A girl looking at a physics experiment

Taking Physics on Tour

Increasing public understanding of quantum physics research

The Lancaster Quantum Technology Centre (LQTC) have highlighted how quantum physics can be used in daily life at numerous exhibitions. Opportunities like this revitalise the importance of leading physics research to schoolchildren.

Lancaster physicists have showcased their research on quantum devices for four consecutive years at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition (RS SSE), and a spin-off event at The Barbican - an unprecedented level of engagement by a single research centre. Each RS SSE attracts up to 270 teachers, 2,000 students, MPs, CEOs and RS Fellows. The footfall totalled 160,000 people across five events and media coverage of 120 million people. Demonstration of a novel memory technology also resulted in global media activity.

  • RS SSEs have a significant influence on decisions about future study and careers. Teachers surveyed gave overwhelmingly positive feedback, with the majority gaining new scientific knowledge and novel ideas for lessons, and reporting that their students gained a deeper understanding of science. A follow-up survey showed that over 70% thought Lancaster’s contribution had a positive impact on their teaching.
  • 2017 - A Future Without Fakes’ - increased awareness of the harm that results from counterfeiting and quantum technologies as a solution. The exhibit received coverage from outlets including BBC News online, BBC’s Tomorrow’s World, Physics World, The Times, New Scientist and Wired, reaching more than 100 million people.
  • 2018 - ‘Random Revolution’ - highlighted the importance of random numbers and that ‘random’ numbers from many sources are actually potentially predictable. Website content and media coverage, totalled nearly 14 million people and Professor Robert Young was interviewed for the BBC News Online about using quantum technology to eradicate election hacking. Later that year, a team from LQTC’s IsoLab exhibited at New Scientist Live at the ExCeL Centre. One of the largest scientific festivals in the world, the event had 39,582 visitors, 54% female, who discovered how IsoLab allows some of the world’s most sensitive experiments to be performed.
  • 2019 - ‘Art of Isolation’ - exhibit likened vibrational noise to electrical interference such as blocking Wi-Fi signal in the home. The exhibit featured in The Times, Al Jazeera, Wired and interviews on Radio 4’s The World at One and The Economist. The same year the RS sponsored Young to bring ‘Random Revolution’ to the Barbican Centre, which attracts a general audience in excess of 1.5 million per year.
  • 2019 - A press release on ULTRARAM™, resulted in over 220 online articles and a piece on BBC World Service’s Digital Planet. A follow-up paper in 2020 featured on the front cover of Electronics Weekly and a two-page spread in PC Gamer, with a combined reach of more than 78 million. The technology has attracted the attention of world-leading tech research centres and companies, resulting in a Department for International Trade export licence for the technology.

Wouldn’t be the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition without Lancaster.

A quote from Opening Speech to 2019 RS by the Director of the Royal Society