Nov 112016


Concept Cartoons – 6th February 2017


SSERC, Dunfermline

stuart_nStuart Naylor, one of the principal authors of Science Concept Cartoons Set 2, is due to deliver this ‘twilight’ professional development session. Aimed at learners in the age range 10-16, this new resource for Chemistry, Biology and Physics covers topics including earth and space, living things and their environments, physical and chemical changes.

Concept Cartoons are designed to introduce science concepts in everyday settings. Each character has a different opinion about science being discussed. All of the possible answers are plausible and highlight common learner misconceptions. Learners are invited to join in with the discussion happening in the science Concept Cartoon.


The book and CD of Science Concept Cartoons Set 2 both contain 156 Concept Cartoons covering the main areas of science. Background text, written in pupil-friendly language, is available for each Concept Cartoon. A blank speech bubble on each Science Concept Cartoon encourages learners to add additional ideas.

Fee: The fee for the course is £135 to include a copy of the book and CD of Science Concept Cartoons Set 2 as well as a site license meaning that all teachers can use the resource in their teaching. Light refreshments will be provided on arrival.

Applications: The closing date for applications is 25th January 2017.


Feb 222016

Capture“Listening to Einstein’s Universe: the hunt for gravitational waves”

Professor Martin Hendry (University of Glasgow and LIGO Scientific Collaboration)

The spring series of Institute of Physics Scotland public lectures in Glasgow begins on Thursday 25th February at 6pm, with a special lecture on the discovery of gravitational waves.   This lecture will be accessible to S1 and upwards.   It is hoped that the lecture will be recorded.

One hundred years ago Albert Einstein predicted the existence of invisible gravitational waves – ripples in spacetime produced by some of the most violent events in the universe: exploding stars, colliding black holes, perhaps even the Big Bang itself.   By the time these ripples reach the Earth, however, they are incredibly weak, and have never been detected directly – until now.

On September 14th 2015 two giant laser interferometers known as LIGO, the most sensitive scientific instruments ever built, detected gravitational waves from the merger of a pair of massive black holes more than a billion light years from the Earth.   LIGO estimated that the peak gravitational-wave power radiated during the final moments of this merger was more than ten times greater than the combined light power from all the stars and galaxies in the observable Universe.

Join Professor Martin Hendry as he recounts the inside story of this remarkable discovery – hailed by many as the scientific breakthrough of the century. Learn about the amazing technology behind the LIGO detectors, which can measure the signatures of spacetime ripples less than a million millionth the width of a human hair, and explore the exciting future that lies ahead for gravitational-wave astronomy as we open an entirely new window on the Universe.

The lecture is in Lecture Theatre 2 of the Boyd Orr Building, University Avenue, on the main campus of Glasgow University. (You can find the Boyd Orr Building on the campus map at

Lecture is free and open to all, and is organised in collaboration with Glasgow University Physoc and Astrosoc.

The full spring programme will be available shortly, and will feature another special lecture in May, at the Technology and Innovation Centre of Strathclyde University.   Watch this space!

Feb 122016


Yesterday was an exciting day in the science world, when the detection of gravitational waves was announced. Scottish scientists were heavily involved in the collaboration which detected the gravitational waves.

For more information on gravitational waves, check out these links…

A summary of the work can be found here.

Jan 182016

Major Tim Peake, the first astronaut representing the UK to carry out a spacewalk, has described the experience as ‘exhilarating’.

Peake and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra ventured outside the International Space Station on Friday 15 January to replace a broken voltage regulator. The pair were outside the space station for almost five hours and managed to replace the broken piece of equipment, but the operation needed to be cut short after water leaked into Kopra’s helmet.

About four hours after becoming the first Briton to walk in space, Peake tweeted three pictures of the experience and shared his feelings on looking down and seeing Earth from space.

Today’s exhilarating #spacewalk will be etched in my memory forever – quite an incredible feeling!

Watch the Twig film Man on The Moon: Part 1 to discover more about space missions. Alternatively, watch the Tigtag film Filtration on the ISS to find out more about life in space (a Glow login is required to access these videos).

Twig, Tigtag and Tigtag Junior are available to all educators and learners in Scotland via the Glow Launch Pad.

Register to receive further e-bulletins from Twig Newsdesk and Tigtag Topical Science.

Keep up to date with Tim Peake during his 6 month mission on the ISS by following @astro_timpeake on Twitter.

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Dec 172015

Rocket Science LogoOf the many and various items that British ESA astronaut Tim Peake has taken aboard the International Space Station, you may not have considered 2kg of rocket seeds being among them. The seeds are staying with Tim for 6 months and packs will be allocated to registered schools on their return to Earth.

Schools can register interest in packs which will contain some of these space rocket seeds and a comparative set of seeds that have stayed on Earth. It will give pupils the chance to be space biologists and investigate how space effects the growth of plants.


Along with the seeds, schools and other educational organisations will be able to use a comprehensive suite of teaching and learning resources that are being developed by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and Science and Plants for schools. Resources for both primary and secondary schools will be available, and will include suggestions on scientific investigations and experiments inspired by the project and even details on how to design and build a table top Mars greenhouse.

Follow the link below to find out more about getting involved!


Dec 052015

BLAST OFF LIVE – 15th December 2015 BBC coverage starts at 10.30am

Watch it live on BBC One and live streamed at

Tim Peake is the first British ESA astronaut to fly to the International Space Station. He launches at 11.02am on Tueday 15 December from Kazakhstan. His six-month mission provides a unique context for classroom activities to inspire all your pupils.

The UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency have put together an education and outreach programme that spans a broad range of subjects and age ranges, all linked to the Principia mission. These activities can be found here.

Glasgow Science Festival and Three Minute Learning have been funded to develop their online science and literacy resource 3ml, in support of Principia, and offer it free to all Scottish schools.  If you would like a 3ml test account, please send your name, email and school to

Nov 302015

SSSLOGO_SMThe Rationale

Science and technology play a large part in all our lives and in the economy of Scotland, and the Space School seeks to inspire the next generation to pursue science related courses of study, and consider careers in science and technology.

The Objectives

  • Provide inspiration, increase motivation and raise aspirations of young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)
  • Encourage more students to study STEM subjects at National 4, National 5, Higher level and University
  • Promote the wide range of career opportunities in science and technology
  • Increase self-confidence through the development of high quality communication, team-building and problem solving skills

The History

Since its inception in 2002 1706 pupils from high schools across Scotland have taken part in the Scottish Space School, with approximately 900 now employed in well paid jobs with prospects in science and technology.

The Programme

The current programme comprises a week long residential summer school with an eclectic mix of lectures, labs and workshops all on a space theme, delivered by leading academics and researchers, and supported by NASA astronauts and engineers.

The top 10 students will be selected for a 7-day Learning Journey to Johnson Space Center in Houston in October.

The Scottish Space School at Strathclyde is open to S5 pupils in all Scottish schools.

More information can be found here.

Nov 172015

The Royal Institution have announced the 2015 Christmas lecturer as being Dr Kevin Fong, an expert in space medicine. Fong

This year’s Christmas lectures will be based around ‘How to survive in space’ and is due to be broadcast on BBC Four during the festive season.

In celebration of Tim Peake’s impending launch to the International Space Station (ISS), the lectures will focus around the discoveries and achievements in space science and engineering.

Tim’s expedition to the ISS will begin with an intense eight and a half minute journey to Low Earth Orbit. The first lecture will examine this critical stage of Tim’s long six hour space flight and will reveal the science and engineering work behind these tense moments.

Lectures two and three will look at the day-to-day life in space, as well as learning how science can help astronauts survive those lengthy space explorations.

For more information about Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station, visit the dedicated Tim Peake page.

The photograph of Kevin Fong is taken from The Royal Institution.

Oct 152015

In December 2015 Tim Peake launches to the International Space Station (ISS) and will become the first British European Space Agency Astronaut to visit. Whilst there, in amongst many science and engineering activities, he will take part in research to understand how the body reacts to being in space for long periods of time.

Whilst living on the ISS Astronauts come into contact with radiation from a variety of sources. Particle detectors developed at CERN are on the ISS. These detectors measure the type – alpha, beta, gamma, etc. – direction and energy of radiation. Through this project you will be given access to this data to carry out your own research. 

This project offers schools the unique opportunity to access Timepix detector data from the ISS during Tim’s stay. Where possible schools will also have the chance to host a Timepix detector to carry out their own experiments. By taking part in this project schools will contribute to research that will improve our understanding of radiation in space.

Participating schools will be provided with:

  • A research guide offering background information and starting points for experiments and data analysis;
  • An opportunity for a teacher to attend a CPD session in the autumn of 2015 to find out more about the technology and data;
  • A chance to share and exhibit their work at a research symposium in 2016.

More information can be found here.


Oct 012015

Since its United Nations declaration in 1999, World Space Week has grown into the largest public space event on Earth. More than 1,400 events in 80 countries celebrated the benefits of space and excitement about space exploration in 2014. The theme “Discovery” aims to inspire even more events around the world in October 2015.

World Space Week 2015 highlights the great era of deep space discovery that we are in. We have never learnt as much of the universe we live in as in the last decade. Space telescopes, deep space probes and several interplanetary satellites and landers have shown us the magic, wonders and opportunities of new worlds. Exoplanets, galaxies far away and close by and landings on planets, moons, asteroids and comets teach us about where we humans have come from and where we will go in the future. Space is all about Discovery!

More information on World Space Week can be found here.

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