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Wheels in motion for National Science and Engineering Week

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The turning of the planet, travel around the world, and speeding molecules are among the topics at this year’s National Science and Engineering Week, which will leave your head spinning.

The theme for this year’s National Science and Engineering Week – which takes place from 9 - 18 March - is “Our World In Motion”, looking at the Earth, its inhabitants and societies, our bodies, speed machines, to even the tiniest molecules.

Organised regionally by Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield, in collaboration with schools, museums, industry and commerce, the festival is a national celebration of the very best in British research and innovation.

Dr Richard Walton, reader in education at Sheffield Hallam University and director of the STEM programme in South Yorkshire, said: "National Science and Engineering Week is a national celebration of the very best of British research and innovation.

"Once again South Yorkshire's programme is one of the largest in the country and is sure to be an excellent opportunity for people to learn new and exciting things about science and technology. We are very grateful for the efforts made by the large team of volunteers who consistently provide exciting and stimulating events for children and the public."

Professor Tony Ryan OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Science at the University of Sheffield, said: "We are delighted to take part in the huge outreach to primary and secondary schools and the great British public during National Science and Engineering Week. The event gives thousands of people the chance to get involved in a wide range of subjects spanning mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology and engineering, allowing us to share the thrill of looking at life's interesting questions from the perspective of a scientist or engineer."

From taking a geological tour around Sheffield City centre, to learning of the health benefits of eating fruit and vegetables, there is something for everyone in this year’s programme.

Among the highlights are:

  • Dr Karen Vernon-Parry from Sheffield Hallam's Materials and Engineering Research Institute will talk about the chemical elements found in electronic gadgets and devices, and some of the sustainability issues that arise from our love of such devices.
  • Dr Tim Richardson from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, who recently completed back to back lectures for 24 hours to raise money for charity, will be giving a family-themed lecture on the science of rotation, including the Earth, the Moon, electrons in atoms, marbles that roll down a ramp, and much more.
  • Researchers from the Biomedical Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam will explain how they have investigated the potential of natural agents in fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, rhubarb and red cabbage, to help in the fight against cancer.
  • Science Brainwaves, based at the University of Sheffield, will explore the dynamic nature of the Earth beneath our feet, investigating the forces behind earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. An interactive reception will follow the lecture where there will be chance to get hands on with some fun science experiments and craft-making.
  • Dr Roger Doonan, of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology, will take audiences back in time when he hosts a lecture titled “Quick! Let’s Get Out of Here!” on the origins of the ‘ultimate invention’ - the wheel - and its development throughout the ages.
  • Inventor Duncan Miller will demonstrate the practical science behind some of most important technology of the last 200 years, at Sheffield Hallam's Peak Lecture Theatre.
  •  “Are We Nearly There Yet? Child migrants in the Viking age” will see Dr Katie Hamer, of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology,  discuss the role of children in Viking migration.

This year’s programme includes a series of lectures, exhibitions and hands-on activities designed to bring members of the general public, schools, colleges and communities into contact with inspiring displays of science and technology.

For venue and ticketing information for all the events visit

The Sheffield Global Manufacturing Festival, which takes place from 14-24 March, has also linked up with National Science and Engineering Week where manufacturing companies across the region will be opening their doors to young people in an effort to inspire and nurture the UK's next generation of manufacturing and engineering talent.

For press information contact: Joe Field on 0114 225 2074 or email