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Accelerate! show at the Curiosity Carnival

On 29th September, Lucy Martin (JAI, Oxford) and Sophie Bashforth (JAI, RHUL) performed the ‘Accelerate!’ show for the Curiosity Carnival, Oxford’s version of ‘European Researchers Night’. Lucy and Sophie report on their experience:

The Curiosity Carnival was a fantastic event to be part of, and performing the Accelerate! show in the Museum of Natural History was a lot of fun, even if maneuvering beach balls and hydrogen balloons past the queues of people waiting to get inside wasn't easy!

The show aims to convey the basic recipe behind a particle accelerator: Particles, Acceleration, Control, Collision and Detection. The basic concepts are illustrated using a range of demonstrations, from liquid nitrogen to demonstrate superconductors to plasma balls lighting fluorescent bulbs to show wave based acceleration. The aim is to get as many members of the audience involved as possible and to leave the audience with the idea that accelerators aren't only used for particle physics.

We gave the show at 9pm, where audience members made their way to the lecture theatre past stalls representing hundreds of different areas of research in Oxford. Our audience were mainly adults due to the time of the day, but although the show is more usually presented to children we didn't change the format and still included a large amount of audience participation. It was great to see the audience gradually become more involved, shouting out answers to questions, and "accelerating" beach balls across the room seemed to go down just as well with adults as with children!

In the pictures: moments of the show. Also helping out backstage were Mephare Atay (Oxford), Peter Tudor (Oxford) and Andrey Abramov (RHUL) together with Lena Shams (Oxford Physics Access) and Dr. Suzie Sheehy (who was also a member of the Oversight Committee for Curiosity Carnival).