Physics Busking at Live from Jodrell Bank

30 August 2013 | Source: Will Brown

On the hot sunny weekend of 6th and 7th July, Jodrell Bank opened its doors for the Live from Jodrell Bank Science and Music Festival.

Physics Busking at Live from Jodrell Bank

Beneath the eye-catching 76m diameter dish of the Lovell Telescope, the science and music arenas intrigued and entertained the thousands of visitors. The headlining acts for the weekend were Australian Pink Floyd on the Saturday and New Order on the Sunday. In the science arena visitors could speak to Manchester University Physics staff who work on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, make a cup of glowing slime, or create musical instruments using just vegetables, to name a few activities.

Also present was a Physics in the Field team from the Manchester and District Branch of the Institute of Physics. Using just a variety of household items, the team were able to demonstrate a variety of interesting physics concepts with demonstrations such as Tame Tornado, Bernoulli Balls, Amazing Marshmallows, Waterproof Hanky and Balloon Kebabs. 

By far the largest crowd-drawer was a topological challenge for two volunteers tied together at the wrists to try and free themselves from each other, more often than not ending up on the ground. The brave people who tried and failed to figure out the trick alone can take solace in the knowledge that neither could the CERN researchers when they tried.

After the Sunday of last year’s weekend was called off due to an overnight downpour turning the car park into a mud bath, the clouds were thankfully nowhere to be seen this time. Despite the shocking need for sun cream in Cheshire, the team and visitors managed to enjoy the heat by utilising the Frisbee giveaways as fans. The glorious sunny weekend was only added to by Murrays’s Wimbledon Victory being broadcast over a large screen (though it sadly distracted both visitors and volunteers from the science briefly). If you’re interested in finding out about future Live From Jodrell Bank events, you can see the line-ups and book tickets at

A great big thank you to everybody who volunteered to help: Joshua Stocco, Michael Dean, Luke Maw, Emma Galt, Rebecca Davey and Victoria Harris; also to Marissa Buckingham and Katy Dixon at Jodrell Bank as well as Dominic Galliano at the Institute of Physics for all their help with the organisation.