Outreach Activities


Quantum Show: On Wednesday 1st February, cohort 8 undertook the annual quantum show titled ‘Quantum mechanics on stage’ to over 300 school pupils and members of the public. Each of the students was given 5 minutes to talk about a specific area of quantum mechanics that first got them interested in the topic. This gave the audience a fantastic introduction to the field of quantum mechanics.

In preparation for the talk, the students taking part are given intensive training in public engagement and outreach, teaching them how to develop a talk and how to successfully deliver it. Many of those taking part go on to undertake further public engagement activities and talks in schools.

Imperial Festival: The Imperial Festival is an annual science festival which gives the public a chance to go behind the scenes and explore all the ground breaking science happening at Imperial College. This year’s festival was held over the weekend of the 6th and 7th May, with over 15,000 members of the public visiting Imperial College. Alex Clark along with students and staff from the CDT hosted a stand in the Discovery Zone discussing how quantum mechanics can be taken from the lab and into the real world with technologies such as quantum sensing, cryptography and computing.

Pint of science: Pint of science is an international festival in its fifth year that takes place simultaneously in over 175 cities in the world with researchers talking about their field and their research with the general public in the relaxed atmosphere of a pub. Many CQD students helped to organise an event that took place in Chiswick over three nights with the overarching theme of Atoms to Galaxies. On Monday night the talks centred around Small is Beautiful and the wonderful weirdness of the quantum world that rules physics on the tiny scale. Tuesday night went to the other extreme with Infinity and Beyond, looking at cosmology and its interaction with particle physics.  Wednesday night, More than the Sum of its Parts, bridged the gap between these extremes by looking at how the properties of materials depends on how they are put together.

JP Morgan schools challenge: JP Morgan Schools Challenge

The Schools Challenge, a collaboration between Imperial and J. P. Morgan, challenges year 9 pupils to develop solutions to one of three key urban challenges – transport, reusing resources, and air quality. Nearly 150 students from nine schools in the capital are taking part, designing and building a prototype product using facilities at the Reach Out Makerspace at Imperial’s Invention Rooms, as well as developing a promotional campaign and business plan to support their idea.

On Friday 29th September, during the launch event held at J.P. Morgan HQ, Dr Simon Foster gave an introduction to the teams, explaining how London’s growing and aging population is placing pressure on the capital’s infrastructure. At the final event held on the 12th December at the Science museum, the teams presented their plans to scientists from Imperial College, including staff and student from the CQD. The winners were Clapton School for Girls, who designed a device that converted kinetic energy from walking into electrical energy for charging mobile devices.

INSPIRE physics training: Dr Simon Foster and members of the CQD act as the main physics tutors for Imperial College’s INSPIRE teacher training programme. INSPIRE (the Innovative Scheme for Postgraduates in Research and Education) is an intensive, ten-month PGCE training programme, and it is designed to bridge the gap between cutting edge research and science education in schools. Alongside teaching science in secondary schools in London, the trainee teachers undertake outreach activities which are developed in collaboration with Imperial researchers. CQD students and staff help have helped numerous teachers to develop quantum based demonstration and activities. Many of the trainee teachers are not physicists and so Dr Simon Foster helps teach the various physics modules, helping the trainee teachers develop their own models for teaching physics in the classroom.

InnovateInnovate: Innovate is the UK governments annual conference which showcases the UK’s cutting edge thinkers in the areas of business, industry and science. Dr Simon Foster from the CQD was the keynote speaker at the school’s day on Thursday 9th November. Simon spoke about his journey into science, his career to date and why ideas and collaboration are so important in science and engineering. After his speech, he was joined on stage by a panel of guests to talk about how to get more young people into science and engineering and the challenges they will need to overcome. 

Imperial CREST Academy: On Friday 6th October, the Imperial CREST Academy held its annual student conference, where the pupils taking part presented the results of their research to their fellow students and mentors. The Imperial CREST Academy provides scientific mentoring and support to help students aged 16–18 successfully undertake and submit a project for a British Science Association CREST award. The CREST awards, dubbed the ‘Duke of Edinburgh Award in Science’, allow you to plan and carry out long-term science projects with guidance from a professional scientist. The academy is run by Dr Simon Foster and several students from the CQD have acted as mentors, guiding the participating students through their projects. With quantum mechanics and engineering being such a popular topic amongst students, the input of CQD staff and students is vital for making the Academy such a success.

2EmPower: On the 20th and 21st September, imperial College hosted a series of workshops designed to support gifted students with learning difficulties – also known as twice exceptional (2e) or neurodivergent. Through a series of hands-on science activities and talks, 26 secondary school students accompanied by their parents or teachers were encouraged to identify their strengths and develop strategies to support their learning. The two-day event was organised by 2eMPower, a team of researchers (including Dr Simon Foster) and educational specialists. Together they have developed a suite of unique workshops for neurodivergent students and their parents designed to support and inspire neurodivergent students.



Quantum Showcase: On 3rd February 2016 the students of cohort 7 gave a show to an audience of 300 school children and interested members of the public on the theme of ‘Quantum Mechanics in a Nutshell.’ They each gave a five minute presentation that fit together to give an overview of the field, covering lasers, quantum computation and a look at some open problems in quantum mechanics.

NerdNite: On 20th April, 3 students took their section of the quantum show and presented it to a full house at NerdNite at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood. NerdNite is a monthly event which brings interested people together to listen to speakers talk about topics ranging from quantum physics, to 1950s projector technology, to early writing systems in native America. The host of NerdNite London had been at the quantum show and invited the trio to give the talk. 

Women in Physics: On 20th April 2016 the Department of Physics hosted our annual Women in Physics event aimed at girls in years 10, 11 and 12. Over one hundred and fifty participants attended who were welcomed to the department by Dr Mark Richards and heard talks given by Fay Dowker about her research into Quantum gravity, Dr Juliet Pickering discussing the admissions process, and Nilushi Wijeyasinghe about her life as a PhD student. Staff and students from the CQD also took part running demonstrations, talks and lab tours, acting as role models for the young women attending the day. 

Reach Out CPD: Reach Out CPD is Imperial College’s new flagship teacher training website for Primary school teachers. The site covers all areas of the science curriculum at Key stage 1 and 2, and has numerous resources to help teachers. The site helps teachers to gain confidence in the various science subject areas by helping them with the basic concepts and ideas in science as well as introducing them to the cutting edge research that is currently being conducted.  In addition the site contains lots of practical demonstrations and lessons that the teachers can undertake with their pupils.

The site was developed to help tackle the problem that only 5% of all teachers at primary level have a background in science (A-level or above) and the difficulties this can lead to when teaching science. It is hoped that the site will improve teacher’s confidence in teaching science and thus help promote science to younger age groups.

Dr Simon Foster from the CQD has been involved with the project from its start and contributed to the development of the relevant physics modules.

INSIGHTS work experience: The Insights Work Experience programme is the Department of Physics’ flagship work experience scheme, designed to provide current year 12 students with a true understanding of the Physics Department, how it functions, and what it would be like to study physics at Imperial College London.

A key aspect of your week here will involve meeting with a variety of academic staff members from one of ten research groups in the Department, to get a true understanding of what it means to be a scientists at one of the world’s leading universities. The CQD hosted several of the students through the programme, giving them a unique insight into the life of a quantum physicist.

New Scientist Live 2016: New Scientists live was a science festival held at the ExCeL arena in London in September 2016, with over 30,000 members of the public attending. Dr Simon Foster of the CQD group hosted the ‘Unstitching the Rainbow’ workshop in the Earth and Cosmos zone. The hands on work shop gave the participants an introduction to spectroscopy, quantum physics and its uses, as well as getting them to make their own spectrometer.

Capital Physics: The Capital Physics Project is aimed at improving A-level grades in physics and increasing the proportion of AS level students who continue on to A-level. Dr Simon Foster has delivered several workshops and training event for the teachers in the North London chapter and has developed good links with the group. In the summer of 2016, the department played host to the Capital Physics annual conference, where teachers from across London attended the event, undertaking a variety of workshops to support their teaching, with the aim of improving the attainment of their pupils with the hope that these pupils will undertake Physics at university level.


Prof Terry Rudolph’s Inaugural lecture: Prof. Rudolph gave his inaugural lecture on 28th October 2014, but in the past year it has gone ‘viral’ and now has over 725,000 views on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKGZDhQoR9E) It’s Imperial top ranking video and one of the most popular videos discussing Quantum theory on Youtube. 

CQD Quantum showThe CQD ‘Quantum Show’: Each year the new cohort of PhD students in the Controlled Quantum Dynamics (CQD) doctoral training centre put on a public show to explain the principles of Quantum mechanics. The aim is to get the students prepared for discussing the research with the public in the future, which is an important part of being a scientists. As part of this the students all receive training through their first term in the DTC and its hoped that after the show they will put their new found skills to use by undertaking additional talks whilst at Imperial.  This year’s show was in front of an audience of 200 people, from A level students to senior citizens! 

RILRoyal Institution lates: CQD outreach officer Dr Simon Foster took part in the ‘Gunpowder, Treason and Plot’ Ri lates event on Friday 6th November 2015. Simon gave the main lecture on the history of Gunpowder in the iconic theatre to over 400 people. http://rigb.org/whats-on/events-2015/november/lates-gunpowder-treason-and-plot










GreenlightGreenlight for girls: Greenlight for girls is an international organisation aimed at inspiring girls of all ages and backgrounds to undertake a career in the STEM subjects. Events have previously been held in the USA and Europe (which Imperial students and researchers have taken part in) and in September 2015 G4G held their UK launch at Imperial College. The event was co-organised by several members of the CQD  group and more than 200 students aged 12-16 took part in the day. Not only were talks and workshops given by Imperial researchers and academics, but a whole host of external groups to come along and run activities, such as CISCO, The Royal Astronomical Society, INTEL, RSC, IET and Bletchley park even brought along one of their Enigma machines to let the students have a play with!

Imperial Festival 2015: The CQD group held a stand at the Imperial festival 2015 showcasing the research done by the group. The stand let the public get up close and personal with the research being conducted in the labs by the CQD group and allowed the public to quiz a quantum physicist and demystify this amazing area of science. Over 15,000 members of the public attended the festival and it allowed the researchers and students in the CQD group to improve their communication skills and start a 2 way conversation with the public around their research.


Science Show Off [Show]

Date: Tuesday 18th November 2014  Location: Star of Kings Pub, Kings cross

Science show off Prof Terry Rudolph co-director of the CQD group along with Dr Nic Harrigan (former CQD member) performed at November’s Science Show Off Curated by the CQD’s outreach officer Dr Simon Foster.

Science Show Off is a stand up night for scientists that has a cabaret format, in which the performers have 9 minutes to talk about their research in any way they like, comedy, dance, a talk or a song. Dr Rudolph spoke about his research into the quantum world and why it’s impossible to know where anything really is.

The evening raised over £600 for our nominated charity The Lightyear Foundation.

Pint of Science, SpotOn fringe event [Show]

Pint of Science Date: Thursday 13th November 2014 Location: The Driver Pub, Kings cross.

Dr Simon Foster hosted and compered the Pint of Science SpotOn fringe event held at the Driver pub in Kings cross. Pint of Science is an annual events which aims to break science out of the labs and into the community by running events with a festival feeling in pubs around the globe. This Pint of Science was a fringe event for the SpotOn (Science, Policy and Outreach Tools Online) that was taking place in London on the 14th and 15th November.

This fringe event looked at science policy, open data and how to avoid fraud in science. Simon was joined by Prof Tony Segal (UCL), Dr Mike Galsworthy (UCL) and Dr Aeneas Weiner (Imperial/Cytora).

World Teach in [Teacher Training]

Date: 1st - 2nd November 2014  Location: Imperial College London

Dr Simon Foster and students from the CQD and FQT ran a series of demonstrations and experiments for primary and secondary school teachers from across the globe at the World Teach In 2014. These experiments and demonstrations were carefully chosen and developed so that they linked in with the science curriculums of various countries, so that teachers could take the experiments and knowledge and make them part of their own teaching practice.

The event was hosted by Imperial College and teachers and scientists came from across the planet to share tips and ideas about teaching, teach new areas of science and to help inspire the next generation of scientists.

world teach in  

Physics happens in a dark place [Exhibition]

Date: 10-15 May 2014 Audience: General public Location: Shoreditch Town Hall

CQD students worked in collaboration with the IED programme at the Royal College of Art to produce an exhibition funded by the Institute of Physics.


Royal Society Summer Exhibition [Talk/Workshop]

Date: 10am-5pm on 6th-7th July 2013 Audience: General public (all ages) Location: The Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace.

Dr Simon Foster and students from the CQD were invited to take part in the 2013 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. The team talked about their own research, along with their favourite aspects of science that first got them interested in science. To help engage with the visitors, each of the participants brought along exciting hands on demos that the visitors could try themselves, these included invisible beads, non-newtonian fluids (liquids that go rock hard when you hit them), a banana piano and a cloud machine, which actually allows you to hold a cloud in your hand!


How to put a Human on Mars [Media]

Date: July 2013 Audience: TV Location: London

Mars simulation On the weekend of the 27th and 28th July the BBC broadcast a 30-minute programme How to put a human on Mars, exploring some of the key aspects of how a mission to Mars might look.

Dr Simon Foster (CQD outreach officer) was one of five researchers at Imperial who took part. He showed how ice could be used to produce fuel for the return journey and how parachutes would be deployed to slow down and stabilise the landing craft before the astronauts could step foot on the red planet.

To demonstrate this he threw a camera off of the Queen’s Tower, attached to parachutes to simulate a possible landing on Mars.

The full show can be seen here.

Festival of Imperial [Busking/Talk]

Festival of Imperial

Date: Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th May Audience: General public Location: Imperial College Campus, Imperial College London

Staff and students from the CQD were involved in this year’s Festival of Imperial, a showcase of the research and talent that Imperial College has to offer. We undertook science busking around the campus, and this involved a series of hands on demonstrations which allowed the visitors to get up close and personal to some exciting scientific experiments and explore the principles behind them.

We also took the opportunity to use the outreach tricycle, with several of our students making liquid nitrogen ice cream.

Watch a video of the festival

After the success of their show in January, the 4th cohort of CQD students, were invited to repeat their Amazing Quantum Worlds show as part of the Festival of Imperial. The show took place in the great hall front of over 600 Imperial alumni and members of the public.

Teachers workshop [Talk/workshop]

Date: 13th – 14th April 2013, 10pm – 4pm Audience: School pupils Location: Imperial College London

The Teachers Workshop was aimed at teachers who teach Physics up to GCSE level and do not have a degree in Physics. The day long workshop aimed to inspire and motivate non-specialist GCSE physics teachers, enhance teachers’ own interest in the field by exposing them to current frontline science research and to equip teachers with a set of physics demonstration skills that can enthuse pupils in the laboratory.

Staff and students from the CQD came along to explain their area of science, showing the teachers the exciting research they are currently undertaking, hopefully taking this excitement back into the classroom.

Dr Simon Foster presented “Tips on Teaching Practical Physics”. This session consisted of an inspirational talk on teaching laboratory physics followed by a series of hands-on demonstrations. The demos were popular, simple to carry out and relate the GCSE and A-level syllabus to cutting edge research.

FameLab Academy Masterclass [Talk/workshop]

Date: 13th – 14th April 2013  Audience: School pupils  Location: Imperial College London

Imperial College London played host to the finalists in the first ever FameLab Academy, a science communication competition for GCSE and A level pupils. FameLab Academy is based around the award winning FameLab competition where each competitor has just 3 minutes to communicate an aspect of science which they are passionate about.

Outreach Officer Simon Foster, helped train the students at the masterclass, showing them how to improve their communication skills, how to tell a story and how to manage your nerves. 

When Science Attacks [Talk]

Date: 20th- 21st March 2013  Audience: Secondary school pupils  Location: Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus.

We all know that science has, for the most part, benefitted mankind (nuclear weapons aside), but what happens when science doesn’t play by the rules and decides to attack? In this talk Dr Simon Foster takes you on a tour of the dangerous side of science looking at the science behind some of the more amazing headlines in the news. Find out how Pikachu attacked over 12,000 children, the Large Hadron Collider could lead to new form of Botox and why it’s always important to make sure you put the right gas in your helium balloons!

Big Bang Fair [Stand/busking]

Naomi science busking Date: 14th- 17th March 2013, 9am – 6pm Audience: Primary/Secondary school students and the general public Location: ExCeL centre, London.

Staff and students from the CQD helped organise and run the Institute of Physics (IoP) stand at the Big Bang fair at London’s ExCeL centre. Magic tricks were used to demonstrate and explain some of the fascinating applications of Quantum mechanics, such as quantum teleportation, entanglement and tunnelling.

Through interacting with visitors to the fair, it is hoped that the we have inspired some of the scientists of the future.

Space race [Talk/workshop]

Date: 8th March 2013  Audience: Primary school pupils  Location: Cranmere primary school, Mitcham.

Simon Foster visited the Cranmere primary school in Mitcham, to undertake an exciting rocket design workshop with pupils from years 5 & 6. The day started with Simon giving an inspirational talk about space research and then setting out the challenge for the day. The pupils had to design and build a water rocket that was capable of launching an astronaut (an egg) into the air and bringing them back to Earth safely. The pupils had to investigate different materials and designs for use in the construction of their rockets and its safety features. The day was run as a ‘space race’, where each team was given a nation to represent (USSR, USA, Europe and China) and in this way the learnt about some of the unsung heroes of rocket science.

Primary science workshop: Teaching Earth and Space [Teacher’s workshop]

Date: 25th February 2013 Audience: Primary school teachers Location: Epsom racecourse.

Primary school teachers often find teaching the topic of ‘Earth and Space’ difficult and so Dr Simon Foster helped organise a teacher training day to help overcome these difficulties. Simon gave the teachers lots of exciting and interesting ideas, demonstrations and activities for the teachers to conduct with their pupils. Some of the feedback from the teachers included

‘Loads of great ideas on how to bring Earth/moon/space topic to life!’

‘A really great workshop with lots of practical ideas!’ 

‘I have taken back lots of ideas to use at school.’

Climate change: Man v Sun [Talk]

Date: 20th February 2013  Audience: School students and members of the public  Location: Science alive, Harlow.

Simon Foster spoke at the Science alive centre as part of their evening ‘science café’ talks. Simon spoke about his research into solar variability and climate change, giving the participants an insight into the workings of our nearest star and its influence upon the Earth’s climate. The talk also looked upon the myths and stories surrounding climate change and investigated both sides of the climate change debate. At the end of the talk time was left for a question and answer session

St Mark’s space day [Talk]

space demo Date: 8th February 2013  Audience: Year 4 and 5 pupils  Location: St Mark’s primary school, Holloway, London.

Outreach officer Dr Simon Foster visited St Luke’s primary school to give the students a fascinating glimpse into the topic of Earth and Space. Simon brought in pieces of the Cluster satellite which exploded on launch in 1996 Piece of planet() which was designed to study the Sun’s magnetic field. Simon also brought in pieces of meteorites which have crashed into planet Earth, some of which were pieces of a planet that used to exist between Mars and Jupiter that was torn apart by gravitational forces.  Not only that, Simon managed to bring in an incredibly rare Martian meteorite, which was blasted off the planet due to an asteroid collision millions of years ago. For the children this was an amazing experience as they managed to hold a piece of the red planet and a destroyed planet!

Solar variability and climate change [Talk]

Date: 6th February 2013  Audience: GCSE and A-level pupils  Location: North London Collegiate School, Edgware.

Simon Foster spoke at the North London Collegiate School as part of their science society evening talks. Simon spoke about his research into solar variability and climate change, giving the participants an insight into the workings of our nearest star and its influence upon the Earth’s climate. The talk was aimed at combining cutting edge research with the students current areas of study. At the end of the talk time was left for a question and answer session.

The amazing Quantum World CQD show

DemoDate: 23rd January 2013 Location: Sir Alexander Fleming building, Imperial College

Every year, new doctoral students in the Controlled Quantum Dynamics group get the opportunity to present their work to the public in an entertaining way. Run by Simon Foster, the group’s outreach officer, this year’s performance was run in tandem with Friends of Imperial, an organisation which provides the public access to some of the world-class academics at Imperial College London.

Run under the title ‘Amazing Quantum Worlds’, ten students gave short talks which attempted to capture the puzzling world of quantum mechanics in an approachable, light-hearted way.

Superhero The Amazing Quantum Worlds is an outreach show performed by students from the Controlled Quantum Dynamics group at imperial College London. The show aims to help the audience to understand and fall in love with Quantum mechanics, an area of physics which is often seen as complex and confusing, only accessible through impossible mathematics. This however is not true and through this show the students aim to explain the beauty and simplicity of this amazing area of physics, which already impacts upon our daily lives and will play an ever increasing part in our world.

Using inflatable sharks, eggs, liquid nitrogen and a magic quantum tunnelling box, the evening was a great success for the Friends of Imperial and gave a group of young scientists vital experience in commun icating their research.< /p>

Stargazing live

stargazing Date: 8th – 10th January 2013 Location: Langton star centre, Canterbury

Dr Simon Foster took part in this years’ stargazing live events at the Simon Langton school for boys in Canterbury. One of this years’ themes was rockets and how humans can get satellites and observatories into space to discover the secrets of the universe. To this end Simon took along his rocket kits, making ancient rocket fuel (aka gunpowder) with visitors on the night as well as showing pieces of the Cluster I satellite which was destroyed on the maiden launch of the Ariane 5 rocket.

stargazingOne young girl who was visiting the space centre said “I got to see Jupiter and learnt how to make rocket fuel – it was awesome”.

Science careers networking event

Date: 17th January 2013 Location: Sacred Heart School, Elephant and Castle

On 17th January Dr Simon Foster took park in a Science Careers Networking event at Sacred Heart School, London.

The Science Careers Networking afternoon was held at Sacred Heart School in London and was aimed at top set year 11 science pupils from the school. More than 50 students attended the event and each pupil had the chance to talk to a wide range of science professionals about their careers. The main purpose of the event was to encourage pupils to study science subjects beyond GCSE.

Simon spoke about his own career and research, as well as discussing the work conducted by the CQD group and the route to becoming a quantum physicist.

Following the event, every pupil that attended said they found the event interesting and useful; specifically, some pupils said the advice they received about A-levels and university was particularly helpful. Many pupils are now considering taking Physics at A-level.


Science showoff

Date: 4th December 2012 Location: Wilmington arms, London

Dr Simon Foster took part in the final Science show off of 2012. Science show off is an open mic night run in a pub in central London, where scientists get 9 minutes to present science in a exciting and engaging manner. This time Simon presented sections from his new show ‘When science attacks’ which looks at the consequences of when science goes wrong.

In this show Simon discussed the event where the Pokémon Pikachu caused more than 12,000 photo epileptic seizures, what happened to the man who put his head in a particle accelerator, and the reasons why you should never get Hydrogen and Helium confused, as happened at a political rally in Armenia with disastrous consequences.

INSPIRE teacher workshop [Talk/workshop]

Date: 23rd November 2012 Location: Imperial College London

Dr Simon Foster gave a hands on practical day for the INSPIRE trainee teachers. The INSPIRE scheme was set up Imperial college to get the best scientists into the classroom teaching and inspiring the next generation of scientists and Simon is a former graduate of the scheme.

Simon was joined by students from the CQD to discuss their research with the teachers and the work being conducted by the CQD. The students helped explain the parts of the school syllabus where quantum and particle physics are discussed, which teachers and students often find conceptually difficult.

During the day Simon shared many hints and tips from his experiences teaching as well as taking the students through a number of hands on demonstrations that will not have been seen in schools before, helping to expand the experiences of the students and helping the teachers bring the wow factor to their lessons.

Famelab London heats [Talk]

Date: 3rd November 2012 Location: Royal Academy of Engineering (London)

Dr Simon Foster compered the London heats of the 2012/2013 FameLab competition. The standard was extremely high making it difficult to select a winner from the final at the end of the day. Simon kept the audience entertained between talks and why the judges were making their decisions as well as passing on his hints and tips as a previous finalist.

British Science Association Space Day [Talk/workshop]

   Simon Foster Date: 13th and 14th October 2012 Audience: General public

Location: Drink, Shop and Do (Kings Cross, London)

Dr Simon Foster helped organise the British Science Associations (BSA) Space day, which was held at the Drink, Shop and Do café in London’s Kings cross, helping to interact with people who would not usual consider engage with science. Simon carried out various activities on the day, from talks about solar physics, astronomy and space research to hands on workshops. Simon also brought in pieces of the Cluster satellite that was destroyed in the maiden launch of the European Space Agencies (ESA) Ariane 5 rocket, giving a stark visual reminder of the dangers of space flight.


Science busking at Imperial Fringe [Busking]

Date: 25 September 2012 Location: Imperial College London

Dr Simon Foster and students from the CQD ran a series of science busking demos at Imperial College, to celebrate the launch of the Imperial Fringe events. This involved a series of hands on demonstrations which allowed the visitors to get up close and personal to some exciting scientific experiments and explore the quantum principles behind them. The event also marked the first outing of the Imperial College outreach tricycle, a remodelled ice cream vehicle which will allow the outreach team to visit local sites to engage with the public.

Science Uncovered [Talk/workshop]

Date: 25 September 2012 Location: Natural History Museum London

Researchers from the department of physics and outreach officer Dr Simon Foster manned a stand at the annual Science Uncovered evening event at the Natural History Museum in London. The stand showed off the exciting work being conducted by the department including the exciting research being conducted by the CQD. 

Guerilla science [Talk/workshop]

Date: 24th-26th August 2012,  Location: Shambala music festival, Northampton

Outreach officer Simon Foster spoke at the Shambala music festival, giving a talk and workshop on the history of rocket science. The talk is available on youtube.

Simon also took part in the ‘particle safari, where the festival site was turned into the large hadron collider with particles, played by guerrilla science volunteers being hidden at various locations, Simon acted as the Higgs Boson!

CDT Teachers Experience Day [Workshop]

Date: 12th July,  Location: RSC, Imperial College London

In July the CQD played host to the first CDT experience day, where physics teachers were invited along to Imperial College to get a taste of the amazing research being conducted by the CQD group. Prof Danny Segal and CQD students gave a series of talks and visited the laboratories which immersed the teachers in the work of the group. This allowed them to understand the exciting work being conducted by the group and take this knowledge back into the classroom to inspire the next generation of scientists. It is hoped we will turn this teacher’s workshop into an annual event.

Outreach talk [Talk]

Date: 11th July,  Location: Imperial College London

Simon gave a talk to over 150 prospective students highlighting some of the research being conducted in the physics department.

Climate change debate [Talk/debate]

Date: 26th June and 3rd July,  Location: Phoenix High School, Shepherds Bush, London

Simon helped organise the 1st Phoenix high school debate, centred on the subject of ‘Is the UK government doing enough to combat climate change’. Prior to the debate various scientists visited the school to give talks about different aspects of climate change and its causes. Simon spoke about his research into solar variability and climate change, giving the participants an insight into the workings of our nearest star and its influence upon the Earth’s climate. Students used this information to prepare their arguments for the debate, at which Simon acted as one of the judges.

Physics department work experience [Talks/demonstrations]

  Date: 25th June – 6th July,  Location: Department of Physics, Imperial College London

Staff and students from the CQD met with work experience students to explain their research and experiences as scientists. Based on these meetings the students produced posters and gave a presentation outlining the work of the CQD. CQD students also ran a series of experiments with work experience students who were visiting the physics department. These experiments gave the students the opportunity to handle equipment and materials that is not usually available within schools. These experiments helped to make this a really memorable experience for the work experience students

Physics department open day [Busking/Stands]

Date: 28th June 2012,  Location: Department of Physics, Imperial College London

Students conducted hands on demos in the foyer of the physics department allowing prospective students to get an exciting insight into the work the CQD group conducts.

Supersonix/Music day [Talk/workshops]

Date: 23rd June 2012,  Location: Imperial College London

Simon Foster hosted and chaired several events as part of Supersonix, a musical event held as part of the exhibition road cultural group. The event brought together artists, scientists and musicians in a celebration of the art and science of sound in all its glory and complexity.

Cheltenham science festival [Talks/Workshop]

Date: 13th-17th June,  Location: Cheltenham town hall

Outreach Officer Simon Foster took part in this years’ Cheltenham Science Festival, undertaking a variety of activities. Simon undertook a gunpowder workshop for groups of secondary school pupils where they got to make and explode their own gunpowder and other types of rocket propulsion. Simon also acted as compere and chairman at a number of events, notably hosting events for Nobel prize winner Barry Marshall and Prof. Dame Kay Davies.

Rocket design day [Talk/Workshop]

Date: 31st May,  Location: Haseltine school, Lewisham, London

Simon Foster visited the Haseltine primary school in Lewisham, to undertake an exciting rocket design workshop with pupils from years 5 & 6. The day started with Simon giving an inspirational talk about space research and then setting out the challenge for the day. The pupils had to design and build a water rocket that was capable of launching an astronaut (an egg) into the air and bringing them back to Earth safely. The pupils had to investigate different materials and designs for use in the construction of their rockets and its safety features. The day was run as a ‘space race’, where each team was given a nation to represent (USSR, USA, Europe and China) and in this way the learnt about some of the unsung heroes of rocket science.

Festival of Imperial [Talk]

Date: Saturday 12th May,  Location: The Great Hall, Imperial College London

After the success of their show in January, the 3rd cohort of CQD students, were invited to repeat their oddities of physics show as part of the Festival of Imperial. The show took place in the great hall front of over 600 Imperial alumni and members of the public.

Festival of Imperial [Busking]

Date: Friday 11th and Saturday 12th May  Location: Imperial College Campus, Imperial College London

Students from the CQD were involved in the inaugural Festival of Imperial, a showcase of the research and talent that Imperial College has to offer. CQD students undertook science busking around the campus, and this involved a series of hands on demonstrations which allowed the visitors to get up close and personal to some exciting scientific experiments and explore the principles behind them.

Highgate Literary and Science Institute [Talk]

Date: Tuesday 24th April,  Location: HLSI, Highgate, London

Simon Foster spoke at the HLSI as part of their ‘let’s chat’ evening talks. Simon spoke about his research into solar variability and climate change, giving the participants an insight into the workings of our nearest star and its influence upon the Earth’s climate. The evening is arranged as a discussion and so has a relaxed and open feeling allowing all the participants to get involved.

Science show off [Talk]

Date: Tuesday 3rd April,  Location: Wilmington arms, London

Outreach officer Simon Foster took part in Science showoff, a cabaret night for communicators of science. Simon spoke about his life as a rocket scientist, and unveiling forgotten rocket scientists and their often lethal experiments. The night takes place in a pub in central London, and helps the public to engage with scientists in neutral environments as well as taping into peoples natural love and wonder for science.

CDT Festival of Science [Stand/busking]

Date: Friday 30th March,& nbsp; Location: Imperial College, London

Students from the CQD group undertook science busking and demonstrations for visitors to the first CDT festival of science. The aim of the day was to showcase the outreach being conducted by CQD students as well as aiming to inspire fellow students from other CDT’s to undertake outreach by sharing their ideas and passion for outreach. The day finished on a sweet note, with Aki Matsushima (former Masterchef contestant and CQD student) and fellow students making liquid nitrogen ice-cream.

It is Rocket Science [Talk/Workshop]

Date: National Science week (20th and 22nd March)

Location: Phoenix High School, Shepherds Bush, London & University College School, Hampstead, London

Simon Foster visited the schools to give a series of talks to KS3, KS4 and sixth form pupils about the history of rocket science, investigating in a hands-on way the science behind launching rockets, getting satellites into orbits, the issues surrounding manned space flight and getting a glimpse of futuristic rocket engines. By the end of the talk the audience could call themselves rocket scientists!

Careers day [Workshop]

Date: 1st March, Location: Camden School for Girls, London

Students from the CQD group and Simon Foster visited Camden School for Girls to discuss career opportunities in physics. We spoke about our experiences and what drove us to undertake a career in physics, giving the students a realistic insight into the life of a physicist.

Science speed dating [Workshop]

Date: 14th March 2012,  Location: Harris City Academy, Crystal Palace

Simon Foster visited the Harris City Academy to talk with students about the research conducted by the CQD as well as giving the students an insight into the life of a researcher at one of the countries leading universities. The workshop followed a ‘speed dating’ style format, with students visiting different speakers who came from a variety of scientific backgrounds. In this way it gave the students an important insight into the many different careers that a degree in science can prepare you for.

Oddities of Physics [Talk]

Date: 24th January 2012,  Location: SAF building, Imperial College London

The 3rd cohort of CQD students performed their oddities of physics show, in which each student demonstrates their favourite quirk of physics. The show took place in front of over 350 members of the public, ranging from school pupils to Imperial alumni. Footage of the show is available on youtube.


UCL Outreach Workshop [workshop]

Date: 18th March 2011,  Venue: University College London

Students from the Controlled Quantum Dynamics CDT shared their outreach experience by coaching students from the Centres for Doctoral Training at University College London. A day of outreach training was organized in collaboration with UCL in which a series of keynote lectures were followed by a practical activity wherein Imperial College students led UCL students in proposing their own outreach events. 

Big Bang Fair Science Festival [stand/busking]

Date: 10th and 11th March 2011,  Venue: Big Bang Science Festival: ExCeLs London

 In collaboration with the Institute of Physics, a group of CDT students presented demonstrations on a stand at the popular big bang science fair, which attracted a total of around 29,000 people. Students were able to develop their communication skills, and also participated in 'science busking', enhancing their one-on-one explaining abilities. 

Quantum Mechanics: Real Magic [talk]

Date: 25 January 2011,  Venue: Imperial College London                       

The first term project of the second cohort of CDT students. This show required each student to find and learn a magic trick that was somehow analagous to a strange property of quantum systems. Each student then presented a 5 minute talk, beginning with them presenting their magic trick and then explaining how such a trick can really be performed with quantum systems. 300+ members of the general public attended the talk. Click here to see highlights!


Holography workshop[workshop]

holography Date: 18th July 2010,  Venue: Croatia Summer School of Science

A workshop conducted at the Croatian summer school of science, in which high school students are taught the theory behind producing holograms (using computer programs holographyto simulate the effects of interference of light) before applying this knowledge to construct a variety of their own holograms. 

For more information see here. This workshop is a prototype that DTC students will be able to replicate with students visiting Imperial College in the future.

GSEPS keynote lecture: NERDOGANDA[talk]

Date: 13th July 2010,  Venue: Imperial College London

NERDS An invited talk at the Graduate Schools of Engineering and the Physical Sciences symposium. This talk outlines the importance of outreach to graduate students. After highlighting the need to recruit and inspire future scientists (lovingly referred to as nerds), the axioms of a programme of 'nerdoganda' are outlined, sugg esting a way in which graduates can successfully communicate their science to a wider audience.

Ninja Machine Workshop  [workshop]

Date: 5th July 2010,  Venue: Imperial College London  Workshopworkshop

Building on the work of the CQD DTC students in constructing a science-based Rube Goldberg machine, in this workshop high school (year 11) students employ simple scientific principles to build a Rube Goldberg machine of their own, with small groups of students being assigned different physical principles that they need to incorporate in their  piece of the contraption.This gives the students a chance to get real hands on experience of how science helps in solving problems.

Art outreach event[talk]

Date: 18 June 2010,   Venue: Goldsmiths College of Art

art outreach Two DTC students visited the Hammersmith College of Art to talk to artists about the scientific process and the relevance of science in art.

This event has led to a series of follow-up interactions, bringing artists into Imperial College to help them better understand science, and inspire them to actively popularize (accurately) through their work.



Exploring the oceans[talk]

Date: 13 June 2010,  Venue: Cheltenham Science Festival

exploring the oceans A talk written for a family audience and performed in collaboration with Peter Zeidman (University College London), Marieke Navin (Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester), Martin Coath (University of Plymouth) and Caroline Johnson (National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth).  The talk explores the amazing science behind the oceans, revealing how physics thrives in the sea, from floating on the surface, to the shoaling of fish, the and the way down to the weird appearances of deep sea creatures.

EPSRC How? Event[stand/busking]

Date: 29th April 2010,   Venue: Polaris House, Swindon

EPSRC How? An event designed to give ESPRC members of staff (from all backgrounds) an insight into the research EPSRC supports. Nicholas Harrigan helped students from the CQD and TSM DTC programmes put their outreach skills to work by showcasing their research at an attention grabbing set of stands. Using hands on demonstrations and careful explanations, students showed EPSRC staff what really gets them excited about research in the Doctoral Training Centres.

Everyday Fireworks[talk]

bubble funsDate: 28th April 2010,  Venue: Imperial College London: Creative Quarter 

A talk given as part of the Exhibition Road Creative Quarter event - designed to show the public t he interplay of science and art. The talk was written for high-school students at a critical point in deciding their futures. Designed to show them how science can reveal the wonder in our ev eryday lives, the talk demonstrated what really drives science, and how the principles of powerful cutting-edge science is manifest in the world all around us. Further information on the event can be found here, including a short video of the event compiled by the Imperia l communications centre that includes audience feedback.

Theatre of the Quantum Absurd[talk]

Date: 13th January 2010,   Venue: Imperial College London: SAF building

A sideshow of the strange and unbelievable nature of quantum mechanical systems, this was the first term project of the first cohort of CDT students. The talk was performed in collaboration with the Friends of Imperial charitable society. An audience of 200+ members of the general public attended. Students also met the public afterwards.

28th May 2010: Attendance at EPSRC run Advanced Media Skills workshop through NOISE program.

Workshop for developing communication with the media, which will assist the outreach officer in his own activities, as well as better facilitating student projects and helping to promote the DTC through various channels.

14th May 2010: Attendance at EPSRC run Vodcast Media workshop run through NOISE program.

Workshop for developing camera skills, which will assist the outreach officer in his own activities, as well as better facilitating student projects.

21st April 2010: Interview with Arash Mostofi for Thomas Young Center website.

Filming and editing interviews for use on Thomas Young we bsite, describing what the Thomas Young Centre is and what it can do for academic staff.

3 0th March 2010: Filming of PE lecture for presentation at conference.

Assisting Plastic Electronics in filming a lecture for use at a conference.

20th March 2010: 'Everyday Fireworks' lecture given at Imperial College Phys ics Society Einstein Day.

Lecture given twice during the day at Imperial College Physics Society Einstein Day. An earlier version of a talk later given at the Exhibition Road Creative Quarter. Designed to show students the wonder that physicists can find in everyday life.

16th March 2010: Talk and tour of Imperial College arranged with and conducted by Plastic Electronics students

Talk prepared and delivered by the Plastic Electronics DTC students with the help of the outreach officer.

23rd February 2010: Interview with PhD students for Thomas Young Centre website

Filming and editing interviews for use on Thomas Young Centre website, describing what the Thomas Young Centre is and what it can do for students.

22nd February 2010: Interview with PhD students for Thomas Young Center website

Filming and editing interviews for use on Thomas Young Centre website, describing what the Thomas Young Centre is and what it can do for students.

5th February 2010: Stall at Physics Department for undergraduate physics students to promote CQD and TSM DTC programmes

Promotional event disseminating information about the DTC programmes to the Imperial College undergraduates to raise awareness.

1st February 2010: Talk at Glasgow cafe scientific on quantum mechanics

A talk given in a Glasgow bar to a very general audience, using visual demonstrations to explain the mystery of quantum mechanics

27th January 2010: Talk at Senior Administrators Away Day.

A talk designed to help inform the senior administrators at Imperial College of the kind of science research that goes on at the college. The audience was amazingly keen to learn more about what goes on around them!

18th January 2010: Meeting with Marianne Talbot to discuss ethics courses for DTC programmes

Meeting to discuss plans to develop an ethics course for DTC students, geared very specifically to the kind of ethical issues that they are likely to encounter in their work. This workshop has since been further developed and is to be delivered in November 2010.

13th January 2010: CQD talk 'Circus of the quantum strange' performed for 200 members of general public through Friends of Imperial.

Performed by Nicholas Harrigan and the CQD cohort as part of their outreach training programme.