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Department of Physics and Astronomy

Families and the public

Families taking part in activities at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre
The Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre is a great place for families to get involved with science.

We are committed to enhancing public engagement with our research, and providing out-of-classroom education aimed at inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Our Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre organises a range of events and exhibitions, attracting 125,000 visitors each year, including 15,000 schoolchildren on education programmes.

Events such as Bluedot festival and ScienceX, and media appearances by our experts, allow us to further impact our knowledge and encourage new minds to become excited about science.

We also provide resources to the public to encourage everyone to engage with physics and astronomy.

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre

The Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre aims to inspire the next generation of scientists by engaging them with the research carried out at Jodrell Bank, and with the exciting history of scientific breakthroughs that inspired the creation of the Observatory.

Current exhibits highlight our research, including the work of the Lovell Telescope, pulsars, e-MERLIN, the CMB, black holes, gravitational lensing, stars, and the search for life. Our researchers work closely with the Centre in sessions such as the daily Meet an Astronomer during school holidays, and in the series of public Lovell Lectures, which are held quarterly.

The Discovery Centre won Cheshire Tourism Attraction of the Year in 2012.

The Jodcast

The Jodcast is a twice-monthly podcast that has been produced since 2006 by a team primarily composed of Manchester research students. The show features news, interviews with our researchers and prominent figures in the field of astronomy, and audience questions and answers.

There have been hundreds of episodes and special programmes, including reports from National Astronomy Meetings and occasional video episodes. The shows are regularly downloaded by well over 4,000 listeners.

Bluedot Festival

Each summer the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre organises and hosts Bluedot Festival, a weekend of music, science demonstrations, talks and immersive art.

The festival aims to inspire, entertain and explore and celebrate science and its advancements.

In 2011, under its former name, Live from Jorell Bank, the festival was awarded Best Outdoor Event at the national Event Awards, and in 2012 received an award for extreme creativity from a panel of industry judges at the UK Festival Awards for its extra activity of integrating science into the music event.

Resources for the public

Our researchers are committed to ensuring we provide information and resources that the public can benefit from, and we provide many of these through our Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics.

The Night Sky This Month gives a what's on guide to astronomical events occurring in the sky this month. We also provide information on the ways in which you can observe the night sky.

The Children's University of Manchester website includes a section on The Earth and Beyond, providing a range of interactives designed to teach basic astronomy concepts including day and night, the planets, and phases of the Moon.