Be Curious 2018

The University is hosting a free, family-friendly event on Saturday 17 March to showcase some of its world-leading research to members of the public.

Be Curious March 2017

Be Curious takes place from 10am to 4pm at the Parkinson Building and elsewhere on campus.

This year there will be a focus on how research makes a difference to the lives of people all over the world. There will be stalls, talks and guided trails for all ages.

With more than 40 family-friendly activities on offer, the annual event has become a favourite way for many researchers to share a flavour of their work with the Leeds community, while others see it as the perfect opportunity to take their first steps in engaging with the public.

Benefits of participating in Be Curious go well beyond providing fun for visitors and can bring lasting impacts for career development.

Dr Charlotte Haigh, Head of Public Engagement at the University of Leeds, said: “Be Curious is about inviting people to have fun and find out more about the world-leading research happening at the University. It’s a great opportunity to explore our campus, too, including the two galleries in the Parkinson Building, our public art trail and cafes."

An unmissable sight on the day in Parkinson Court will be a life-size, interactive model of a cow, made by Dr James McKay and students from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Doctoral Training in Bioenergy.

“We want to get across some of the more unusual ways we can get renewable energy”, explains James. “It’s looking at how we can get energy from waste and animal manure – from what needs to be disposed of anyway.”

Dr Iona McCleery, Director of Impact and the Engagement Champion for the Institute of Medieval Studies, whose stall in 2016 attracted more than 300 visitors, believes the benefits of Be Curious go both ways.

She said: “It is a structured, safe space to engage with the public and gain confidence in communication skills, and is much less intimidating than going into a school.”

For postgraduates, she adds: “Doing this will make them better teachers and demonstrators because for many undergraduates it was going to an event like this that first grabbed their imagination about the subject.”

To celebrate the Institute’s 50th anniversary, Medieval-recipe gingerbread will be on offer and visitors can join in with some ‘citizen history’ about place names.

Iona advises: “The trick is to entertain everyone: to have something that appeals to parents as well as children.”

The Planetarium dome is always a family favourite, and in its new location in Michael Sadler, Associate Professor Stuart Lumsden and colleagues from Astrophysics, Design and Performance are planning a starry treat. Using animation and computer-generated film, We are Interstellar tells the story of star clusters, while an interactive performance, featuring sticky tape, squirty cream and balloons, explores interstellar dust and life in the universe.

Stuart is new to Be Curious and says: “This is perfect for gaining confidence before taking our new table-top activity to schools.”

Other highlights are listed here, together with a link to download the Be Curious programme for more details and a map of events.

So, bring family and friends and tell your neighbours to come along on Saturday 17 March, 10am to 4pm.

And why not start thinking now about how your research could be one of next year’s activities?

Be Curious is just one event that is part of Leeds Festival of Science. Read about other events that are taking place in March

Parking is available in the multi-story car park, payable by debit or credit card on exiting. Bus routes, including 1, 6, 28 and 97, all stop outside the Parkinson Building from H10 stop on The Headrow in the city centre.

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