Libby’s Lab aims to address gender and cultural stereotypes associated with scientists.

Leading earth scientists release free educational application

Have you ever wondered how to make a volcano erupt in your front room, or wished you could make your own goo? You too can now take part in a variety of fun scientific experiments using the new, free, educational application ‘Libby’s Lab’.

Developed by the University of Exeter’s world-leading female geoscientist Dr Claire Belcher and WildFIRE Lab Graduate, Olivia Whittle, Libby’s Lab was created to provide an accessible and interactive way to engage children of all ages, sexes and backgrounds in science.

Inspired by the 80’s TV show, ‘Cooking with Mother’, Libby’s Lab provides a set of fun, guided, do-at-home science experiments that teach children and parents about a multitude of different ways in which the planet functions.

A recognised leader in communicating science in an accessible way, Dr Belcher is committed to promoting role models who go against the gender and cultural stereotypes often associated with Physical Scientists, stressing that Libby’s Lab is based on the principle that “Science is for all”.

“We feel it’s important to make being a scientist obtainable and that all people should be represented, regardless of disability, ethnic background, social status or gender; we hope that Libby’s Lab will foster the next generational to think they can make it as a scientist too”.

“Our aim was to creature a culture that would mean children would perceive that science is for anyone who feels they enjoy it”.

As female scientists are traditionally underrepresented in Physical Geography, Libby’s Lab is fronted by a female character (Libby) and features many female academics. The App also features scientists from different nationalities highlighting that scientific excellence crosses both gender and borders. Dr Belcher said:

“Our main motivation was to create something that is simply fun for children and their families to do, so that they can explore Earth science and become as passionate as we are about it. But also we wanted children to grow up perceiving there are no barriers to taking part in science, by showing that gender or nationality doesn’t determine what you should do. We have tried to make Libby’s Lab as much for boys as it is for girls and welcoming to all.”

Dr Belcher and Olivia Whittle hope that the App will reach families in time for the school holidays, noting many of the experiments make great rainy-day family fun.Additionally, the app is designed to be ideal for Junior School teachers and summer schools may be interested in using Libby’s Lab as a free, easy, and engaging guide to conducting class experiments.

Libby’s Lab is now freely available to download from the Apple Store.

Date: 29 July 2015