Nuclear Physics Outreach Programme

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

This proposed programme primarily aims to increase the overall knowledge and understanding of nuclear physics within local communities in an interactive and novel way, portraying nuclear physics as an active and exciting field of scientific research. Specifically, the aim is to enhance levels of understanding regarding experimental techniques such as fixed target scattering experiments and the concept of particle kinematics, as well as fundamental concepts in nuclear physics like the nuclide chart, nuclear fusion/fission reactions and the binding energy of nuclei. The aim is also to raise the important awareness of crucial applications relying on nuclear physics which are useful and relevant to every day life, for example nuclear medicine, or meeting future energy demands through the realisation of novel fusion technology.

Our proposed programme is extremely timely, as we plan to take advantage of an upcoming large scale international platform around which to coordinate our activities. We expect this to kick-start future development and continuation of our activities. The International Nuclear Physics Conference (INPC) series is the largest international conference devoted to fundamental nuclear physics research. The 2019 instance (INPC2019) will be held, in the end of July 2019, at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow. The Nuclear and Hadron Physics (NHP) Research Group of the University of Glasgow (UoG) led the successful bid to bring INPC2019 to Glasgow and are chairing the organisation of the conference. The direct objective of this proposal is to organise a series of nuclear physics outreach events which will form a large scale public engagement component of the INPC2019.

The goal is to educate as many members of the general public and local communities as possible, but school pupils and school teachers will be targeted, including schools from disadvantaged areas. Scientific peers and science communicators (STEM ambassadors) will also be included and invited to take part. The objective of this is to generate future opportunities for the resources we will develop to be re-used and disseminated widely and successfully within the STEM community.

The objectives are to develop materials for and host a series of nuclear physics themed events. This will include teacher training, a masterclass, a workshop, and a novel temporary pop-up exhibition. The exhibition will be re-usable for science museums/events and will be centred around the focal point of an eye-catching 3D, 8m long, complete model of the nuclide chart, constructed from LEGO. This chart was developed by the University of York (UoY) Binding Blocks (BB) team. To establish the programme beyond our events, we aim to provide classroom activity resources for teachers.

We anticipate the main impact generated by our programme to be knowledge exchange, having strong educational value. This would occur directly at our events and beyond, within classrooms. The educational content of the programme is designed to be universally accessible, however, to a certain extent it has been aligned with current school curricula and the STFC "Inside the Atom - connections to the curriculum" resources material. The programme will therefore create its highest levels of impact within schools and the educational community.

Having visited and engaged with our events and exhibition, participants are expected to have an increased understanding of nuclear physics, increased awareness of the relevance of nuclear physics to everyday life and realise that radiation is universally present and not always harmful. Through hands-on activities and a novel eye-catching exhibition, incorporating virtual multimedia elements, participants will recognise that fundamental science is fun and interactive. Visitors from STEM communication and scientific research communities, who will be included, may wish to initiate future collaborative opportunities, providing further dissemination of our resources.

Planned Impact

One of the major aims of our programme is dedicated to distributing our resources amongst educators. We plan to hold a teacher training event to launch our outreach activities. This would create the opportunity for the scattering experiment and BB workshops to be used as teaching resources in a number of schools in the West of Scotland. We would coordinate this via our local STEM hub, Science Connects (https://www.gla.ac.uk/explore/scienceconnects/), to maximise our reach. Teachers from schools with disadvantaged students would be targeted to widen the reach of the project. We will also invite any educational partners we may establish at the upcoming Scottish Wonder Match event in November 2018 to this training. Members of the NHP research group have applied to attend this upcoming Wonder Match event. The training event will include a scattering experiment workshop and the chance to build the full LEGO nuclide chart whilst participating in a BB masterclass. Teachers would subsequently be supplied with worksheet and lesson planning resources related to these workshops, in addition to having the chance to borrow a small scale LEGO set and a scattering set. These could be used for classroom lessons and then returned to us for other teachers to use in the same way. We have requested funding to purchase enough LEGO for one new small scale set, and have been granted use of four equivalent sets, as an in-kind contribution, from UoY for these purposes. We have also requested funds to construct two new scattering set ups to loan. Science Connects have agreed to act as the hub for storing the sets. Teachers could borrow the sets over a period extending the Spark Award dates, to allow sufficient use of equipment during term time. We expect that up to two classes could be held per set per week. After consulting with Science Connects, we expect to recruit roughly 50 teachers for the training event, with around 75% likely performing subsequent classroom lessons.

Coordinating our events via Science Connects will publicise our outreach programme amongst STEM scientist, educator and communicator communities in Glasgow and the West of Scotland. We will also invite locally registered STEM ambassadors to help us with our events. This will make them aware of our outreach programme, the ideas we will develop, and the resources which could be made available to them. We will submit an application to hold our teacher training during the annual GSF - one of the largest UK science festivals, engaging up to at least 50k people annually and also targeting a range of locally under-served communities (http://www.glasgowsciencefestival.org.uk/events/sciencefestival/aboutus/). If successful in this bid, this will further widen access to our resources amongst STEM communicators.

We will create a web page related to our outreach programme, on which we will upload the resources we will develop. In addition, a BB web page already exists (https://www.york.ac.uk/physics/public-and-schools/secondary/binding-blocks/), as well as BB social media accounts (Twitter, Youtube) - all of which we will refer to in our own online documentation. Collaboration with BB will help disseminate our resources in the UK. We will provide our web link on all reference and display materials, including our exhibition, so that interested participants can easily reach the appropriate contacts and find further information and download links to retrieve copies of our resources.

Coinciding with INPC2019 will yield ample opportunities to inform other scientists of our resources, and network with those interested in outreach. Our programme will be heavily advertised during INPC2019. The events will take place at the conference venue, and we expect a number of delegates to also visit the exhibition. Following this, if they wish to find out more about the potential for using our resources elsewhere, even internationally, they will be directed to our web pages and the relevant contacts.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Binding Blocks Collaboration 
Organisation University of York
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Participation in events by researchers and research students; knowledge exchange; resource sharing; training of personnel partaking in events.
Collaborator Contribution Participation in events by researchers, research students and undergraduate students; knowledge exchange; resource sharing; training of personnel partaking in events.
Impact Several of outreach activities as noted in engagement outputs.
Start Year 2019
 
Title Baryons stand 
Description Information stand explaining baryons in hadron physics which also makes use of the open source Quantum 3 app on tablets. 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact This kit has been used as the main demonstration/discussion point for several engagement outputs of this award. Participants noted a change in the level of their understanding. 
 
Title Cloud Chamber Kit 
Description This is an activity kit based around a cloud chamber which can be used to view cosmic radiation. 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact This kit has been used as a demonstration/discussion point for several engagement outputs of this award. 
 
Title Particle Scatterer Kit 
Description This is an activity kit which can be used to describe particle scattering experiments in nuclear physics to general audiences in an outreach setting - such as the general public, families, STEM ambassadors or school pupils and teachers. The kit is modular, allowing it to be broken into pieces for easy transport or shipping. 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact This kit has been used as the main demonstration/discussion point for several engagement outputs of this award. 
 
Title Photoelectric Effect 
Description Display/exhibition stand demonstrating the photoelectric effect. 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact This kit has been used as the main demonstration/discussion point for several engagement outputs of this award. Participants noted a change in the level of their understanding. 
 
Title Scattering exhibition stand 
Description Exhibition stand making use of our particle scatterer resoruce to explain the scattering experiments in hadron physics and to provide insight on the bigger picture of nuclear physics research. 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact This kit has been used as the main demonstration/discussion point for several engagement outputs of this award. Participants noted a change in the level of their understanding. 
 
Title Small Scale University of York Binding Blocks Kit 
Description We procured a small scale lego Binding Blocks kit developed by University of York to run Binding Blocks related activities with local school in the West of Scotland. 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact Used this product at a teacher training event in 2020 and have made it available for school/STEM Ambassador use. 
 
Description Family Day at IOP Building in London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An information stand and hands on activity demonstrating particle scattering in nuclear physics was presented during an open Family Day event for the general public at the IOP building in London. This was a part of a wider nuclear physics exhibit organised by Binding Blocks. The interactive stand was well received by members of the public, most notably by discussions and questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description INPC Afternoon family day with mini workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Engagement with mini workshops including binding energy, scattering, proton treatment, and baryon structure.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.york.ac.uk/physics/public-and-schools/secondary/binding-blocks/
 
Description INPC Exhibition for conference participants 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Engagement with conference participants, display of Binding Blocks programme and invitations to join the programme and utilise the BB material.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.york.ac.uk/physics/public-and-schools/secondary/binding-blocks/
 
Description INPC Public Exhibition, Glasgow 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public Exhibition as part of the International Nuclear Physics Conference 2019, Glasgow. Exhibition open in conjunction with evening talk which attracted more than 1000 participants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.york.ac.uk/physics/public-and-schools/secondary/binding-blocks/
 
Description Nuclear Masterclass (Daresbury, 2019) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Year-12 student Nuclear Masterclass at Daresbury Laboratory, delivered as their first exposure to Nuclear Physics after their GCSEs. Workshops included: Binding Blocks (nuclear masses, decays, and reactions).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.york.ac.uk/physics/public-and-schools/secondary/binding-blocks/
 
Description Nuclear Physics Exhibition at IOP Building in London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A self-explanatory information and hands on stand demonstrating particle scattering experiments in nuclear physics was exhibited as part of a wider nuclear physics exhibit organised by Binding Blocks in the IOP building in London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Nuclear Physics talk at IOP London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An outreach talk on nuclear physics was delivered to a general public audience at the IOP building in London. Engaging feedback and discussions were held after the talk.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Online Nuclear Physics Masterclass Q&A Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Participated in answering questions posted by school pupils on an online forum running in parallel to an online Nuclear Physics Masterclass arranged by Binding Blocks. The forum was available to the full number of participants in the online masterclass and more than one third of the participants were highly engaged and completed the material. Feedback received during the forum conversations including increased interest and understanding in nuclear physics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.york.ac.uk/physics/public-and-schools/secondary/binding-blocks/
 
Description Participation in STEM Ambassador/Physics teacher networking event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Partook in online networking event held for STEM Ambassadors and physics teachers in Scotland to spread awareness of the nuclear physics lending kits developed during the grant. Interest was received.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description SUPA Online Showcase 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Participation in the online SUPA Showcase 2020 event. This event showcased physics research and activities happening across Scotland to members of the Scottish Universities' Physics Alliance. During the event, the outreach activities of this grant were presented before a forum of physics research peers and postgraduate students from across Scotland. In particular the outreach events which took place during the International Nuclear Physics Conference 2019 were discussed. This resulted in discussion and questions about sharing outreach techniques within the field of physics and how the incorporation of outreach related activities in international research conferences can be used as a successful platform to highlight outreach tools and resources amongst international and national researchers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Teacher training at NSLC: CERN Follow-up 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Binding Blocks Nuclear Masterclass for teachers. Teacher training across the Nuclear Masterclass programme at University of York, where workshops included: Binding Blocks (nuclear masses, decays, and reactions); the Hot-CNO Cycle in X-ray bursters (and research on breakout from the cycle); Binding Energy and Neutron Stars (including both neutron star mergers and the d* discovery); Nuclear Medicine (comparison between X-ray and proton-beam radiation treatment); Nuclear Scattering (seeing the unseen); as well as introduction to "The Stuff Stars are Made Of", primary school book written by Dr. A. Tuff.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.york.ac.uk/physics/public-and-schools/secondary/binding-blocks/
 
Description Teacher training at NSLC: Inspiring A-level 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Programme included Binding Blocks Nuclear Masterclass for teachers, where workshops included: Binding Blocks (nuclear masses, decays, and reactions); Particle Physics and the d* discovery; Nuclear Scattering (seeing the unseen); as well as introduction to "The Stuff Stars are Made Of", primary school book written by Dr. A. Tuff.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.york.ac.uk/physics/public-and-schools/secondary/binding-blocks/
 
Description Teacher training at NSLC: Primary Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact NY071a19 Primary Science: Leading primary science in 2020. Introducing primary-school teachers to "The Stuff Stars are Made Of", a primary school book written by Dr. A. Tuff, and initiation of a Binding Blocks programme to lend these textbooks to primary schools across the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.york.ac.uk/physics/public-and-schools/secondary/binding-blocks/
 
Description Teacher training at the Glasgow STEM centre: Binding Blocks Masterclass 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Binding Blocks Nuclear Masterclass for teachers. Teacher training across the Nuclear Masterclass programme at University of York, where workshops included: Binding Blocks (nuclear masses, decays, and reactions); Nuclear Scattering (seeing the unseen); as well as trialling of an online framework for studying nuclear reactions in stars.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.york.ac.uk/physics/public-and-schools/secondary/binding-blocks/
 
Description Teacher training, Glasgow 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Teacher training event at Glasgow, linked to Nuclear Masterclasses
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.york.ac.uk/physics/bindingblocks/
 
Description UK PE team training 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Public Engagement training for undergraduate students at York, as well as post-graduate students in Nuclear Physics from across the UK. Delivered by York and Glasgow.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.york.ac.uk/physics/bindingblocks/