Imperial College London

Department of Materials gifts five hundred books to primary schools in the UK


An image of the book cover for Nano

The Department of Materials has collaborated with the Royal Academy of Engineering to send five hundred copies of 'Nano' to schools in the UK.

Dr Jessica Wade is an Imperial College Research Fellow in the Department of Materials. In April 2020, Dr Wade published a book called 'Nano: The Spectacular Science of the Very (Very) Small'. The non-fiction picture book, published by Walker Books Ltd, aims to introduce children to the world of nanotechnology and materials science.

Nanotechnology encompasses the study of physics, chemistry and materials. It is a field of research focused on building materials from to bottom-up, on the scale of atoms and molecules. This includes transformative research into targeted drug delivery, efficient solar panels and the pixels of a mobile phone screen.

A special delivery for school children

The Department of Materials has organised the delivery of five hundred copies of 'Nano' to disadvantaged primary schools in the U.K. This initiative was organised by Dr Eleonora D'Elia, Senior Teaching Fellow for Outreach in the Department of Materials, in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering and the book publisher Walker Books Ltd.

The books were delivered to schools through the RAEng Connecting STEM Teachers programme. The free annual programme supports teachers and school coordinators by creating 150,000 STEM experiences for pupils in approximately 900 schools every year.

Yasmine Fahmy, the STEM Resource Writer/Developer at the Royal Academy of Engineering, commented: 

"We are thrilled to be able to send the ‘Nano’ book to schools across the country that are part of our Connecting STEM Teachers programme along with our recently launched resource, ‘This is Engineering: Sustainable Futures’.  

The Connecting STEM Teachers programme is an entirely free programme, where the focus is to engage with schools in areas where the social and economic status is low, to increase the appeal of engineering careers amongst underrepresented young people and to share contextualised learning resources with teachers across both primary and secondary schools and all STEM subjects to support them in delivering a STEM curriculum."

Raising awareness of Materials Science in schools

Materials Science is a subject not explicitly taught in primary or secondary schools. Therefore, a key priority is raising awareness of the discipline to the younger generation.

Dr Wade collaborated with the award-winning artist Melissa Castrillón to design the engaging and colourful illustrations for the picture book.

She said: "Picture books are an incredible way to introduce young people (and their parents, carers or teachers) to how exciting science can be.

I don’t think there are enough books about materials science or chemistry for children, which seems silly, as these fields are fascinating, rapidly evolving and will help solve most of the world’s challenges.

With Nano, we didn’t just want to write another book of ‘Amazing Science Facts’; we wanted to show that science is a journey… and one where we need lots of different people to get as many great ideas as possible."

Learn more about Nano: The Spectacular Science of the Very (Very) Small and the RAEng Connecting STEM Teachers programme.

Listen to an interview with Dr Wade for the Imperial Podcast in December 2021.


Kayleigh Brewer

Kayleigh Brewer
Department of Materials


Materials, Engineering-Materials
See more tags

Leave a comment

Your comment may be published, displaying your name as you provide it, unless you request otherwise. Your contact details will never be published.