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Monday, 24 November 2014

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West Cumbria Science Festival underway

THE West Cumbria Science Festival 2011 kicks off this month, and from presentations to workshops and lectures – there is sure to be something for everyone.

Working with a science and engineering-based partners, the Samuel Lindow Foundation has designed a programme to capture the imagination of both school children and adults.

The events started on June 22 and will be rolled out until July 15.

Support has come from partner organisations including Sellafield Ltd, National Nuclear Laboratory, Institute of Mechanical Engineers, the Nuclear Institute, the REACT Foundation, Lakes College, University of Central Lancashire and Starchaser to name a few.

The festival has been designed to highlight the accessibility of science, engineering and technology events to people right on their doorstep.

The opening event on June 22 – Basking in the Sunshine: A New Encounter with our Closest Star – saw a presentation by Dr Robert Walsh, reader in solar astrophysics and director of research at the University of Central Lancashire.

Dr Walsh tracked the flow of energy from the nuclear reactions at the heart of the star right down to the terrestrial environment.

The second event on June 23, at Energus, saw the Institute of Mechanical Engineer’s annual dinner – one of three events run by the institute during the festival. The guest speaker, former land speed record holder Richard Noble OBE, handed out awards to the area’s best mechanical engineering students.

A full-scale replica of the 1,000mph Bloodhound SSC car was also on display.

The same day played host to the institute’s Girls in Engineering event – the first of its kind in West Cumbria. A full day of engineering activities, case studies and careers advice was laid on for around 100 female students by some of the area’s leading female engineers.

Future events include Decommissioning – Shutdown to Site Clearance on June 28; Harnessing Radiation, delivered by the Royal Society of Chemistry; and The Distance Between Dreams and Reality: the future of space exploration, delivered by the Institute of Physics – both on June 29.

Lakes College will become the next venue for the Browse Science event on June 30. The college will open its doors to people to take part in up to 15 activities including the likes of traffic light reaction, radiation decontamination and small solar panel devices.

A highlight of the festival will see a giant inflatable planetarium set up at the college on July 1, for local schools. Research astronomer from York University, Martin Lunn will bring the planetarium to give children an insight into the night sky which they will experience inside the inflatable dome.

A unique event on the History of Aerial Weaponry and Cumbria’s Place in Scientific and Engineering History, will be held in the Samuel Lindow building on Westlakes Science Park, July 11. The evening lecture, by managing director of the Solway Aviation Museum David Price, will explore the history of aerial weaponry and show how Cumbria led the way in military science over the years.

July 12 will prove a popular event in the festival’s calendar with the Nuclear Institute Schools Bursary Competition 2011. Now in its fourth year students from local schools and firms, who are due to go to university in September, will compete for a bursary from the institute to help them in their studies. It will include a series of presentations and interviews on a range of topics from the students which will be judged by a panel which will then chose a bursary winner.

July 13 and 14 will be some of the busiest days of the festival with the National Nuclear Laboratory and Sellafield Ltd holding a Water Rocket Challenge at St Benedict’s School. Pupils will build a rocket from recycled plastic bottles, a tennis ball and duct tape.

To round off the festival Samuel Lindow building will play host to Nuclear Institute Young Speakers Competition 2011, on July 14. Run in association with the Nuclear Institute’s Young Generation Network, the event provides an opportunity for young people to speak on a subject of their choice. The winner will be put through to the national final.

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