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Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Record attendance at Ocean and Earth Day 2012

Over 3,000 visitors came to this year’s Ocean and Earth Day, an annual open day that presents expertise from the University and National Oceanography Centre to members of the general public, aimed at improving understanding and engagement with ocean and Earth sciences.

Held at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton on 17th March, visitors to Ocean and Earth Day had the opportunity to learn about the role oceans play in the Earth's climate, the impact of mankind on its delicate ecosystems, and to see the world-leading technology that is used to explore and understand our oceans and surrounding geology.

Dr Gareth Dyke, Senior Lecturer and one of the event organisers, says: "Around 3,000 people passed through the building during the day  - a new record! We are so pleased to have the opportunity to show the local community some of the important science that takes place at the Centre, and to inspire the next generation of ocean and Earth scientists."

Demonstrating underwater technology

Working with staff from the Centre, over 50 current Ocean and Earth Science students took part in the event, talking to members of the public about the work and research they are undertaking as part of their degree programme, and running interactive demonstrations and activities for children, to encourage interest in science from an early age. Marine biology students manned the aquarium which included a series of touch tanks for children to explore, oceanography students demonstrated an underwater vehicle, and geology and geophysics students helped visitors take a closer look at fossils and rock formations on display.

The event also provided the opportunity for A-level pupils who might be interested in studying an ocean or earth science at degree level, to find out more about the subject by talking to current students doing degrees at Ocean and Earth Science.

Chloe Smith, first year Oceanography with Marine Biology student, helped at the event and says: "The day was a brilliant experience - the best bit was talking to potential students. Sharing my knowledge of my course helped them to understand what to expect, and I hope encouraged them to consider Southampton in the coming years. I also learnt a lot about how things are run and what it takes to organise an event like Ocean and Earth day, which I think will be really useful for future employment."

Inspiring young scientists

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