A quick update about my busy but fun outreach week. I did another Café Scientifique event on Monday (15th April) night for the opening event of the Milton Keynes branch. The evening was held in the Slug and Lettuce pub in Milton Keynes where we nervously awaited our audience wondering whether anyone would want to turn up to this new event. Luckily the organisers had done a great job advertising the evening and we had around 40 people turn up. Once again I was presenting with Dr Louisa Preston, also of the Open University, about ‘Life in the Cosmos’. We waited for everyone to gather drinks and food then Louisa kicked off the evening talking about life in the universe and how we look at extreme life on Earth. I then moved on to talking about how asteroids and comets may represent the delivery of the seeds for life on Earth. After about 30 minutes we had a short break for people to re-fill their glasses then we showed the meteorite collection and took questions from the audience. As usual, lots of great questions, and once again, some I couldn’t answer which I think is great, just shows me that non-specialists can be quite insightful! We finished up the evening around 21:30, having to physically remove the meteorites from the grasp of some people’s hands. I had a great evening and I’m looking forward to attending some future events as an audience member. Good luck to the Café Sci MK team for this year. Meetings will be held once a month and I think they should prove to be very popular. Look out for them on Twitter and Facebook.
On Tuesday (16th April) I drove over to Bath to attend my first Women’s Institute (WI) meeting where I’d been invited to speak to the ladies of South Stoke about ‘Sampling the mysteries of the Solar System’. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the WI but I had such a warm and friendly welcome from the 40 ladies and I very much enjoyed the fact that they’d themed their table decorations around a space-theme. I spoke to the ladies for around 45 minutes about how we sample and analyse comets, asteroids and planets then I showed them the meteorite collection. I was conscious of the fact that they probably wanted to move on to the beautifully prepared afternoon tea but instead they were all so excited to see the rocks from space and to hold a piece of rock from Mars. We then moved on to the tea, sandwiches and cake (rock cakes included for obvious reasons) whilst still discussing space rocks, I had so many great conversations and loved also hearing their stories. I had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and had some lovely feedback from the ladies. I’ll need to attend another event soon if just for the amazing cake!