The Twinkle team was delighted to participate once again in Your Universe, UCL’s annual festival of astronomy and particle physics, from 2-4 March. Your Universe features lectures, panel discussions, live demonstrations and opportunities to observe through telescopes, with activities aimed at primary and secondary schools as well as members of the general public. The event is the brainchild of the indefatigable Dr Francisco Diego and has been running since 2008. This year, there was even higher demand and an extra 150 primary school students attending, taking total attendance to over 650.
For Twinkle, Your Universe is a chance to share our enthusiasm for our mission and see directly the inspirational capacity of the search to understand worlds beyond our Solar System. It’s also a further opportunity for the young PhD and Post Doc researchers associated with our team to demonstrate their communication skills. As Francisco Diego points out, “A real highlight of Your Universe is seeing the students interacting with the schools. They are really professional and it shows in the feedback. The feedback from teachers has been very, very positive.”
Best of all, this is an opportunity to show schools that science is about discovery and unanswered questions, not just static information to learn from a text book. For Twinkle, the ongoing discovery of exoplanets – such as some of the Earth-sized planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system – means an ever more interesting choice of potential targets. For the scientists and engineers of the future, some of whom may have visited the Twinkle stand over the past few days, there is the opportunity see how they could be the ones to take our understanding of these distant worlds to the next level as the fledgling field of exoplanet research reaches maturity.
Many thanks to Tom, Daniel, Katy, Bex, Laura and Claudio for their time and for doing a fantastic job staffing the Twinkle stand.