Tag Archive for: events

Maker Faire UK 2017 announced

It’s baaa-aaaaack!

The greatest show (and tell) on Earth is returning to Newcastle with Maker Faire UK 2017, April 1st-2nd. It’s the biggest, loudest, most ridiculous and longest-running event of its kind in the UK. More than 300 makers, hackers, crafters, coders, artists and inventors from across the globe come together at the Centre for Life to showcase what they do, run workshops and activities, and generally loon around in the name of expressing themselves through things they make.

Think Physics built a magnificent pendulum wave sound sculpture for the 2015 Faire, which was accidentally chucked in a skip during renovation works at the University this year. Oops. This year we showed the Technology Wishing Well, which all worked for the first time about three minutes after the Faire opened. Both years we ran the beautiful Light Wall activity. What will we do for 2017? Watch this space!

Better still, sign up to the mailing list at the Maker Faire UK website, block out that first weekend of April in your diary, book your tickets as soon as they’re available, and – best of all – think whether you or your school have projects you could showcase yourselves, attending as fellow Makers. There’ll be a Call for proposals via the website soon.

Want to get a better idea of what the Faire’s about? A few years ago I filmed Make magazine founder Dale Dougherty as he took a wander while it was still quiet on the Sunday:

Calendar updates

If you’ve not visited our calendar of upcoming events recently, now would be a good time. We’ve added a bunch of stuff for the term ahead, from ourselves and others. Right now, we’re taking bookings for an excellent programme of lectures aimed at sixth form students, Physics Matters!, and we’re shortly kicking off the second year of our networking and support programme for girls studying physics, Physics Connect.

We add to the calendar whenever we come across something we think you might find useful or interesting, so do keep an eye on it!

Go Ballistic! winners at Big Bang North East

Phew! We’re slowly recovering from a couple of crazy days at the Big Bang North East. We spun patterns and collected hopes and dreams for future tech with the Technology Wishing Well; explored the universe with our space-themed show; and launched ping pong balls with hundreds of catapults in our Go Ballistic! workshop.

We had about 18 booked groups through the workshop, and managed to squeeze in a few more schools too. We’re sorry if we had to turn you away, we were crazily popular. Apart from anything else, there are no more decent plastic spoons to be had anywhere in central Newcastle. We bought (and used) them all!

So here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the grand reveal of the final standings on the leaderboard:

Click the image to see it larger, but here’s the leading portion of results of 4m and above:

  • Longest distance achieved: Royal Institution, 5.80m. However, see below!
  • Gosforth East Middle School (yr. 7): 5.00m (secondary winner!)
  • Academy 360 (yr. 8): 4.80m
  • Monkwearmouth (yr. 7), Washington (yr. 8): both 4.65m
  • Monkseaton Middle School (yr. 6), Bede Academy (6JRA): 4.40m (joint primary winners!)
  • Farringdon: 4.40m
  • Gosforth East Middle School (yr. 6): 4.30m
  • Heworth Grange: 4.10m
  • Southlands A: 4.00m
Emma King RI catapult

Dr. Emma J King of the Royal Institution with her redesigned catapult, which achieved a throw of 5.80m from a single elastic band.

Congratulations to the entrant from the Royal Institution in London, Emma J King, pictured left. Emma’s throw of 5.80m was the longest we saw on the day. The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that her catapult design was dramatically different to anyone else’s, but you’ll also notice that Emma isn’t quite a school student. In fact she has a PhD in physics, and neither we nor she thought it was entirely fair to count her remarkable score against everyone else’s. Hence: she’s disqualified.

Our Secondary winners therefore remain Gosforth East Middle School (yr. 7), who landed a remarkable 5.00m to huge jubilation around the launching table. Academy 360 (yr. 8) were worthy runners-up, spending over an hour trying all manner of different approaches to eek out the next twenty centimetres they needed. Valiant determination!

Sterling performances also from Monkwearmouth yr. 7s and Washington yr. 8s, both groups with impressive bests of 4.65m.

Snapping at their heels were our joint Primary winners Monkseaton Middle School (yr. 6) and Bede Academy (class 6JRA), both at 4.40m.

We’ll be sending both primary and secondary winners suitable trophies, just as soon as they’ve emerged from our 3D printers.

Well done all, and our thanks for your enthusiasm and ideas. We had a blast running the workshop, and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. One of my favourite moments was when a chap from the Army was standing nearby for a good half hour, watching a couple of groups develop, test, and iterate. I wandered over and invited him to make his own catapult. “Not a chance,” he said, “I wouldn’t get close to what this lot are doing, and I’d never live that down: I’m Royal Artillery.”

Wise man.

British Science Week. That’s all for now, folks!

Each March, British Science Week celebrates the awesomeness of science, technology, engineering and maths. Over this year’s week, from 11th – 18th March, Think Physics joined in the fun by opening up specially-designed workshops and lectures to schools from across the North East. The result was a fantastically action-packed and rewarding week of workshops. We had Key Stage 2 students making Incredible Machines and Key Stages 3 and 4 investigating Rollercoaster Physics.

In Incredible Machines, pupils explored the simple mechanisms of gears and linkages and made their own machines from cardboard and paper fastners. The workshop invited children to look at the role of engineers in designing and creating machines which help shape the world around us.

In Rollercoaster Physics, pupils got hands-on with rollercoasters, building their own K’nex test track and using data loggers to measure the speed of a golf ball as it looped-the-loop. Would its speed match the predictions of the physics?

It was a pleasure to deliver workshops to schools including:
Corpus Christi Primary, Wellfield Middle, Stephenson Memorial Primary, Monkseaton Middle, Marden High, Burradon Community Primary, Southridge First, West Jesmond Primary, The Drive Community Primary and Usworth Colliery Primary.

We did not stop there, though. Oh, no. We ended the week with Physics in Perspective, a half-day of talks and discussions combining physics lectures and STEM careers information. We were delighted to welcome Professor Danielle George, a former pupil of Kenton School, who is now Professor in Microwave Communication Engineering at the University of Manchester and was the brilliant host of the 2014 Ri Christmas Lectures Sparks will Fly: How to Hack your Home. Danielle talked about the new rules of invention and showed participants how to use modern tools and technologies to have fun, transform everyday items and make a difference in the world. We were also joined by Northumbria University’s very own Dr. Rodrigo Ledesma-Aguilar who illustrated how nature has evolved some of the cleverest solutions to everyday problems by building “soft matter” structures. Exploration of these natural solutions is inspiring cutting-edge technological developments: bio-inspired smart materials.

We rounded off the day with a careers panel, where pupils had the opportunity to learn about the variety of pathways open those who study physics at A-Level, and to ask questions of the panel (Candace Adams from QuantuMDx, Paul Casson from Macaw Engineering and Danielle George).

Half term with Think Physics

At a loose end over half term? We’ve got you covered.

Think Physics is out and about around Newcastle for three days during the week:

Keep up-to-date with public events around the region from ourselves and others with our events calendar. We’re posting new stuff there all the time.

Last Week, in Think Physics…

[you’ll have to imagine one of us reading this first line with some dramatic music playing in the background]

Previously, in Think Physics…

ESTEC space capsule-1650

Something suitably spacey-looking from Joe’s trip to ESTEC, as part of the UNAWE meeting.

Joe was in The Netherlands last week for the UNAWE Workshops – a worldwide primary space education conference. Hosted at Leiden University, with delegates from more than 25 countries, he reports excellent lunches and some useful ideas. We’ll twist his arm to write something more extensive soon.

Less internationally, I was at an Enterprising Science workshop in London, hosted by the Science Museum and King’s College. Lots of useful nuggets and discussions, and a trip around the utterly fabulous new Cosmonauts exhibition. I may have geeked out just a little over the Soviet-era LK-3 lunar lander that’s on display. Sadly, no photography allowed.

Back home in Newcastle, we’ve now held the first two sessions of our sell-out Royal Institution Engineering Masterclasses:

…and we had an excellent turn-out for the first of our Physics Matters! lecture series:

Free tickets are still available for the rest of the series – starting with Biophysics this Thursday evening.

Speaking of events, don’t miss our calendar – we’ve been adding loads of stuff to it. Upcoming highlights include our A-level Physics teachers’ network meeting on 18th November, astronaut Chris Hadfield at the Centre for Life a few days earlier, and Edinburgh Fringe sensation Festival of the Spoken Nerd at Northern Stage on 30th October.

Otherwise, we’ve been fielding calls and requests and meetings with loads of our partner schools, nailing down the details of what we’re going to be up to for the rest of the year. It’s busy!

A cake, this afternoon.

A cake, this afternoon.

Finally, and of critical importance, this week has started fantastically well: project director Carol brought in a cake.

[back to the dramatic voiceover]

And now, Think Physics continues…

Upcoming Events!

Be sure to check out our nifty new Upcoming Events calendar, handily linked from the main menu of every page across the site. We’ll be filling it with a range of stuff we’re doing but also events from project partners, or that we think you might find interesting.

For example, this Wednesday the North-East branch of the Institute of Physics are hosting a free lecture on computer visualisation in archaeology, then next week our very own lecture series Physics Matters! kicks off. There are five events, all free to attend, and if you come to all of them you’ll be eligible for a coach trip to the Kielder Observatory for an evening of stargazing.

We’ll keep the calendar up-to-date, so keep checking back – and book your tickets for Physics Matters!

Yellow Giant Exhibition

Yellow Giant is an exhibition by Helen Schell.  Inspired by the Sun and Space, Helen uses optical illusions to express phenomena of space.

In creating the artwork for this exhibition, Helen has worked with solar physicists, Dr Gert Botha, Dr Stephane Regnier from Northumbria University, and Dr Helen Mason from Cambridge University.

The exhibition is open from 10 September – 3 October 2015,

Gallery Opening times Wed – Sat,  12-5pm.

The exhibition is being held at Vane Gallery, First Floor Commercial House, 39 Pilgrim St, Newcastle

Events for adults and families.

Saturday 12 September 2-4pm
Beyond Yellow

Presentations and discussions with Dr Gert Botha and Dr Stephane Regnier (Northumbria University Solar Group), Helen Schell, Richard Talbot (Head of Fine Art, Newcastle University), Dr Helen Mason (Sun|trek, Cambridge University) and Dr Carol Davenport (Think Physics, Northumbria University)

Saturday, 3 October 2-4pm
Our Dynamic Sun

Solar physics for families: presentation with Dr Helen Mason and family workshop with Helen Schell

 

These events are free, but please book a place by contacting the gallery at
info@vane.org.uk or telephone 0191 261 8281

 

 

 

The Wonders of the Sun

Solar Eclipse and Physics in Perspective

We’ve had a predictably hectic first British Science Week here in Think Lab and around the region. We’ll catch up with reporting next week once we’ve had a bit of a lie down in a darkened room, but speaking of darkened: you might have noticed the solar eclipse this morning.

We were out on the Northumbria campus greeting sixth-form and college students arriving for our Physics in Perspective enrichment event. Here are a few snapshots from the morning – during and after the eclipse.

Tag Archive for: events

Think Week 2015

Think Week 2015

Monday & Tuesday


Monday began as all good Mondays should: with a newspaper tower building competition. Our twenty-one Think Weekers met their group for the first time and came up with some inventive group names: The Botanists, The Test Monkeys, Team Lightning and The Physics Thinkers.

The tallest towers stood over 2m high and were able to support the mass of our daring plastic pig!

During the afternoon, we met our pet Spheros. These robotic spheres are controlled using iPads, and we built four intricate mazes which we then expertly navigated them around.

We delved further into the world of robotics on Tuesday and used Arduinos, servos, musical instruments and a mountain of glue to create a robotic orchestra.

In the afternoon, we explored the world of 3D design using TinkerCad. You can see our designs at our TinkerCad page.



Wednesday


I can think of nothing better to do on a Wednesday in July than visit the Centre for Life – so that’s just what we did.

We explored Life from top to bottom: we played on retro computer games and struggled with exactly how to hold the N64 controller in the Game On 2.0 exhibition. We watched the stars turn above our heads in the Planetarium. We discovered the wonderful world of spinning physics in the Science Show. We also learned how to use microscopes and pipettes in the Experiment Zone.

All in all, it was a fantastic day – we all marched back to Think Lab with huge smiles on our faces.

Thursday


On Thursday morning we explored the world of optics, using lenses to create camera obscuras and mirrors to make periscopes.

Our camera obscuras allowed us project an image onto a small screen inside a cardboard box. We also tried out some big camera obscuras too. By lunchtime we were able to look above, behind and all around with our adjustable periscopes.

During the afternoon we left the world of physics behind and headed into Exhibition Park for a spot of minibeast hunting. We used pooters and quadrats to search for and collect a wonderful variety of different minibeasts. Take a look at the gallery to see what we found. We also used USB microscopes to get up close and personal with the various bugs, beetles, worms and spiders we found.



Friday


Our last day!

Our morning was filled with Bubble Science. In the lab, we learned all about surface tension by dropping water onto pennies and creating milk fireworks. We blew some huge bubbles inside bubbles (inside bubbles inside bubbles…). We discovered antibubbles and made some of our own. Finally we went outside to blow some gigantic bubbles using our super-secret bubble mixture (recipe to the right) and bubble wands.

Forces and friction filled our afternoon and we designed and tested plasticine submarines. We learned the difference between static and kinetic friction and now know all about the Bloodhound Land Speed Record car.

We finished Think Week with some brilliant presentations to parents. Think Week was a fantastic success and the children were brilliant. Keep your eyes on the Think Physics website for more exciting opportunities.


Our not-top-secret-because-we-got-it-from-somewhere-else giant bubble recipe

5g Guar Gum

200ml Fairy Liquid (Original)

16g Baking Powder

4 litres of cold water

Mix the Guar Gum and the Fairy Liquid in a large bucket then gently add 4 litres of cold water. Stir the solution and add the baking powder. Next, go outside and blow some huge bubbles. Then tweet pictures of your bubbles to @thinkphysicsne

This recipe comes from NightHawkInLight. You can find his bubbles videos on YouTube here.