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For the public


Welcome to The Open University’s School of Physical Sciences public engagement page.

You do not need to be a student at The Open University to benefit from our world-class knowledge and expertise. As a school we feel engaging with the public is very important, so we run and take part in many outreach events. We believe that science is for everyone, so offer a broad range of activities from events aimed at school children, through to talks for specialist audiences.

We also work in partnership with the BBC, producing television and radio programmes.

The School of Physical Sciences is now a member of SEPnet – the South East Physics network – a collaboration between eleven Universities, working together to promote physics. SEPnet aims to increase awareness and interest in physics both in schools and the general public, as well as to give undergraduate and postgraduate students the skills required to do outreach.

An overview of the outreach we do:

OpenLearn is the portal for the Open University’s award-winning free learning materials, including audio and video resources such as “60 second Adventures in Astronomy”

BBC broadcasts co-produced with the Open University have included “The Material world”, “Inside Science” (Radio); “The Cosmos: A Beginner’s Guide”, “Bang Goes the Theory”, “Star Gazing Live!” and the forthcoming “Light and Dark” (TV)

The Open Science Laboratory offers online science investigations for schools seeking a broader practical curriculum

Speakers for Schools are available in topics ranging from meteorites to Mars, from plasmas to medical physics, and from exoplanets to cosmology

Public Physics Lectures are arranged each month through the local Institute of Physics branch

Research Lab Tours can be arranged for students to see first-hand our current lab-based planetary science and physics research.

Recent large scale events have included: a "bring your kids to work" day of laboratory tours for OU staff and their children; an evening of events for National Astronomy Week; participation in exhibits about the Rosettta and Gaia missions at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition; a stall with hands-on experiments at the Big Bang Fair (Eastern).