University stargazers are set to show youngsters there is more to learning about the solar system than working their way through textbooks at the Kingston Readers’ Festival later this month. As part of the festival’s bid to encourage children to read more, director of the University’s Aerospace Research Centre Dr Chris Welch has made it his mission to promote the study of space. Children and parents are being invited to join Dr Welch’s search for life on other planets at the North Kingston Centre on Saturday 21 May.
Dr Welch, who chairs the United Kingdom’s Space Education Council, said the festival was an ideal opportunity for young people to learn about the universe. “Children can be put off from studying space because it is often seen as a highly scientific subject,” he said. “Bringing so many people together under one roof gives us the perfect chance to show that space discovery is actually a lot of fun.” Dr Welch’s guide to rocket-building and space launch systems will top the bill at the workshop. He will discuss the use of rockets in the Napoleonic and the Second World Wars before turning his attention to the Space Age and nuclear-powered launchers. Other space-related talks will be given by Kingston life sciences lecturer Dr Andy Augousti and former earth and planetary sciences student and NASA award-winner Rebecca Blackhurst. Aerospace engineering and astronautics students will also be on hand to help youngsters build their own air-propelled cardboard rockets.
The University is supporting more than 20 events in the fourth annual Kingston Readers’ Festival. Festival director Sandy Williams praised the University’s commitment to getting involved in the month-long programme of events. “The University is a gold mine of talent and our audiences love getting an inside view of Kingston’s vibrant academic community,” she said.