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Royal visitor celebrates inspirational science at Harwell

Meeting STFC graduates and apprentices
(Credit: STFC)

8 July 2015 - The power of science to inspire young people was celebrated today by HRH The Duke of York, KG, who formally opened a week-long festival of science, technology and engineering at the Harwell Campus, for which he is Patron.

The Duke, who is also Patron for the International Year of Light, took the opportunity to view The Incredible Power of Light exhibition which showcases STFC’s Vulcan, one of the most powerful lasers in the world, and hear about some of the facilities that harness the power of light – such as the Diamond Light Source.

During his visit The Duke met with young graduates and apprentices who work on the site, as well as some of the 1,500 students and teachers from Oxfordshire schools who were taking advantage of the Open Day to see what goes on behind the, usually closed, campus doors.

Announcing the start of the Harwell Open Days to an audience filled with young people, The Duke said, “There are scientists doing all sorts of wonderful things, but they couldn’t do them without the engineers to make it happen. What I’m interested in is trying to encourage that coincidence of activity where young people are inspired to think not only of science but also of engineering, as tools with which they can actually do something constructive.”

He added, “Science and engineering requires flexibility, it requires outside- the-box thinking, and that is something that this organisation tries to nurture and find.”

At the STFC Incredible Power of Light exhibition
(Credit: STFC)

Many of the science and engineering staff who currently work on the Harwell site used to attend some of the same schools that were visiting today.

“Our open days are a great opportunity to inspire young people who may not even have considered a career in science and engineering,” said Dr Andrew Taylor, STFC’s Director of the National Laboratories.

“'The cutting edge research we do here at Harwell depends on the skills of the outstanding engineers and technicians, who build, maintain and operate our unique facilities. There is a great opportunity for young people to join us and be trained through our apprenticeship scheme in electrical, electronic and mechanical engineering.”

Professor John Womersley, STFC’s Chief Executive, and Dr Taylor accompanied The Duke as he toured the exhibits and facilities on the site.

The Harwell Open Days culminate in a public day on Saturday 11 July, when more than 10,000 people are expected to get a glimpse into this world of science and share the real-life excitement of life in the laboratory.

More information

Marion O’Sullivan
STFC Press Office
Tel: 01235 445627
Mob: 07824 888990

Notes for editors

  1. There is still time to register if people would like to come along on Saturday - register here.
  2. Diamond Light Source has been integral to making the International Year of Light happen, as a founding partner with the other synchrotrons in the world via the collaboration.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000