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Public Engagement

ARC staff and students are engaged in several outreach and public engagement efforts throughout the year. Past activities have included classroom visits, public talks, organizing events as part of Northern Ireland Science Festival, and supporting the Irish Astronomical Association's public lecture series and other joint activities. Please check out our News and Events page and follow us on Twitter to learn about upcoming ARC outreach events.

People Powered Science

ARC researchers are involved in several online citizen science projects collaborating with the volunteers worldwide in astronomy and planetary science research. Get involved today:

School Talks

ARC Researchers are available to give school talks. The presentations are aimed at children aged 14+, i.e. GCSE and A-Level pupils. Each presentation runs to 45 minutes, and requires facilities for XGA video display and audio. They include:

The Science in Science-Fiction Films and TV

(Prof. Francis Keenan)

In these presentations I use short clips from films and television programmes to illustrate how science-fiction in the media sometimes gets science right, but more often gets it wrong! Additionally, I show how difficult it is to make accurate predictions about the future, and hence why most science-fiction films and television are extremely unrealistic. Although presented in an unconventional manner, these talks raise several points of key relevance to GCSE and A-Level Physics, and will provide many issues for later class discussions.

There are 4 presentations from which to choose, namely:

1. To Boldy Go Where No-one Has Gone Before

  • This presentation looks at the depiction of space travel in science-fiction movies and television shows, and how realistic this is.

2. Set Phasers to Stun!

  • A look at weapons in science-fiction, such as ray guns, and space battles from movies such as Star Wars.

3. We Come in Peace!

  • A look at the portrayal of aliens in science-fiction, including that staple of many movies and television shows, the alien invasion.

4. Back to the Future!

  • A look at how the predictions made in science-fiction movies and television shows have sometimes come true, but are often totally wrong.