Recently in events Category


Over the past few weeks, we’ve been getting emails asking us about SciCast 2012 and we think it’s time to announce the sad news: there will be no SciCast Awards 2012.

Although we’ve had some extremely gratifying interest in SciCast, unfortunately it hasn’t been enough to fund SciCast 2012. However, we’ll bring you word of regional competitions inspired by SciCast as we hear confirmation: so far Richmond and North Somerset are still happening, with other possible events in Wales, Durham, and elsewhere.

We want to warmly thank the hundreds of people who’ve submitted films to SciCast this year and over the last five years. You’ve set a tremendous standard each year, and every film we’ve received has helped ensure that our winners are truly worthy.

Thanks again and huge congratulations to all of you!


STEM TM Logo.jpg

TeachMeet is an organised — but informal — meeting for teachers and other education professionals to share their ideas and experiences of what works in practice. Share good practice, discuss practical innovations and contribute personal insights in teaching with technology.

Currently, the STEM Clubs Network is hosting events across the UK. If you’re a teacher and enjoyed making films for SciCast, why not share your experience at a STEM TeachMeet in your area?

The events are open to anyone and free of charge.


SciCast stand at Maker Faire 2011

Maker Faire UK is huge, ridiculous, messy, and glorious. It’s almost the opposite of the corporate polish of the Big Bang Fair, with exhibitors from all walks of life showing off things they’ve made — which could be anything from knitted neurons to tiny rollercoasters for ball-bearings to radio-control daleks (one wearing a fez and a rather dapper bow tie) to bits of electronics to… films.

Yes, SciCast was there, showcasing the films you’ve made over the years and introducing the project to scores of families. We were mostly doing the spinning straws trick, and got through more than 2,000 straws over the weekend. That’s a lot of snipping, bending, and blowing.

Huge fun, and we hope to see lots of films from families in this year’s competition.

Wave machine - Maker Faire 2011

Just before the doors opened on Sunday morning we knocked up a quick jelly baby wave machine, which miraculously survived the day. Lots of teachers and home-schoolers seemed very taken with it — if you’d like to know more, see the old SciCast film about it, or this more recent film we made for teachers.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by the stand over the weekend, it was lovely to meet you all.


A new climate survey began last week and everyone in the UK is invited to take part. There’s a list of four things you can do to help:

  1. Look out for aircraft trails (contrails)
  2. Watch cloud movement to record wind direction
  3. Record how hot or cold you feel, and
  4. Blow bubbles to measure wind speed and direction near the ground.

Yes, you’ve read number four correctly: blow bubbles. You don’t even have to buy a bubble blowing kit — just watch this video from Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) and learn how to make your own bubble blower cone using only a couple of sheets of paper:

OK, fun and easy, but… why? It’s not as loopy as it sounds — if you blow bubbles outdoors, the way they move can help you determine airflow patterns and speed close to the ground. The meteorologists at the Met Office and the Royal Meteorological Society have written a well-illustrated field guide to show you what to do, and explain what they hope to learn from the data you and thousands of others submit.

The results from all four activities will be published on the OPAL website. You can ask experts questions about the climate, find activities, games and the latest news, and share your weather photos.

Also: lovely idea for a film, no?


Dance Base image We’re not entirely sure what’s going on here, quite likely we plain missed an email from someone? However, it looks like there’s a SciCast-related dance event being held at Dance Base in Edinburgh on Sunday 20th February. As I write, that’s tomorrow.

Which is exciting. Also cool. We love it when things like this crop up, even if we’ve no idea what’s going on nor who’s doing it. We suspect the involvement of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, who did something vaguely similar last year, but we really don’t know.

If you want to know more — in fact, if you want to know precisely as much as we do — have a look at the Dance Base page for the session. And drop us a note if you go!

(Image: Dance Base)



We’re very excited to welcome a new regional science video competition to our ever-growing SciCast family! Hands on Science have started their Science Rap Video Competition for young people between ages 7-16 from the South East of Wales, and we were at their fantastic launch event.

Laura Roberts, the Hands on Science coordinator, had prepared a morning filled with inspiration and fun. Previous SciCast videos were played, and two amazing and talented artists — science rapper Jon Chase and science singer Jonny Berliner — performed live.

The competition, funded by the National HE STEM Programme with sponsorship from the Science Photo Library, challenges 7-16 year-olds from South East Wales to write a rap or song about Physics. Then: record a 2½ minute video of it. Entries can also be submitted to the national SciCast competition.

We’re delighted to welcome Laura and her team at Hands on Science to the SciCast family. And hey, we’re still singing the Geiger-Müller Groove.

Good luck to everyone who enters!


Wineglass trick Richmond Council started running a magnificent local version of SciCast way back in the early days, and the National Physical Laboratory have this year taken over. You can read more about their competition here, but the important info is that tonight they held their glittering awards ceremony.

left: former SciCast winner, event organiser, and all-round irrepressible madman Andrew Hanson of NPL and Dr. Yan Wong from Bang Goes The Theory lead a massed wineglass choir at the event.

The speaker's on the bottom right: the wineglass attempt continues with a brave (ie. decidedly foolish) attempt to tune the audiences’ glasses to notes played on a keyboard left over from Andrew’s glam-rock days.

The nominated films were terrific. Richmond films have traditionally fared well in the SciCast Awards, and I very much look forward to sharing this year’s crop with you. They set a high standard.

Well, some do. Some are plain ridiculous. But hey, that’s SciCast.

Cacophonyleft: Yan and Andrew ‘enjoy’ the results of their aural choreography.

Particularly welcome were a whole bunch of schools new to the competition, and we spotted several films that break new ground for SciCast. Four years and several hundred films in, that’s a heck of an achievement, and the sort of thing that gets me hugely excited all over again.

Big thanks to Andrew and his team at the NPL, and to all the schools and happy people behind-the-scenes in Richmond. Lovely to see old friends again, and to meet so many newcomers.



The photos from the glittering Awards event at the Royal Institution are up: see portraits of the nominees and winners, the ceremony itself, and a glimpse behind-the-scenes of us setting up during the morning.

We’ll be scurrying around trying to caption and label as many of the stills as we can, but do jump in and leave notes and comments if you like. You should also be able to download full-size versions of each photograph by clicking the ‘All sizes’ button that appears above the image when you click through to its page.


Here are the Nominations for the Planet SciCast Awards 2009. Not all these films are viewable yet — we’ll be catching up as quickly as we can, so keep checking back to see which new ones we’ve published!

Best Presenter 2009

Award for Technical & Artistic Achievement 2009

Flipside Most Entertaining Film 2009

Best Original Score 2009

Best Chemistry Film 2009

Best Earth Science and Environment Film 2009

Best Biology Film 2009

The Engineering and Technology Board Best Engineering Film 2009

The Institute of Physics’ Best SciCast Physics Film 2009

EPSRC Best Film (Adults) 2009

Best Film (Primary) 2009

Best Film (Secondary) 2009


Nominees will receive certificates, together with invitations to the glittering Awards Ceremony, to be held at the Royal Institution in London on 30th March 2009. Category winners will be announced at the Ceremony: winning teams will receive individual mini-awards and a coveted ‘SciCastie’ block award for the team, along with Amazon vouchers.

Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees, and our thanks to everyone who submitted a film.

Due to popular demand, we're going to sneak a little information out about the 2009 Awards. Judging is happening now (Iain Stewart tells us he's watching the films from internet cafés in South-East Iran. Gosh), and if you haven't seen your film on the main site yet, don't panic - the judges have a special site just for them, which has all the 2008/9 films.

We're planning to announce the nominations next Friday, 6th March, here on the blog. Some of the precise wording of the category names might change (which is to say: you never quite know what's going to be written on a trophy until it comes back from the engravers), but more-or-less the categories are:

  • Best Presenter 2009
  • Best Original Score 2009
  • Award for Technical and Artistic Achievement 2009
  • Best Biology Film 2009
  • Best Chemistry Film 2009
  • Best Earth Science and Environment Film 2009
  • The Engineering and Technology Board Best Engineering Film 2009
  • The Flipside Most Entertaining Film 2009
  • The Institute of Physics Best Physics Film 2009
  • EPSRC Best Film (Adults) 2009
  • Best Film (Primary) 2009
  • Best Film (Secondary) 2009

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