Heriot-Watt academics and research students take part in range of activities to support British Science Week. In 2017, we have two projects sharing our reseach with guides, brownies and school children in the Scottish Western Isles.

Guides and Brownies meet the Robots

Guides and Brownies from across Scotland will be invited to visit Heriot-Watt and meet some of our robots and the scientists working to create the future! Girls will work in small groups to undertake a robotic challenge, assisted by current female undergraduate and PhD students.

Girls will also meet scientists behind the latest breakthroughs in robotics, with discussive talks from leaders in the field, both male and female. A series of take-home activities will also be designed, and made available to the visiting guides, as well as online to girl guides across the UK.

Robotics at Heriot-Watt spans interdisciplinary themes, from the ethics and challenges for minority groups (such as the deaf community interacting with robots), to underwater surveying, and healthcare systems. Girls will learn how different skills and expertise are needed in the robotics field, from builders and programmers, to philosophers and artists.

Sponsored by Baker Hughes, Total and the British Science Association.

SeaBeasties

School kids from the Isles of Sky, Bute and South Uist will be taking part in a seabeasties hunt with top Scottish marine scientists for British Science Week.

P6 and P7 pupils will join marine scientists from Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh on the She Sees Beasties on the Seashore project, hunting out the unseen, undersea critters that thrive in west coast waters.

The marine scientists, Dr Sebastian Hennige from the University of Edinburgh, and Laurence de Clippele from Heriot-Watt University, will help the school children construct their own plankton nets and then head to the beach to find out what lurks beneath their local shoreline.

The project is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and aims at turning young Scots into Citizen Scientists by adding their own research into national projects.

Laurence de Clippele, a PhD student at Heriot-Watt University who is researching cold-water coral habitats, said: “We're particularly interested in finding zooplankton, which is a crucial part of our food web.

“Heriot-Watt's smart phone microscopes will let the children see exactly what these beasties look like, how they wriggle around, and what they coexist with under the water.

“The data that is collected by these children will be added to our national research, which is really exciting.”

Dr Sebastian Hennige, a NERC independent research fellow based at the University of Edinburgh, said: “This is a chance for the kids on Scotland's islands to find out how scientists make discoveries, and actually help us find out exactly which beasties are living off the coast of each island.

“We have lots of online resources so that children and grown ups everywhere can get involved and submit their own data from their own coast."

“If we all do our own bit locally, we can create a huge map of all these seabeasties, and find out exactly how critical they are to our marine systems,  food chain and ecology.”