THOUSANDS of youngsters, their parents and teachers, plus members of the public flocked to the University of Huddersfield for a spectacular event that showcased the full span of its research in science, technology and the arts.
For the second year in succession, the University was one of the few centres in the UK to receive EU funding to host an event on European Researchers’ Night, which takes place annually in hundreds of venues across Europe.
At Huddersfield, the event was titled “full STEAM ahead” – a reference to the fact that it featured research in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.
In 2016, the attendance neared 3,000, and in 2017 this figure was topped. There had been 2,000 prior registrations, and at least 1,000 showed up on the night, meaning the campus was packed with visitors as they made their way between the sessions that sparked their interest.
Visitor numbers were up, and so was the number of workshops, demonstrations and talks. There were more than 50 of them, covering an immense variety of topics, ranging from synthesisers to super rats, computers to chemistry and dinosaurs to DNA.
Feedback was excellent with many visitors hoping for an equivalent event in future years
Visitors could enter the Vortex – a spectacular sound installation that featured live music filtered through enormous steel-air ducts and cones. On a smaller scale, they had the chance to rediscover the special qualities of vinyl records, or sample Indian Bhangra music and dance.
The many science topics included colour chemistry, the use of molecules in developing a cure for cancer and the secret world of microbes. There was a live virtual tour of the famous CERN facility and an exploration of human evolution.
In addition to workshops and sessions devised and hosted by members of the University of Huddersfield’s academic staff – and guests from other regional universities – several postgraduate research students also had the chance to showcase their work.
Collaborators included West Yorkshire Police, who joined University criminologists for a session titled “Billy the Burglar” that investigated home security issues. And West Yorkshire Fire Service brought one of their engines on to the campus, so that youngsters could be shown how to laser scan the vehicle and produce a 3D miniature replica to take home.
During a session titled Falling Walls Lab, researchers and entrepreneurs from universities around the country had the opportunity to outline their work and ideas in the course of short presentations, before a panel of expert judges. Topics included tobacco use, anti-biotic resistance and rail vehicle wheel wear.
Schools throughout the region entered competitions to design special lab coats, take photographs and write poems on the STEAM themes. Examples of their work were on display and at the finale of European Researchers Night the competition winners, from seven schools, were announced. Prizes included Amazon vouchers.
European Researchers' Night 2017