Public outreach activities
Members of SWAT, as part of the SP²RC outreach plan, are actively involved in Public Understanding of Science programmes. Its members strongly believe that public appreciation of their scientific activities is very important for the overall impact and health of their research work.
We have put considerable effort into publicising our solar research to non-specialists nationally and internationally. The satisfaction and joy from reaching out to school children and the general public has been instrumental in our continued good practice towards many other educational programmes.
We are proud to have achieved success in electronic and traditional media in the last couple of years.
In the media
News items about our research have attracted considerable attention around the world, with one being Yahoo's leading news for a whole day.
Published news items have included:
These articles consist of brief descriptions of research work in the field of MHD wave physics by research associates and postgraduate students of Professor Robert von Fay-Siebenburgen.
Robert also gave numerous solar physics interviews from the BBC to broadcasters in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Italy, Hungary and the USA.
Professor Robert von Fay-Siebenburgen, together with academic colleagues, research associates and PhD students, organised two STFC supported international undergraduate summer schools in particle physics, astronomy and astrophysics.
Both activities lasted for an entire month in 2006 and 2007, and were open to anyone worldwide.
Engaging young people
Dr R Jain, representing the entire SP²RC, was invited to take part in one of the exhibits of the “Time and Space” project at Royal Observatory, Greenwich which opened for school children and the general public in 2007.
We are also involved in school education programmes. This includes giving talks to schools during National Science week and across the year.
We are an active member of the Friends of Solar Pyramid society representing SWAT and SP²RC, which plans to design the world’s largest sundial and UK’s biggest piece of art.
A member was invited to feature as a role model for young pupils who need inspiration and encouragement to take up Astronomy and Geophysics as their career. Information was printed in a leaflet prepared by RAS and STFC which was sent out to hundreds of schools in England.
Helping the public understanding of science
One of the most difficult tasks in any research is to write a simple, yet comprehensive, description of the field for non-specialists.
Dr Ballai and Professor Robert von Fay-Siebenburgen have published a number of reviews for the general public (Coronal Heating, Helioseismology; MHD Waves).
We were also involved in outreach of UK’s solar system science in the context of the IHY and informing the general public via a public-facing website (CCLRC Agreement ref: 4150019, Period: 1 September 2006 – 31 August 2008).
Finally, Professor Robert von Fay-Siebenburgen has been invited by the University Media Team to join the University's online Expert Guide. This is used frequently by the Media Team and journalists to source academic experts to comment on topical news stories. Those listed are willing to be interviewed by the media at short notice.
SWAT’s active participation of many of STFC's sponsored schools has been very popular and always has a positive impact on students and staff. We have held lectures for undergraduate and postgraduate students (in 2006, 2007 and 2009), and for national and international students and research associates.
Students acquiring an overall view of the research problems straight from the leading experts often feel inspired to do a PhD in these areas.