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Public Engagement

At Public Engagement events we bring fun, hands-on science experiments to public places, in order to engage people of all ages.

Get personal with your 100 trillion microbiome friends

As part of: British Science Week and Cambridge Science Festival 2017

Date and time: 11 March 2017, 12pm - 4pm

Location: Grafton Centre, Cambridge, UK

Free! Drop in anytime!

Science Buskers Light up Your Knowledge

As part of: British Science Week and Cambridge Science Festival 2015

Date and time: 14 March 2015, 10am - 4pm

Location: Grafton Centre, Cambridge, UK

Free! Drop in anytime!


As part of: Big Biology Day 2014  

Date and time: 18 Oct 2014, 10am - 4pm

Location: Hills Road Sixth Form College

Free! Drop in anytime!

Norfolk Street Festival on 21 June 2014 

Museums at Night: Science Tasting Evening

Date: Friday 16 May, 6pm - 8pm
Location: The Polar Museum, 18+ Only

Cleanse your palette for an evening of science tasting at the polar museum. A night where you can find out about current polar science in stand up style, try out science experiments yourself and be entertained by our science buskers!
Science While You Shop
8 March 2014 from 10am-4pm
Grafton Centre, Cambridge
As part of the Cambridge Science Festival and National Science and Engineering Week we spent a day demonstrating on the theme of Patterns and Structures to passers-by in the Grafton Shopping Centre. Experiments included: secret art, paper chromatography, DNA model-making and fruit DNA extraction, optical illusions and more besides. The event attracted a lot of publicity as the run-up to the Science Festival as well as lots of eager volunteers (thank you to you all).
You can also read write-ups of the event on the News Page.
Big Biology Day
12 October 2013 from 10am-4pm
Hills Road College, Cambridgeshire
Our volunteers extracted DNA from fruit, compared their intelligence to animals and many more fun hands-on experiments and demonstrations for participants of all ages.

Royston Arts Festival 2013: Small@Greneway

28 September 2013 from 1-4pm
Royston, Cambridgeshire

The colour chromatography to separate marker dyes was a huge success at the Royston event. Combining pictures from the Welcome Trust collection with those of active sceintists and microscopy of bugs and seeds was appreciated by the families who visited us. Cornflour properties and the magnetism of small iron filings also drew a crowd of interested participants, some found it hard to leave the draw of the cornflour experiment! Thanks to all the volunteers for their time and effort to make the event such a success!

Cottenham Fen Edge Family Festival 2013

23 June 2013 from 1-5pm
Cottenham, Cambridgeshire

We had an enthusiastic response from those who tried their hands on experiments with us at the Cottenham Fen Edge Family Festival. We spent the past few months working on several experiments for the event at our branch's experimental evenings in Cambridge. Our hard work was rewarded by the hundreds of excited faces of children and adults that stopped by our table. Thanks to all the volunteers who worked to make this event possible.

Norfolk Street Summer Event 2013

22 June 2013 from 2-5pm
Norfolk Street, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Volunteers enjoyed their time busking and demonstrating experiments at the Petersfield Area Community Trust Summer Event on Norfolk Street. While the secret art and potato under pressure experiments were huge hits with the younger participants, those a bit older were engaged with the microscope views of bugs, feathers and seeds as well as the disappearing bowl demonstration. We even had the chance to demonstrate the disappearing bowl to the Major of Cambridge, Councillor Paul Saunders, who mentioned us on Cambridge Radio 105 at 35:20. Then, we had a chance to discuss our experiments on 105. Listen from 37:00 to 39:00 to hear about our busking on the radio!

National Science and Engineering Week 2011

March 12th, 2011
Grafton Centre, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

As part of National Science and Engineering Week, we organised another Science Busking event in the Grafton Centre based around the NSEW theme of Communication.

Peterborough Shopping Center
31st January 2011, 10am-4pm [flyer]
Queensgate Shopping Centre, Peterborough

'Be amazed by exciting experiments in your very own shopping centre! Come along and get involved.'

Cambridge Shopping Center

6th November 2010, 1-5 pm
Grafton Centre, Cambridge

In the middle of the Saturday afternoon bustle at the Grafton Centre, shoppers were greeted by enthusiastic scientists sharing their knowledge with the public.  Using hands-on experiments, volunteers from the newly formed Cambridgeshire branch of the British Science Association, Cambridge Hands-on Science, and the Cambridge Association for Women in Science and Engineering spent the afternoon explaining the scientific basis for glow sticks, submarines, sunglasses, and other common objects and experiences.  The science volunteers came from a wide range of backgrounds, encompassing undergraduates, doctoral students, researchers, school teachers, science writers, and consultants. The volunteers actively took the experiments out into the crowds of shoppers and encouraged the public to explore the science further with additional table-based experiments.

Enthusiastic responses were received from shoppers of all ages, keeping the volunteers busily engaged with science questions and discussions throughout the afternoon.  One teenager commented, "whoever puts the time into doing this for the public are good".  “Really good!” and “that’s amazing” said adult shoppers.  A nine year old child responded that they "really enjoyed it", while a ten year old child commented on the "awesome facts".   The ability to reach a broad spectrum of the public, explained organiser Katia Smith-Litière, was a key aspect to locating the event in a busy shopping centre.  Another organiser Carol Stanier mentioned, “we wanted to reach as many people from different walks of life as possible, and to show that science pops up in places you might not expect."

The science busking proved both fun and informative, bringing science concepts to the public with enthusiasm and hands-on experiments.  The success of this first event has laid the foundation for additional science busking events throughout the Cambridgeshire region.  The region’s shoppers can look forward to scientists bringing their knowledge out to the public in the coming year.

We are always on the lookout for new volunteers to help plan and run our events, so why not contact us and get involved?