British Science Week takes Imperial Scientists to Bournemouth

Twelve Imperial scientists hosted a Science Fair at a Dorset primary school as part of an annual celebration of science and engineering.

British Science Week is a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths which happens between 8 and 17 March 2024.

This year, to celebrate the diverse people and careers in science and engineering, a team of Imperial scientists travelled to Bournemouth to host a Science Fair at St Luke’s Church of England primary school and bring their work to pupils with interactive activities.

I absolutely loved it. Probably one of the best events the school has ever had! Elisa, pupil at St Luke’s CofE Primary, Bournemouth

The team, consisting of PhD students, Lecturers and Professors, work across a variety of topics using mathematical modelling to study infectious disease outbreaks, biotechnology, vaccine immunology, equity and ecology.

At the fair children simulated a disease outbreak and experimented with the impact of interventions. They also played a card game learning about a wide range of infectious diseases, as well as an animal matching game to find out more about diseases and how they are transmitted.

It has inspired our children and has helped them realise that becoming a scientist is a very real possibility! Rob Taylor

During the day, each class visited the fair and at the end of the school day pupils had the opportunity to take their parents along. Pupils, parents and teachers showed their creative side using playdough to show what microbes could look like. This resulted in the most wonderful pieces of art.

Over the course of British Science Week, each class also connected online with an Imperial scientist to speak about who they are, how and why they became a scientist, followed by a Q&A. The researchers were blown away by the curiosity of pupils and their questions about the world we live in.

Dr Ilaria Dorigatti, one of the volunteers at the science fair and a senior lecturer at Imperial’s MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, said: " It was such a fulfilling experience to be able to share my passion for science with the kids of St. Luke’s. It was mind-blowing to experience the children’s innate curiosity and see them thinking about the biggest problems of our society including climate change, disease emergence and global health! "

Rob Taylor, Science Curriculum Lead at St Luke’s CofE Primary School, said: " The science day was a huge success. The children are still talking about it days after the event and it has helped facilitate so many interesting conversations. It has inspired our children and has helped them realise that becoming a scientist is a very real possibility!"