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Glasgow Science Festival 2020: Science on the Sofa

Kirsty RossSep 09, 2020 Public engagement with research

Science on the Sofa logo

Glasgow Science Festival 2020 is now online!

As a result, OPTIMA will be taking all it's public engagement with research activity online as well. We are contributing to three activities as part of the Festival:

    • Got your results and think that you have to study one subject forever? Our students are living proof that you can change subjects at any point, applying hard sciences to solve clinical problems. From physiotherapist to chemist, engineer to biologist, they are creating tools to help diagnose and cure disease using light. Check out their profiles; can you find a researcher that looks like you?
  • Behind the Festival
    • OPTIMA's Outreach Officer, Dr Kirsty Ross, was invited to provide a video to the 'Behind the Festival' series. She is one of several Public Engagement (PE) and Comms professionals supporting the Festival this year.
    • You can also see videos from GSF volunteers and Content Providers.
  • STEM on a shoestring
    • STEM activities at home and school don’t have to cost the earth. You can catch a rainbow using nail polish, water and black card or totally confuse your folks with a pile of Smarties(TM) and the wrapper from a Quality Street sweet! Perhaps you want to make your very own hologram in the palm of your hand or build your own fibre optic camera using nothing more than an empty toilet roll tube and some straws?
    • The EPSRC/MRC OPTIMA researchers from Edinburgh and Strathclyde Universities have developed even more resources that you can use to investigate light and it’s connection to medicine.
    • Contact if you’d like to receive free sets of physical resources for these activities.

Our first activity in the "STEM on a shoestring" series is our popular 'Catching Rainbows' activity. You can see low resolution pictures of the activity below, or download our high resolution worksheet to use at home or in class from this link.

Additional activities throughout the Festival will be posted on Monday afternoons, with resources lists being Tweeted from @drkirstyross and @cdt_optima on Fridays. Keep checking back to see what is new!

Cover of rainbows activity with link to YouTube How To video (

Instructions on how to do the 'catching rainbows' activity.