22 key stage 3 pupils from local schools joined ICG members Jen Gupta, Claire Le Cras and Rafal Szepietowski for the Think Bigger workshop last week (3 July), organised by the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation in collaboration with the University of Portsmouth Education Liaison and Outreach Team.
The morning began with an introduction talk that encouraged the attendees to start “thinking bigger” as they learnt about the planets, stars, galaxies and mysterious components (dark matter and dark energy) that make up the Universe. They were then given pictures of galaxies and asked to come up with their own classification schemes, before learning about the Hubble tuning fork and how professional astronomers classify galaxies. The final part of the workshop used an activity developed at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, in which they classified galaxies found in the Virgo cluster and made models showing the positions of these galaxies in the cluster. After the workshop the attendees were given the opportunity to put their questions to Jen, Claire and Rafal, with discussions ranging from whether aliens exist, to what would happen if you fell into a black hole.