Physics set to roll in the North West

24 February 2012

The arrival of Lab in a Lorry in the North West will be marked with a launch event on Friday 24 February between 12:30 and 14:00 at Shorefields Technology College in Dingle Vale, Liverpool, before the lorry embarks on its six month tour of the region.

The mobile physics lab for young people, run by the Institute of Physics (IOP), is designed to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, offering 11-14 year olds the opportunity to explore science through specially created interactive experiments.

The lorry aims to reach 6,000 students across the region, from Alsager in the south to Carlisle in the north, all of whom will be introduced to key concepts in physics.

The experiments on board the lorry involve using the properties of light to diagnose sick patients, using sound waves to smash wine glasses, and scattering light to understand why the sky is blue and help identify the real colour of the Sun.  The key concepts behind the experiments will be illustrated with examples from everyday life and cutting-edge research.

James Bamford, Lab in a Lorry coordinator in the North West, said, “The tour is set to be a huge success.  We’ve been inundated with requests from schools across the region and, if this week’s reception in Liverpool is anything to go by, it’s clear that many students have a real appetite for it.”

The launch event will include short speeches from Louise Ellman, MP for Liverpool Riverside, Alison Dearden, Headteacher from Shorefields Technology College, and Terry O’Connor from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the funders of the Lorry’s tour in the North West, before assembled guests take a tour of the lorry.

Guests will be shown how the lorry is fitted with three distinct lab areas for groups of up to six children to take part in the hands-on experiments.

Staffed by volunteers – all practising scientists and engineers and often provided by STEMNET - the 44 ft lorry is one of two labs that have been visiting schools free-of-charge across the UK and Ireland since early 2005.

STFC is the Research Council responsible for ‘big science’ facilities and funding inspirational research in areas such as particle physics and astronomy. 

Terry O’Connor, Director of Communications at STFC, said, “We’re keenly aware of the impact the research STFC supports has in attracting young people towards science.  The visit of Lab in a Lorry to schools across North West England will help teachers to inspire pupils to become the scientists and engineers the country needs for the future.”

Alison Dearden, Headteacher from Shorefields Technology College, said, "We are delighted to host the launch event and have the opportunity for our students to be inspired by a different scientific experience. I am sure this will increase further the number of our students who go on to study science at university and work in the scientific industries."

Professor Sir Peter Knight, President of IOP, said, “School students across the North West are in for a real treat.  The experience has been designed to give students a real taste of just how exciting experimental science can be.”

Schools can request a visit from Lab in a Lorry through the website  which also contains information on how to become a volunteer.

Lab in a Lorry is actively recruiting additional partners to ensure the programme expands and continues to be a free experience for all. For more information on partnerships, please visit the Lab in a Lorry website.