Pictured left: Cameron Taylor showing off the laser demo to a guest. Pictured right: Kaylyn Snelgrove and Churk Chung teaching children how to make their paper lanterns and circuits.
On July 15th, over 5,000 visitors from across the Northwest gathered at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory for an awe-inspiring science extravaganza!
Sponsored by IBM and Eviden, this was the National Labs’ first major public event on any STFC site in 7 years. It brought together a display of not only the scientific endeavours of Daresbury Laboratory (DL), but also of Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), UKATC and Boulby Underground Laboratory.
With the aim to engage the range of audiences expected at the Open Day and the 2 School Days, the CLF put together a section which displayed an impressive 2-metre-long laser mirror demo and a hands-on activity that combined art and STEM. Visitors could make their own paper lantern complete with a working light made from a paper circuit. Posters displayed fun laser facts and information about the CLF, and a large screen displayed a looping animation of a laser pulse travelling through Vulcan. As souvenirs of the event, guests were invited to take home postcards with laser-themed facts and illustrations.
Pictured left: Paper a paper lantern under construction. Pictured right: Some school children deciding which postcards to take home.
Led by the CLF’s Impact and Engagement officer Helen Towrie, the Open Day team consisted of the CLF’s communications Industrial Placement student Kaylyn Snelgrove, Mechanical Design Engineer Cameron Taylor, and Graduate Mechanical Design Engineer Churk Chung. After hours of setup the night before and the morning of the event, the team of 4 dove headfirst into engaging with the public about the wonders of scientific lasers, how they work and what we can do with them.
Success of the exhibition could be seen from the numerous families walking around with their “laser lanterns” and the complete depletion of the postcards by noon. Additionally, feedback from our location (which included all exhibits in the Visitor Centre) was overwhelmingly positive.
Mark Leese, Senior Network Engineer and Area Manager for the Visitor Centre on the Open Day, said about the exhibit:
“There were just four volunteers from CLF in my area at the Open Day, but they somehow kept a constant stream of children interested in science all day. I’m still not sure how!
The paper lanterns activity was very popular, and it was fantastic to see the children hanging on the volunteer’s every word and concentrating hard despite all the other exciting distractions in the area.
And who doesn’t love a good laser demo? Especially when it’s been created in-house for such events.”
The CLF was just one of over 250 meticulously designed activities, and we were pleased to have been given the opportunity represent laser science on the first Open Day in nearly a decade.
From left to right: Cameron, Kaylyn and Churk showing off the laser demo in the Wonder Marquee on the second School Day.
Thank you to all: The CLF team, the CLF staff who helped prepare the laser demo, the RAL and DL Public Engagement teams, and to the Transport team – you all made our exhibition possible!