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Explorathon '18: Making research accessible for all

Young person doing experiment

Research should be accessible to everyone. It tells us so much about the world around us. It helps save our planet, explore space, and even predict the future!

Explorathon, the festival of curiosity, is back for its fifth year. Across Glasgow on September 28 and 29, the public will have the opportunity to interact with world-leading researchers and their cutting edge research, in iconic venues such as the Riverside Museum, Glasgow Science Centre’s Planetarium and the Forge Shopping Centre. 

At Explorathon, we want every budding inventor, curious learner and future researcher to be able to engage with our local researchers. That’s why at Accessible Explorathon, the Riverside Museum will open its doors early from 10 to 11am on Friday, September 28, for accessible and autism-friendly science experiments in a calmer, less crowded environment, with quiet spaces available.

Jane Essex, a lecturer in chemistry education at the University of Strathclyde, will be showcasing an interactive inclusive science activity, for everyone to enjoy. A leader in her field, Jane has extensive knowledge and expertise working with people with additional learning needs, as illustrated in a recent publication Why don’t we include everyone when we talk about ‘science for all’?.

From fizzy drinks experiments at the inclusive Salters Science Festival, to her planned pasta strength experiment for Accessible Explorathon, Jane ensures engagement and curiosity for whoever pops in to see her.

A teacher who attended the Salters Science Festival said: “Pupils loved both activities, particularly testing for the volume of gas in the fizzy drinks! Pupils scored it 20/20 on the bus home!”

Jane’s pasta experiment will involve visitors to test the yield strength of different shapes of pasta, and pasta cooked for different durations of time. Jane will support visitors to take part in the experiment and discover the findings. The experiment was recently showcased at an inclusive Young Chemical Ambassador event at the University of Strathclyde, for pupils with additional learning needs.

Jane’s “lightbulb” moment in discovering her love for chemistry came when “making plastic sulphur, and being bitterly disappointed when the beautiful smooth strings of sulphur gradually reverted to its brittle yellow form.” Through practical, hands on events, Jane believes she can bring this same experience to the visitors of Accessible Explorathon.

Accessible Explorathon is open to all families and individuals who have or who support someone with additional support needs. Visit the Explorathon website for more details of other events taking place in Glasgow and across Scotland.

*EXPLORATHON (European Researchers’ Night Scotland) is funded by the European Commission under the Marie Sklowdowska-Curie Actions programme (Grant agreement No. 818500).


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