Science and Engineering Day 22 March 2014

Saturday 22nd March 2014
10.30-16.30 (last admission 16.00)
Highfield Campus

27th March - It has been announced that Science and Engineering Day has won a National Science and Engineering Week award for Best STEM Institution Event 2014

The University of Southampton’s award winning Science and Engineering Day will take place on Saturday 22nd March 2014 10:30-16:30. It will take place on the Highfield Campus.

View a map

Science and Engineering Day is a collection of fascinating exhibitions, interactive displays and talks and demonstrations at Science and Engineering Day at the Highfield Campus, University Road. Bring the whole family to discover more! Click here to watch a highlights video from 2012.

Visitors taking part in activities at Science & Engineering Day 


This event is free of charge. There will also be an opportunity to enter a competition to win a variety of exciting prizes.


Please note: children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Visitors taking part in activities at Science & Engineering Day 





Pre-booking for some activites is new this year! Spaces are available for some of the Vegetable orchestra sessions and some of the Astrodome sessions.

Please go to Science and Engineering day tickets on Eventbrite for more details. Other sessions are bookable on the day and many others do not need booking.

Check the list of activities, shows and other things to see at this year’s event.

Parking will be available on campus, in the Broadlands Road car park.

Our activities
Activity Details
3D Colour Printing In this show we will bring a few 3D printer to the exhibition and demonstrate how the 3D printers work. Toys and samples will be printed during the show and give away as freebies. The demonstrators will set-up the printing and explain the printing process to the visitors. We will also bring a 3D scanner to scan peoples and other stuff.
Miniature Materials Matter Demonstrating the nanoscale, its applications to technology and a groundbreaking technique for growing nanoscale structures.
International Year of Crystallography – Growing and Looking at Crystals Crystallography is about growing and examining molecules in crystal form. This allows us to look at details we could never hope to see even with the most powerful microscopes! We show how chemical compounds, materials and biomolecules such as proteins and DNA form crystals. We will show you how to grow your own crystals and how research scientists investigate structure in crystalline materials.
Making Sense of Chemistry This activity will focus on the chemistry behind the sense of smell – how do we sense smells and fragrances? How are fragrant compounds synthesised, how isolated from natural products? How the molecular shapes affect their smell. There will be exhibits and hands-on activities for the public to explore, and staff and students to discuss the underlying concepts.
Science of Slime Make the gooiest, slimiest slime in any colour. Make your own potty putty or latex rubber for stretching or bouncing
Bioenergy from waste The activity demonstrates how household waste items can be fed to bugs to create biofuels. These biofuels are used to replace fossil fuel such as petrol, natural gas and coal.
Catalysis and Sustainability The activity focuses on catalysis, its principles and its applications towards a sustainability. We explain, using a range of demonstrations and hands-on experiments, how catalysts can affect the properties and the environmental impact of everyday life products: plastics, cars etc. There will also be colourful demonstrations to illustrate what happens in electrochromic reactions. The hands-on experiments are based on the the principle of fuel cell cars, and the building of models to illustrate how catalysts work. Demonstrations are supported by posters, associated information sheets and computer-based animations. The activity is also designed to encourage free dialogue and discussion with members of the public (both children and adults) about the role that scientific research can play in these important areas and its wider impact on our quality of life.
Electrochemistry for Energy and Art The activity will illustrate electrochemical energy conversion and storage, using real-life solar cells and batteries. Hands-on demonstrations will include water electrolysis and “electrochemical painting” (electrodeposition).
Erica the rhino Come and meet Erica, if you missed her in the city last year!
Show your class/Learn to teach Small toy based activities to engage attendees with science and discussion with interested adults about getting into teacher training, and also professional development opportunities for trained teachers
Defining and categorising food waste We generate huge quantities of food waste. A recent study on food waste across the European Union’s 27 countries estimated that the amount of food waste generated on an annual basis is in the region of 90 million tons (Monier et al, 2010). In the UK, the total amount of food waste generated annually is 16 million tons (Monier et al 2010), with approximately 50% of this coming from one fraction; household food waste (WRAP, 2011). According to 2006 EUROSTAT data, the UK has the highest amount of household food waste of the EU­27, followed by Germany (Monier et al, 2010). In this activity, you will explore how to define and categorize food waste by playing a card game.
Mathematics and Science Learning Centre The Mathematics and Science Learning Centre provides support for science and mathematics education. We work with teachers and technicians in schools, with researchers and others at the University and with pupils. Drop by our stand to find out about our activities and to see some school science activities!
Talk to US Have a go at the helping hand challenge. Make your own grabber from a selection of everyday materials and see if yours can lift the heaviest object. Also look at other examples of cardboard robotic hands that you can make yourself at home.
Ecosystem Services Have you thought about all the benefits we get from nature? And whether they are renewable or not? Come along and see whether you can spot all the benefits we obtain from the environment in Southampton, get your hands dirty looking for signs of life in a pile of earth and make a badge to remind yourself and others of how important the environment is.
Fatigue of metallic materials This activity introduces what is the materials sciences, illustrates the relationship between the composition, processing, microstructure and properties of materials. Most importantly, it reveals how the fatigue damage happens in metallic materials (specifically, Ni-based superalloys) and the mechanism of fatigue crack initiation and propagation.
Measure Muscle Find out how strong your muscles are and help us to build a grip-strength graph of Southampton!
Hands-on X-rays Participants will be encouraged to trace their hand using a white pen on dark paper, and replicate an x-ray using special modelling material to create the bones in the hand. The worksheet will include scientific bone facts, nutrition and exercise facts on how to maintain healthy bones, and prompt discussion.
Every Breath You Take Learn more about your lungs, listen to them and test your breathing with Spirometry. Understand sputum through microscope and importance of sputum colour.
How far does food travel? How far does your food travel? Do you know your bread from bananas? Do you know pasta from your potato? Do you know your chocolate from cheese? The Carbon Management Group are here to explain what you can do to reduce the carbon footprint of your next trip to the supermarket; discover everyday eaten foods in a totally different way!
How Our Lungs Work: Breathing and Wheezing Come to our stand where you can learn about the lung anatomy, how it looks like inside through a camera and even make your own lung model. Learn about the cells involved in the immune system of the lungs and what happens when you have asthma or allergies. Learn about the secret life of snot and make some to bring home
The Human Skeleton Use a box of bones to create a skeleton, observe different fractures under x-rays and learn how metal prosthetics are used.
A day in the life of a blood cell Jabs and germs; pumps and pipes; scabs and strokes; red or dead – all in the day in the life of a blood cell. How does your body fight infection? Why do vaccines work? Where do the protective army of white blood cells come from and what do they do? Your heart is a very powerful pump, it beats about 100,000 times a day and pumps around 1.5 million barrels of blood in a lifetime through specialised pipes, blood vessels, which together with the heart make up the circulatory system. What makes the heart and blood vessels so effective? How much blood do we have and what happens if we lose too much? Why is clotting important and how does it work? Can it people be treated when it goes wrong? There are 5 million red blood cells in a drop of blood. How does the chemistry in these tiny cells keep us alive? How does oxygen from the air we inhale get picked up and dropped off as these cells move around our circulation?
A journey through your beautiful brain Take a look down the microscope at the exquisite organisation of the miniscule cells that make up the brain; Make your own model brain cell; Find out more about how your nervous system works and let your brain play some tricks on you. Learn how magnets can be used to take pictures of your brain and discover what fashion has to do with mental health. This exhibit will take you on a journey from a single brain cell through to how your brain works and the importance of a healthy brain. Neuroscientists and psychology students will be on hand to talk about the different diseases that affect the brain and the research that is being carried out at Southampton to help improve treatments.
Where do we look when we search for things? Eye-tracking research allows us to understand why people are less accurate when they are looking for two things at the same time than when they are looking for those same two things separately. By tracking eye-movements, we can see that search is guided to the ‘wrong’ objects when looking for two things at the same time.
Walk Down Nostalgic Memory Lane Feel the warm glow of your memory! Explore toys and music from different eras to let you grown up kids share the golden oldies of your youth with the whole family. Take a trip down memory lane altogether in our Secret Nostalgia Den and experience the power of nostalgia with your own fond memories. Take a photo to capture your new memories of the day and bring it home with you
How to build your own 3D printer using a home cinema projector demonstration of the printer with poster information on how it was built, test videos and open Q and A throughout the day.
Maternal and Family Mental Health Activities exploring maternity care, including mental wellbeing during pregnancy and postnatal period.
Space Systems Engineering (Astronautics Research Group) An activity area (suitable for all ages) highlighting research & teaching within the Astronautics Research Group, and various hands-on activities relating to spacecraft and space debris. Activities include demonstrations of the space debris environment using a computational model, a touch-screen ‘space debris removal’ game and an autonomous LEGO rover. Other aspects include demonstrations and posters of research into CubeSats, spacecraft structures, human spaceflight, remote sensing and fractionated satellites.
Simulating Clinical Practice Demonstration of using simulated patients in healthcare education.
Immunodominance demonstration Self contained electronic equipment that demonstrates immunodominance using interactive equipment.
Crops, critters and climate change The world is going through changes in population size and climate like it has never seen before. To feed the world food production needs to increase by 50% within less than 20 years. How are we going to do this? This exhibition brings together the different aspects of our research which work together to help meet this goal. Come and find out about the food we eat and where it comes from, what climate change is doing to the planet, the insects and bugs that affect our food, and the crops that will feed the world in the future. Make your own critters, send rice to Asia by playing a game, and go home with a bag of seed for your windowsill or garden
Laminar flow demonstration Self contained equipment that demonstrates laminar flow on the macro scale using food dye and corn syrup.
Using copper to fight ‘superbugs’ and norovirus / what happens if you don't wash your hands. Contamination of hard surfaces with bacteria and viruses can spread infection. There will be a demonstration about the laboratory work done at Southampton that has shown bacteria and viruses die or are inactivated on copper surfaces and how this is now being investigated in clinical trials. There are items on display including a keyboard, pen, stethoscope, door handles, light switches and taps made of copper alloys. There will be a test for anyone who wants to see how well they wash their hands and how they can transfer disease-causing microorganisms (using non-toxic hand-washing dyes as an example) to other surfaces without even realising.
Cracking the code – making proteins from the instruction book of life The human genome is the instruction book that makes us who we are, but how do cells decode this information? Find out how cells use the information in the genome to produce thousands of different proteins. Come and meet scientists working on protein synthesis and discover: - How the 4 letters of DNA are translated into the 20 amino acids that make proteins - How fast the ribosomes, the protein synthesis factories in the cell, can translate the information. Can you keep up? - How different signals from around the body can control how well a cell makes proteins; and what can happen when this goes wrong - Why changes in protein synthesis can help us to remember - How research in Southampton is showing how changes in the way information is decoded are expanding our view of the human genome
Light, Colour & Luminescence You’ve all seen ‘Finding Nemo’ and the fish that glows in the dark but have you wondered how he does this? Here we will look at things that ‘glow in the dark’ and explain how the materials do this. We look at how the temperature can affect the intensity of the brightness and why this can be useful. From glowing rocks to TV phosphors and light sticks, and even glow in the dark bacteria – we’ll help you see the light
The Annual Paper Bridge Building Challenge Our exhibit will help demonstrate some of the fundamental principles of construction faced by Civil Engineers in their day-to-day activities. Using 4 pieces of A4 paper and 1 metre of sellotape, you will be able to construct a bridge to span a 40cm gap and see how much weight it can take ….. using Mars Bars! See if you can beat the record! We need more young people to become Civil Engineers, to help generate energy from natural resources, to prevent our infrastructure from flooding and to design better transport networks as well as constructing innovative and sustainable buildings. Could this be you? Visit us to test out your bridge building skills, find out more about Civil Engineering and what courses we offer at the University of Southampton.
Ligthwave - Light in science and technology We [the Optoelectronics Reseach Centre’s Postgraduate Student Chapter] will be bringing to you hands-on experiments to discover how light is used in science and technology. Discover the secrets of visible light by playing with prisms and filters. Learn about how data (telephone, video and messages) are sent around the world and allow us to communicate the way we do today. Play with mirrors and lenses, find out how the human eye works and how our brain can be fooled by optical illusions. Everyone welcome for a day fun and practical science
Sound Explorer Sound is at the heart of music and other media and is important to us in many ways, including for communication and understanding the world around us. In this activity, visitors will be able to explore the nature of sound in different ways, discover visual representations of sound and be able to process and play back sounds in different ways.
Transport and Technology A transport system is one of the most complicated systems in the world. For the system to work with maximum efficiently and minimum environmental impact all the infrastructure, vehicles and travellers must interact smoothly. This activity explores how technology helps keep the transport system running and helps keep people safe as they travel around.
Why do our eyes trick us? Interactive puzzles showing how our eyes trick us everyday
Virtual Instruments : Virtual Control Studies in acoustics have allowed computers to simulate in real-time the basic behaviours of musical objects such as strings, plates and tubes. These “virtual acoustic” instruments can be difficult to play with traditional electronic keyboards, and alternative methods of control are being explored at the University of Southampton. In this demonstration visitors will be able to control virtual instruments without any physical contact with the computer.
The Story of Ships Lloyd's Register Interactive Display A selection of interactive displays which will demonstrate various aspects of ship design and safety. - Does how you load cargo affect how a ship floats? - Can you make a rattleback turn in both directions? - Can you get the diver to pick up the treasure at the bottom of the bottle? Plus many more interesting problems to solve.
High Altitude Ballooning and Rocketry The University of Southampton Spaceflight Society is a student run team with an ambition to reach Space. Using High Altitude Balloons we have travelled into the stratosphere, however, we are developing a Hybrid Rocket engine to push even higher! This activity will show off the technology we have developed to launch and retrieve our payloads, along with videos and photos of the Earth we captured from near-space. There will also be designs and computer renders for the hybrid rocked
Planets, Particles, Plasma Physics students from the UoS student physics society and outreach team will be demonstrating how a plasma ball works and helps us understand the science of stars and plasma. There will also be creative activities for children. Planets: the basics of planetary science, what our neighbouring planets are probably made of, and the chance to make a rock/gas planet using balloons and other materials. Particles: an attempt to demonstrate simple particle physics using pompoms and pipe cleaners.
Confucius The members from Confucius Institute will demonstrate how to use a brush to do the Chinese calligraphy, explain the meaning of some characters, write the children’s names in Chinese, and do paper folding with the children.
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust We will provide information, literature and wildlife displays about the Hampshire & IOW 48 Nature Reserves. We also have information about wildlife gardening, how to get involved and how to support us through volunteering and membership.
Meet Erica The interactive Rhino
Other things to see
Activity Details
V2G: Electric vehicles and the grid Electric Vehicle (EV) technologies are reshaping the automotive industry. How will this sea-change affect electric energy networks in the UK and elsewhere? Visit the V2G stand to find out about our EV research projects – explore our experimental EV or download our app to take part in our battery management system for a day.
Railway Research Lab We are a leading UK centre for research into railway infrastructure, working with Network Rail, High Speed 1 and 2, train makers and operators, and other universities around the world. Recent bad weather has shown the vulnerability of UK railways to infrastructure failures. Watch and join in experiments and interactive demonstrations showing our research and some fundamental science.
Visit our acoustic test chambers A room that is 'anechoic' is designed to prevent reflections of sound from its walls, floor and ceiling - here at Southampton we have one of the largest anechoic chambers in the UK. Experience the effect and find out how this room and its neighbouring reverberation chambers are used in our research.
Camera Obscura Come and see the Camera Obscura
Shows on at Science day
Activity Details
ACCELERATE An hour-long interactive presentation giving an overview of the largest experiment in the world: The LHC (Large Hadron Collider) situated at CERN in Geneva. Show was adapted from The presentation includes why particle physics is a fascinating subject, what challenges are faced at the LHC and how it all fits into the larger picture of our understanding of physics.
Light Express Roadshow lecture The Light Express features a dazzling laser light display created by powerful lasers not generally seen outside research labs. The show includes a series of fascinating visual demonstrations exploring the physics of light and its many applications; from cutting and burning in medicine and manufacturing; to transmitting data at CERN and via the internet. Audience: The show is suitable for visitors 5 years and up (it includes loud noise and flashing lights so might not be suitable for a younger audience). Safety announcement: The show includes a strobe effect for the first and last 3 minutes of the show.
Spaceship Earth We fly though space at thousands of miles an hour on the surface of a planetary spaceship. We may not be able to steer this spaceship (which is just as well because we don't want to crash into the Sun!) but we are able to change some important properties that we and all life on Earth depends on. Find out how by coming to this talk that will feature rocket videos, experiments, and the opportunity to try on SCUBA diving kit.
Science Magic…Magic Science with Ian B Dunne This science show has mystery, suspense and laughs
Vegetable orchestra Come and make instruments out of vegetables
Astrodome Come and have a tour of the stars in the astrodome
Times and locations of activities
Start time Finish time Show/Activity Booking Room Building Follow footprints
10:45 11:45 Vegetable Orchestra Online pre-bookings only* E1001 Building 67 Blue
10:45 11:45 Accelerate Show Just turn up Lecture Theatre C Building 46 Yellow
10:50 11:40 The Southampton Astrodome Online pre-bookings only* Seminar room Building 46 Yellow
11:00 12:00 Science Magic…Magic Science with Ian B Dunne Just turn up Lecture Theatre 1027 Building 67 Blue
11:00 11:45 Spaceship Earth with James Dyke Just turn up Lecture Theatre B Building 46 Yellow
11:40 12:30 The Southampton Astrodome Book at Welcome Desk in Student Union Seminar room Building 46 Yellow
11:45 12:30 Light Express - laser light show Just turn up Lecture Theatre A Building 46 Yellow
12:00 13:00 Vegetable Orchestra Book at Welcome Desk in Student Union E1001 Building 67 Blue
12:30 13:30 Science Magic…Magic Science with Ian B Dunne Just turn up Lecture Theatre 1027 Building 67 Blue
12:30 13:30 The Southampton Astrodome Online pre-bookings only* Seminar room Building 46 Yellow
12:45 13:45 Accelerate Show Just turn up Lecture Theatre C Building 46 Yellow
13:15 14:15 Vegetable Orchestra Online pre-bookings only* E1001 Building 67 Blue
13:15 14:00 Light Express - laser light show Just turn up Lecture Theatre A Building 46 Yellow
14:00 15:00 Science Magic…Magic Science with Ian B Dunne Just turn up Lecture Theatre 1027 Building 67 Blue
13:30 14:20 The Southampton Astrodome Book at Welcome Desk in Student Union Seminar room Building 46 Yellow
14:20 15:10 The Southampton Astrodome Online pre-bookings only* Seminar room Building 46 Yellow
14:30 15:30 Vegetable Orchestra Book at Welcome Desk in Student Union E1001 Building 67 Blue
14:45 15:30 Light Express - laser light show Just turn up Lecture Theatre A Building 46 Yellow
15:00 15:45 Spaceship Earth with James Dyke Just turn up Lecture Theatre B Building 46 Yellow
15:00 16:00 Accelerate Show Just turn up Lecture Theatre C Building 46 Yellow
15:10 16:00 The Southampton Astrodome Book at Welcome Desk in Student Union Seminar room Building 46 Yellow
15:30 16:30 Science Magic…Magic Science with Ian B Dunne Just turn up Lecture Theatre 1027 Building 67 Blue

*Places may be available on the day. Please check at the Welcome Desk.