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First Materials Science Open Week from Discover Materials attracts attendees from across the globe

Marty Jopson proves smash hit at Discover Materials Open Week

More than 160 people from six different continents registered to participate in the Discover Materials Open Week, in August 2020.

A series of Materials Science events aiming to inspire 16-18 year olds to study Materials Science and Engineering at university culminated in a day of live talks and discussions, and the launch of a video promoting Materials Science and Engineering.

The open week was organised by Discover Materials, a partnership between UK Universities Materials Science and Engineering Departments and the Henry Royce Institute.

The highlight of the week was a live show delivered by scientist and TV personality Marty Jopson, who demonstrated some of the components of a mobile phone, including cross polarisers in the screen and magnetic materials in the speakers.

Another engaging session was a live panel discussion about careers in materials science and engineering. Hosted by Erin McNeil (University of Leeds), the panel featured Materials Scientists who have pursued a range of careers – including a successful entrepreneur – and others who currently work at Dyson, Renishaw, the European Space Agency, Loughborough University, and Swansea University.


A live talk was delivered by Prof Sarah Haigh, (The University of Manchester), who presented on ‘Nanoexploration using electron microscopy: seeing the invisible’. The Discover Materials team also worked with Dr Eleonora D’Elia (Imperial College London) to make a video about thermochromic liquid crystals, introducing students to a material with some unusually eye-catching properties.

Throughout the week, the Discover Materials website ran an infographic challenge, inviting students to design an infographic describing a material that has helped them through lockdown. This was supported by a video from Ben Britton (Imperial College London) – and video montage of academics giving examples of materials that helped them during lockdown, and a live Q&A session with academics from the Discover Materials group. The two winning students – with infographics about EVA foam and indium tin oxide – will receive a signed copy of materials scientist Mark Miodownik’s book ‘Stuff Matters’.

Dr Chris Hamlett – National Outreach Officer for Royce and Discover Materials who was instrumental in organising the event said:

“I thought that the week of events went really well and highlighted the broad range of skills and interests within the discipline of Materials Science and Engineering. The number of universities that were represented during the event demonstrates the concerted effort of MSE departments to promote the discipline in a united way that is vital to enthusing the next generation to consider a career in MSE.”

Dr David Stanley – Training and Skills Manager at Royce – said,

“Royce mission includes inspiring the next generation of materials scientists and engineers who will solve the materials challenges of the future and we are delighted to be working in partnership with Discover Materials to further this important aim.

“This fantastic Discover Materials Open Day aimed at younger people, really supported this mission, sharing insights into materials science and research and exploring and debating their impact on society with us. The engaging live materials science show with Marty Jopson, together with the launch of an new exciting video and an inspirational Q&A session with recent Materials Science and Engineering graduates provided an enriching experience and we look forward to repeating it.”

The team plans to run the Discover Materials Open Week again next year, engaging with schools and teachers to run the event during the summer term.

To find out more about Royce’s Training & Skills activity please contact