Two weeks ago, British ESA astronaut Tim Peake visited Portsmouth to participate in events organised by the University of Portsmouth and the UK Space Agency. Taking place on the 1st and 2nd November 2016, the daytime events celebrated the educational programme of Tim’s Principia mission, while a public event was held in the evening of the 2nd.
The events kicked off on the 1st November with the Outreach Activities Day held at Portsmouth Guildhall. Over 350 school pupils from Portsmouth and beyond attended this event and participated in a variety of activities provided by the Principia educational partners and the University of Portsmouth’s Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation. These activities spanned the school curriculum, from computer programming to creative writing, and even saw a first demonstration of the ICG’s new Tactile Universe 3D printed galaxies. The day finished with a keynote talk by TV presenter Dallas Campbell.
On the 2nd November, over 500 school children, teachers, and parents attended the first Principia Schools Conference, where the children presented the work they had done linked to Tim’s mission. All of the attendees had the opportunity to meet Tim during the event, which was held at Portsmouth Guildhall, the University of Portsmouth, and New Theatre Royal.
The celebrations ended with an evening event at Portsmouth Guildhall for the public, where Tim spoke about his mission to the International Space Station last year. Attended by around 1,500 people and hosted by the ICG’s Outreach Officer, Dr Jen Gupta, the event gave the audience an opportunity to hear first hand about what it’s like to go into space, and put their questions to Tim, asking about his favourite view from space and if he ever got bored! Tim was also presented with an honorary degree by the University of Portsmouth.
The University of Portsmouth’s organising team was led by Holly Green and Jen Gupta from the ICG with support from the Recruitment and Outreach team, and the Press and Public Relations team. Many members of the ICG, and other staff and students from the University of Portsmouth contributed to the two days, ensuring that the events were a huge success. Feedback from the events has been overwhelmingly positive, with one teacher saying
“The organisation, communication, staffing today, exhibitions, format and obviously being able to meet Tim was mindblowing…You cannot get such an inspiring day of science anywhere like today…The fact that our children also had a very deep and challenging discussion with one of the Portsmouth Cosmology team today…was just as amazing really.”
Photos from the Schools Conference can be seen on the UK Space Agency’s flickr account. A news story about Tim’s visit can be found on the University of Portsmouth’s website. For more information about the ICG’s schools outreach and public events, please visit our website.