April 24, 2017, by Lindsay Brooke

Levitation and lightning -100s of school children ‘Spring into Science’

How do you make music with electrical sparks or float balls in the air using only sound? Children from schools across Nottingham found out the answers to these and many other scientific questions at the first ever ‘Spring into Science’ event being held at The University of Nottingham today.

A team of experts from the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, led by Professors Edmund Copeland and Philip Moriarty, provided lively lectures and interactive demonstrations on sound and resonance designed to capture the children’s imagination. The demonstrations included: musical lightning – making music using electrical sparks from a Tesla coil, acoustic levitation – balls suspended in the air using sound waves and an experiment where glass is broken using only sound.

The idea for the event was sparked at a lecture given by Professor Brian Cox in Nottingham when Professor Copeland joined him on stage and spoke about the need for more young people to get involved in science, he said: “Getting more young people enthusiastic about science is vital both to ensure progression and growth in the subject but also because science plays such an important role in society. We designed the content to be interactive and engaging, with the aim of showing how exciting science can be and to hopefully inspire the audience to consider it as a subject to pursue.”

Over 500 year 8 children from eleven Nottingham schools attended the event which was organised in partnership with Nottingham City Council.

Cllr Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment and Skills at the council, said: “Developing a passion for science and technology in our children from an early age is essential to ensure they develop a sense of curiosity and wonder for the world around them that they carry forward throughout their school career.

“Employers also tell us that they are looking for young people with qualifications in science, technology and maths. Research shows that businesses whose main focus is science and technology will continue to grow and that over the next decade, it is estimated that an additional 6,000 science and technology jobs will be generated in Nottingham.

“In order to meet this demand from our employers, we need to ensure that the young people who are completing their education do so with the skills and qualifications these employers will be looking for. I hope the lectures see many of our pupils taking their first step onto a longer path towards getting the right skills that will be highly valued for jobs in the future.”

Children were encouraged to ask questions throughout the sessions and left with a goody bag. Teachers were also provided with lesson suggestions to pick up where today’s ‘Spring into Science’ event left off.

Thanks to our photographer Lisa Gilligan-Lee who captured the essence of the event in this gallery of photographs.



Posted in Physics and AstronomyScienceStaff