My name is Andrew and I project manage the Bath Taps into Science. I joined the Bath Taps into Science team in 2014 and my first festival was in 2015.
I’m the first person in my family to go to university. I studied for a Master’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Sheffield and went on to study for a PhD at Sheffield in 2007.
It was during my PhD that I discovered my passion for engaging students and the wider community with science through outreach activities. As a result, I joined the local section of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and began working with a dairy farm called ‘Our Cow Molly’ to deliver a lecture about the science of cold things called “You’re as cold as ice cream” where the finale was using liquid nitrogen to freeze ice cream. In 2010 I was invited to the Sheffield Food Festival to try to set a new Guinness World Record for making ice cream with liquid nitrogen and I managed to make a litre in just 10.34 seconds which is the official Guinness World Record. It was published in the 2012 Guinness book of World Records. You can watch the video on youtube or find out more information at andrewross.me
After gaining my PhD I completed a part time Post-Doctoral research project working with the University of Sheffield and a local synthesis company. At the same time I continued to run University of Sheffield Chemistry Department’s outreach programme. In September 2011 I left Sheffield to go travelling around South America.
Upon returning to the UK in May 2012, I went to work for Explorer Dome in Bristol where I visited schools across the South West to present chemistry and astronomy shows to children of all ages. In January 2013 I joined the University of Bath’s Widening Participation team where my current role is Science Outreach Manager. I get to work with lots of people across all the science departments at the University, it’s a really varied role and I enjoy meeting lots of people and working with them supporting them to develop and deliver outreach activities for schools and the local community.
About the festival and your role over the years
I began working with the festival in 2014 where with Michelle and the rest of the team we managed to deliver a festival of three events, a family lecture, schools science fair and a family science fair. We changed the venue of the family science fair as for the first time we couldn’t use the old venue. After discussions with the local council we managed to agree the use of part of the large park in the centre of Bath. For the first time we had marquees in the park and I gave some exciting liquid nitrogen demonstrations on the band stand in the park.
Planning for the 2016 festival began soon after the end of the 2015 festival and we had big ideas. We developed a new website, logo and branding and we wanted to grow and have a full programme of events across the festival week. We worked with local companies who supported the festival to allow us to put a programme of 35 events together for local schools and families. Across the week we met around 8,000 people which was a great success. An important focus of the festival is to support students to progress into science especially those from underrepresented groups such as students from low income families. During the last festival a high proportion of the students were from these backgrounds, which was great!
We have started planning for the 2017 festival and we are aiming to grow again. We are aiming for 50 events across the week and to reach around 10,000 people. We are very excited about the programme and we are working hard to get lots of things that will appeal to everyone. The Family Science Fair in the park will grow again and we will have two large marquees, lots of food and a craft tent where you can make your own things to take away with you.
How does Bath Taps into Science fit within the wider programme of the University?
2016/17 is the University of Bath’s 50th anniversary and there is a large programme of events and activities for the local community and the local and international academic community. Bath Taps into Science forms a large part of these celebrations and we are looking forward to celebrating the University’s birthday with everyone during the festival. The University also offers a programme of events and activities for schools and the local community.
The Widening Participation Office offers events for students under represented at university, the recruitment team offer Information and Guidance support for schools around applying to university and there is a programme of activities on offer from our academic departments.
What are you are looking forward to in the next festival?
I’m really looking forward to the 2017 festival especially the programme of events for schools. I am working towards having activities for people of all ages. It’s going to be such a varied programme; I can’t wait to see them all together in the festival booklet. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at some of the festival events.