School of Physical Sciences

Physical Sciences Outreach

The School of Physical Sciences Department at the University of Kent has a large and well established Outreach programme. The aim of our Outreach Team is to engage the wider community with Chemistry, Forensic Science and Physics, and inspire future scientists.

Who we are

The University of Kent is part of SEPnet, the South East Physics Network, a network of universities working together to promote physics through developing and delivering high-quality outreach.

The University of Kent is also supported in this vision by The Ogden Trust, a charitable organisation whose aims are to maximise the opportunities available to young people in all parts of the UK’s educational system (with a focus on physics) as well as to support the teaching and learning of physics.


What we do

We offer a variety of FREE outreach activities to local schools and colleges, for a range of ages.

Due to demand, we limit our off-campus visits to educational sites within a 1 hour travel time of the university by car.

You can book for one of our activities via this website.

A list of our available dates until May 2018 can be found on the right next to the calendar.

You will receive an email within a week confirming your booking.

To keep up to date with all of our activities please fill in this online form or contact for more information.

Cool Science

An interactive Liquid Nitrogen show that includes information on extreme cold and living tissue, the liquid to gas expansion, and material properties at low-temperature. It is suitable for students in Years 7 - 9, with plenty of opportunities for members of the audience to participate.

It is recommended that this 45-60 minute session should engage with 30-60 students at a time but larger groups can be accommodated. Venues must be ventilated to the outside.

cool-physics photos

Photographs courtesy of Discovery Planet


Mobile Planetarium

Requirements: 8m x 8m floor space and 3.7m ceiling clearance.
Maximum capacity: 35 people, including both students and teachers.

45 minute presenter led shows available, including Short films created by NSC Creative – ‘We are Astronomers’, and ‘We are Aliens’; and tours through the visible night sky using the software Stellarium.

Stellarium is a free piece of software available to download at

KS3: The Sum, the Solar System and Artificial Satellites

GCSE: Stellar life cycle, Doppler Effect, Black Holes

A-Level: Stellar life cycle, Galaxies, Cosmology, the Universe

Due to the time and effort required to transport and inflate the dome, the sessions must reach at least 90 students, i.e. 3 shows. We will do a maximum of 6 shows per day. Please remember to timetable breaks.

If we are not able to come to you there are other mobile planetariums available at the universities of Hertfordshire, Sussex, Southampton and Portsmouth. If none are available please visit the British Association of Planetaria to find an alternative (


During this workshop students will be tasked with measuring and determining multiple aspects of bullet trajectories for different sizes of weaponry such as

  • Angle of incline
  • Speed of projectile
  • Projectile travel distance

It is recommended that this 45-60 minute session should engage with a maximum of 30 students at a time from KS5 only.


E-Fit VI

On Campus Only

E-Fit is facial composite software that was developed by researchers at the University of Kent, it is the standard used in the UK. Students will be tasked with working in pairs to create a facial composite of a suspected criminal after watching a short video clip. The students will learn techniques in gathering witness statements and using the software.

It is recommended that this 60 minute session should engage with a maximum of 30 students at a time from KS5. This workshop is only available at the Canterbury campus as part of a Forensics taster session. For more information, please contact


A practical workshop where students will create semiconductors using inorganic nanotechnology techniques routinely used in the manufacturing of computer chips. Students will use photolithography – the process of using light to transfer a pattern onto a surface – to create their own printed circuit board. Following which they will apply some simple analytical processes to their product.

It is recommended that this 60-90 minute session should engage with a maximum of 30 students at a time from KS5 only. Schools will need to provide equipment on this list (pdf).


Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED)

- On Campus Only

A practical workshop where students will create an organic compound using synthetic chemistry used in many of our everyday electronics like mobile phones and televisions. Students will synthesise their own OLED and watch it fluoresce under Ultra-Violet light.

The students may be able to perform a full analysis of their work (including IR, NMR and UV-Vis methods); however this must be arranged in advance and will only be available on specific dates.

It is recommended that this 60-90 minute session should engage with a maximum of 30 students at a time from KS5 only. This experiment is only available at the Canterbury campus as part of a Chemistry taster session. For more information, please contact

Summer Residential Schools

Chemistry and Forensics Headstart residential summer schools

Headstart is a facet of the Education Development Trust (EDT) that has the backing of professional bodies, major global industries, charitable organisations and the armed forces to provide summer residential courses for 17 years old with a mathematics or scientific background that want to apply their skills and knowledge to problems and challenges. The students attend lectures and take part in hands-on lab projects throughout the duration of the residential hosted on the University of Kent Canterbury campus.

Please visit the Headstart website for more details about the course and how to apply.

Please note that all applications for these two courses must be done through the Headstart website, not through the University.


Space School

3rd – 5th of August 2018 (applications will open in January 2018 through the link below)

Space School is one of the department’s longest running events having begun in 1999.

Space School is a three day residential in astronomy and space science event at the University of Kent for 15-18 year olds.

Participants will have the chance to take part in all the usual fantastic activities such as observation evenings with the department's telescopes (including the new state of the art Beacon Observatory), rocket design, building and launch, as well as spending time working on space science and astronomy projects with academics and postgraduate students.

For more details please visit the main website


Salter's Festival of Chemistry

The Salter’s Festival of Chemistry is a competition day for year 8 students hosted at the University of Kent Canterbury campus. Sign up through the teacher link on the outreach homepage if you would like to be sent more information in the New Year.


IOP Evening Lectures

These are a series of lectures given by eminent academics and professionals on a variety of topics. The talks are held on the University of Kent Canterbury campus at 7pm on a Tuesday night in the Rutherford lecture Theatre 1 (unless otherwise stated). For a list of the upcoming talks see here (pdf).

Primary Particle Physics

A recent new addition to the SPS Outreach Program, developed by staff at the University of Birmingham, this workshop gets students thinking about the inner workings of atoms and how scientists discover what atoms are made of when they can’t see the particles themselves.

The workshop consists of a few different hands on activities that include an interactive talk about particle discovery, the option to design and make your own particle to take home with you, as well as play games such ‘Happy Families’ and ‘Snap’ but with a particle physics twist.

The workshop is suitable for a maximum of 30 students and can be done in half a day or across a whole day.

The University of Kent, School of Physical Sciences holds student data in accordance with the Data Protection Act. We collect the Name, Date of Birth, Gender, Home Postcode, and School Name of all students we have outreach contact with. It is the responsibility of the school to collect this information and ensure that they have the consent of the students/parents to share it with us.

We collect the student data for three main reasons:

For the purpose of monitoring, which allows us to fulfil compulsory external reporting requirements to regulatory bodies such as the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), as well as giving us a clear picture of the activities we deliver and people we work with.

For the purpose of evaluation, which helps us assess the effectiveness of different initiatives on widening participation to HE. This includes long-term tracking of participants’ education journeys, which lets us see how many of the students who participate in our activities go on to university. For this purpose, this data may be shared with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Higher Education Statistics Agency or the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and our partners including colleges, Higher Education Access Tracker service subscribers, Connexions and the National Data Service. We will not release data to any unauthorised third parties.

For the purpose of contextualised admissions, the University may use this data to inform and support its decision making process; the University does not make lower offers to applicants on the basis on this data, but may use broader contextual information and data to help inform final confirmation decisions.

Students have the right to opt out of sharing their data at any time, please contact to do this. They also have the right to a copy of the data held about them by us, for a small fee. Requests should be made in writing to The Data Protection Officer, Room G1 The Registry, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NZ.

School of Physical Sciences, Ingram Building, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NH

Enquiries: contact us

Last Updated: 14/09/2017