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Visit The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Christina McQuirk shows visitors ‘Rimmer’ the rover in the Mars Yard.
(Credit: STFC)

There are lots of opportunities to come and visit us at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) or attend one of our off-site events with our partners and meet some of our scientists and engineers – whether it’s for one of our fascinating Talking Science series of free lectures, a public access day or for a stargazing event. We also have a separate programme of events for schools.

Email us to be added to our mailing list: we will send you details of upcoming events and opportunities.


Stefan Gates, Gastronaut at RAL Talking Science
(Credit: STFC)

Talking Science

This series of scientific lectures takes place at STFC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory every month. Our 2018-19 programme starts in September and includes topics ranging from swarm engineering to how the Universe will end.

Booking will open for our autumn talks on Monday 27 August 2018. To see this year’s programme and book your place, please visit the Talking Science webpage.

If you have any questions, or to be added to our Talking Science email list, please email Talking Science.


Brownies and Cubs Stargazing event at RAL

We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting another Brownies and Cubs stargazing event on Friday 30 November 2018.

This event is open to uniform groups with children aged between 7 and 11 with various space related activities that can be used towards astronomy/stargazing badges.

Bookings will open on 27 October 2018 and tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please note, that you must bring at least one adult for every ten children.

For more information on this event, or to be added to our mailing list to hear when bookings open, please email Stargazing at RAL.


Planet Painting at Stargazing LIVE at RAL, 2013.
(Credit: STFC)

Stargazing at RAL

Our next Stargazing at RAL event will be held on Friday 25 January 2019.

There will be plenty to do for the whole family, whatever the weather. There’ll be meteorites, rocket building, comet making, face-painting, a series of fascinating talks, robots and of course stargazing. There will also be a telescope clinic run by our partners Newbury Astronomy Society, so if you get a telescope for Christmas and need some help setting it up then do bring it in. We’ll also have some experts on hand to explain how we’re using our particle accelerators, Diamond Light Source and the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, to learn more about space.

For more information on this event please email Stargazing at RAL.


Visitors tour the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source
(Credit: STFC)

Computing Celebration Day

We will be running a public access day all about the importance of computing on Friday 26 October 2018.

Public Access Days at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory are a fantastic way to see behind-the-scenes at our world class facilities, speak to the scientists and engineers who work here and learn about how we study the world around us. We take our visitors in small groups to see some of our facilities – the exact locations vary, depending on our experimental schedule, but visitors will get a chance to visit one of our departments, attend a talk and have a chance to get hands on in a carousel of activities.

Bookings will open on 12 October 2018. Please email Visit RAL if you would like to be added to our mailing list so you can be notified when bookings for this (and other events) open.


Saturday Coding Club – Christmas Celebrations
(Credit: Alex Dibbo, STFC)

Saturday Coding at RAL

Once a month, on a Saturday afternoon, we run a coding club for young people aged 7 – 18. During these sessions participants work on a variety of different challenges – from creating and programming a robot to enter the laser target areas, to making a series of simple games designed to encourage people to learn how to code. It’s a brilliant opportunity to meet other coders and work together on amazing projects, with support from RAL’s Scientific Computing Department as well as external mentors. The challenges are chosen by the participants themselves, and at the end of each afternoon we update the entire group on our progress. We’ve got lots of resources – from Arduino microcontrollers to Lego Mindstorms – so teams really can undertake whatever projects they choose! As well as our expert mentors, who help all the participants with their projects, there’s a real focus on peer-learning as each group helps solve any problems that arise.

At the moment, all places at our Saturday Coding Club are taken, but if you’d like more information or to be placed on our waiting list, please email Visit RAL.


Last updated: 10 August 2018


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