Science in the Square

Satellite orbiting Earth © Cristian Andrei Matei

Be a scientist for the day in Falmouth

University of Exeter scientists from the Cornwall Campus are inviting local people to join them and become scientists for the day in Falmouth on Friday 17 August.

Part of Henri Lloyd Falmouth Week 2012, ‘Science in the Square’ will see Events Square, Falmouth house a marquee with free interactive sessions for all ages.

Between 12 and 4pm, visitors to the Square can explore our incredible planet ­ - from Africa’s Kalahari Desert to Cornwall’s rocky shores.

University of Exeter scientists from the Cornwall Campus will share their insights on topics ranging from birds and bats to outer space. Six special zones will give visitors the chance to examine skeletons, meet mini-beasts and come face to face with real bats and owls.

Professor Stuart Bearhop from the University of Exeter said: “Amazing science is happening here in Cornwall: we are working with NASA to study the Earth from Space, tracking marine life through the world’s oceans and unravelling the secrets of life through leading DNA research. We are also fortunate to live in a part of the country that provides such an inspirational environment for research. The events are suitable for all ages, but particularly for those with children of school age. This will be a great opportunity for us to share our passion for science with local people.”

Falmouth Town Manager and Chairman of Henri Lloyd Falmouth Week’s Shoreside committee, Richard Gates, said: "Science in the Square is an exciting new addition to  this year’s Henri Lloyd Falmouth Week. We are delighted to welcome the University of Exeter to the heart of Falmouth during this high-profile event to share their world-class research and the mysteries of the natural world with local residents and visitors alike. We are very fortunate to have such a wealth of expertise on our doorstep and the opportunity to work in partnership with one of the top universities in the country. I would also like to thank Southwest Bars & Events for their support in helping the university to make this happen – yet another example of successful community partnership in action.”

What's on?

12:30 Why on Earth? Meerkats...
Dr Sarah Hodge is an expert in how animals behave and in particular what family life is like for meerkats in the African Kalahari Desert.

13:30 What on Earth? Space...
Dr Karen Anderson is an expert in observing our planet from space and uses NASA technology to study the world in which we live.

14:30 How on Earth? Bats...
Bats are fascinating but difficult to see. Professor Dave Hosken uses police-style fingerprinting to uncover the mysteries of these weird and wonderful creatures.

15:30 Where on Earth? Birds...
Professor Stuart Bearhop is an expert in bird migration and uses CSI-style forensic science to work out where birds have been and what they eat.


Bone zone: discover skulls and skeletons, find out how limbs work and attempt the skeleton challenge.

Marine zone: meet the fascinating rocky-shore inhabitants that live right here in Falmouth

Live zone: get up close to live bats, including a noctule bat called Norman, and owls, including a barn owl and eagle owl courtesy of the Screech Owl Sanctuary.  Also have a go at dissecting owl pellets!

Mini beast zone: learn to use a microscope and explore the magical 'mini-beasts' of a garden pond

Earth zone: learn about the amazing ways that scientists monitor the natural Earth. Try on some 3D glasses and fly over Antarctica's ice sheets. Have a go at making your own space satellite. Chat to geomorphologists who have studied Iceland's volcanoes and look at some of the ash from a recent eruption!


  • bouncy castle
  • wildlife-themed face painting
  • colouring table
  • meerkat mask making
  • a treasure hunt

Date: 7 August 2012