Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff at Wonder 2017

January 28, 2019, by Rob Ounsworth

Wonder: amaze and inspire by sharing your passion for world-class research

Wonder is the University of Nottingham’s day of discovery, where we invite the public to explore how our world-leading research and exceptional teaching changes lives.

Wonder 2019 takes place on Saturday June 15 at University Park and organisers want to hear from researchers who’d like to inspire and amaze at this showcase.

Please note the deadline for expressions of interest in running an activity at Wonder is Friday 15 February

Wonder in summer 2017 wowed many hundreds of curious minds.

In 2019 it will again support our mission as a civic-minded University to engage with the wider community – and provides researchers with a vehicle to demonstrate to funders and partners their commitment to public engagement.

Wonder is also a chance for researchers to work with students and volunteers, inspire the next generation and highlight the impact of teaching and outreach.

Rachael Pearson, Head of Public Engagement at the University of Nottingham, said: “Taking part in Wonder is a great way to engage with our local communities, and who knows where that can lead. Sharing your research outside of academia can give you fresh insights, lead to unexpected collaborations and can genuinely improve the quality of your research. On top of that, it can be great fun for everybody involved!”

This year Wonder is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Periodic Table of the Elements.

Rachael added: “We’d like to emphasise that Wonder welcomes contributions of colleagues from all disciplines.”

Creative links to the periodic table could be:

  • Gold (Au) inspiring activities connected to understanding the economy
  • Sulphur (S) examining visions of hell and damnation in literature
  • Cobalt (Co) exploring a shade of blue and its relevance in ceramics and painting.

Dr Olivia Walsh, Assistant Professor in French and Francophone Studies, Faculty of Arts, took part in Wonder 2017, when she and PhD students, Emma Humphries and Louis Cotgrove, asked visitors to explore attitudes to language.

Dr Walsh said: “We got people to think about how our reactions to different language varieties often reflect attitudes to or judgement about the speaker’s level of education, their reliability or their approachability. Many of the participants had never considered language in this way. It was great to show that research into language can have a practical purpose and that its outcomes can be of benefit to speakers.”

Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff CBE is a prime mover behind the UNESCO-endorsed International Year of the Periodic Table and his YouTube smash The Periodic Table of Videos should provide inspiration for a linked activity at Wonder – whatever your discipline.

You may wish to freshen up an event from Wonder 2017, or develop a new activity or cross-disciplinary approach with a link or signpost to the elements theme.

This year’s Wonder will focus near the south entrance of University Park, mainly based around Physics, Chemistry, the Engineering and Science Learning Centre, George Green Library, Pharmacy and Lakeside. It’s likely to run from 11am to 4.30pm.

How do I sign up?

Fill in our expression of interest form online. Please complete one form per activity. If any questions below aren’t applicable please just enter N/A.

The deadline is Friday 15 February.

If you have any questions please contact


Posted in researchUncategorized