Suzie Sheehy from the ASTeC Intense Beams Group recently spent three days talking to the public about science at the Green Man's Festival in Wales.
Together with science communicators from science centres around the UK, she spent a very busy weekend talking to all ages about the many different areas of STFC science including particle accelerators.
In 2010 Suzie developed a simple demonstration to help communicate the science of particle accelerators and the work of ASTeC, the 'accelerator in a salad bowl' (link opens in a new window). She developed and prototyped the demonstration and has since used it in many public lectures in schools, at the Royal Institution and the Institute of Physics.
Recently this demonstration along with the Van de Graff generator to power it was included as part of the national 'Explore your Universe' project kit developed by the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) in partnership with STFC. The ASDC member centres and their staff are able to reach audiences of up to 20 million visitors per year across the UK and the kit including Suzie's demonstration is now being used in 10 centres across the UK as well as at STFC laboratories.
By advising the project on accelerator and particle physics engagement and including this demonstration in the kit, Suzie hopes that many tens of thousands of people will learn more about how particle accelerators work and give people a chance to appreciate the great work that the UK does in accelerator physics.
You can find Suzie's thoughts about her experience of communicating science at a music festival on her blog 'High Heels in the Lab' (link opens in a new window).