Liquid Crystals

Public Engagement Activities

The Liquid Crystals Group get involved in a wide range of outreach activities and have also published many useful resources to explain the key ideas behind liquid crystals and their applications. See sections below for download links.

Forthcoming events

Events are run on request, please contact us for further information or to suggest a project.

Introduction to liquid crystals

An introduction to liquid crystals, written for the public and published by the Manchester Lit and Phil society can be found here.

How to make a liquid crystal thermometer

Run on request, school children are taught about some properties of liquid crystals as well as some optics and other key physics concepts. This laboratory session culminates in a device that they can take home to amaze their family and friends!

Public Lectures

Dr Dierking give lectures to the public on topics relating to liquid crystals and fractals. Contact them for further details of current opportunities.

Royal Society Exhibition

In 2010, the liquid crystal group held an exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Science event named “living cells and flat-screen TVs.

The event proved to be a terrific way to engage the public, with an estimated 30,000 attending the Summer Science Exhibition and 10,000 actively engaged with the liquid crystal stand. The public, ranging from school kids, families, and teachers all the way to academics, peers, and the Fellows of the Royal Society, were invited to view the latest about liquid crystal research, ask questions, and be entertained by hands-on experiments. These ranged from simple experiments on birefringence to the magic of beetles reflecting circularly polarised light.

A wide range of resources were produced for this exhibit. Here are some links to a series of leaflets produced explaining the key ideas in liquid crystals and their applications:

Big Bang Festival

Dr Ingo Dierking was the main organiser of an exhibition of liquid crystals and their properties at the 2011 Big Bang science exhibition at the ExCel in London. The exhibition was collaboration between the Universities of Manchester, Sheffield Hallam, and Southampton. An estimated 30.000 pupils from schools and members of the public attended the "Big Bang". 

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