The Lyell Centre opens its doors for virtual weekend


Members of the public will get a rare chance to take a look behind the scenes of the Lyell Centre later this month.

Staff from the British Geological Survey and Heriot-Watt University who work at the Lyell will be offering free, online tours and talks on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 September 2020, as part of the annual Doors Open Days weekend in Edinburgh. All of this will be virtual and accessed online from the Lyell Centre website.

The Lyell Centre carries out world-leading research in land and marine conservation, geology and geoscience, and this event provides an opportunity to learn from the experts, including leading scientists and engineers, about how it contributes to understanding the Earth.

‘Visitors’ will be able to join virtual ‘tours’ of some of the facilities at the Lyell; learn how the Earth’s magnetic field is created and why the North magnetic pole moves; find out about the Centre’s involvement with an exciting geothermal energy project in Iceland and see around some innovative scientific equipment which explores the seabed.

Dr Tracy Shimmield, Director of the Lyell Centre, said: “This year, our involvement in Doors Open Days is very different from before but we are excited to still be able to share some of our work with the public using a digital platform. Technology and innovation is a key component of the work undertaken at the Lyell Centre, and we hope that by providing entry virtually this year, we’ll open our doors to even more people than usual.

“The event is free, so it’s a fun and easy opportunity for anyone with an interest in marine conservation, geoscience and geology to explore some of the fascinating work that goes on behind the scenes.”

Dr Laura Wicks, Public Engagement Lead at Heriot-Watt University, said: “In these unprecedented times, it’s even more important for us to engage and inspire our communities with the research we undertake. It’s a great chance to give an insight to what goes into our research, which is usually out of public view, and most importantly, why the research matters.”

The Lyell Centre is a partnership between Heriot-Watt University and the British Geological Survey, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Scottish Funding Council and Heriot-Watt University.

The magnetic field webinar will be live at 11am on Saturday 26 September and can be booked through Eventbrite. All other tours and webinars can be accessed at any time over the weekend of 26 and 27 September from All tours and webinars are free.

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Craig McManamon