Festival ›
The Bluedot fesitval at Jodrell Bank provides a great platform for us to inspire and share the latest graphene discoveries. Held in the presence of The Lovell Telescope, the festival is a combined celebration of music, arts, technology, culture and science featuring talks and hands-on science demos from leading researchers alongside the more typical festival activities.
As part of the festival students ran the “Discover Graphene” stand in the hands-on science exhibition, enthralling festival-goers with a series of graphene-related demos. For three days students were faced an unending stream of people who arrived at the Graphene Gazebo curious and, without exception, left with knowledge and the skills to make graphene thanks to the hands-on exhibit "Make your own graphene". Other exhibits run by the students included a Graphene TEM demonstration and single-layered CVD graphene on a flexible PET substrate. Join us for "Adventures in Flatland!"
Science Spectacular ›
Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Hall hosts the Science Spectacular as part of the Manchester Science Festival. We had over 1500 visitors, with lots of interest in our interactive graphene stand.
Conor, one of our students hosting the stand, said, “The enthusiasm and energy that the children brought to the event blew me away! While I wasn't always sure what level of detail suited each person that came to the stand, by engaging with more and more people, and listening to the experienced students, I grew in confidence as the day passed. I look forward to the next outreach event already.”
Nano Masterclass ›
The annual Nano Masterclass is designed specifically for sixth form students and their teachers and run at the University of Manchester by practising researchers from our Graphene NOWNANO Centre for Doctoral Training. This event is primarily intended for those students taking modules which include physics and chemistry at 'A' or 'AS' level, but is also open to any physics student or teacher interested in studying or teaching the subject. Find out more on the Masterclass website here and read about the success of the inaugural masterclass here.
Soapbox Science ›
NoWNANO DTC student Chloe Oakland (2012 cohort) took part in Soapbox Science 2016 Manchester. Chloe was one of twelve female scientists to take to their soapboxes in Piccadilly Gardens to share their research.
There was something for everyone, from clouds to cancer, protons to parasites, neuropsychology to nanoscience. The scientists were passionate about demonstrating how scientific research informs everyday life. Chloe discussed florescent nanoparticles for early disease diagnosis.
Pint of Science ›
Philip Thomas (2013 cohort) spoke as part of Pint of Science 2016. Pint of Science is a festival which aims to deliver talks on the latest science research in an accessible format in a pub. The main festival takes place annually over three days in the month of May simultaneously in pubs across the world.
Philip's talk, on 23rd May at the Red Lion in Withington, introduced some of the key ideas in his research field. He talked about metamaterials and their potential applications in biosensing and invisibility cloaking.
School visits ›
We have a programme of visits to secondary schools, where our students lead hands-on activities explaining the science of graphene and other nanomaterials to groups of GCSE and A-level students. These visits are very popular and we are getting regular requests from schools across Greater Manchester to present and explain our research.