FUSION: Focusing on University Science Interpretation and Outreach Needs

The SCI-FUN Roadshow delivers two science presentations (and a short introduction to subject choices) in each Roadshow session. (Some of the current SCI-FUN shows can be found here.) Since 2007 a strong emphasis has been placed on the presenter supplying the narrative spine of the presentation. This does make life harder for the presenter – one can't wing it by reading bullet points on the screen – but that is a positive advantage: it requires the presenter to properly learn the script (always provided as part of the presentation development).

Having agreed the content of a new presentation with the research engagement partner, we supply the following for each show:

  • A presentation with rich content (graphics, audio and video, where appropriate);

  • An accompanying script or scripts, each representing a different way of running the show (offering alternate versions for different audiences, for example, or for varying presentation times);

  • On-stage interactives, if developed (and safety instructions, if appropriate).

An example: The 2011 Maxwell Lecture

A slide from the inaugural Maxwell lecture
A photograph from the inaugural Maxwell lecture
A slide from the inaugural Maxwell lecture
One example of a science presentation developed by FUSION is the 2011 inaugural Maxwell Lecture, delivered by Professor Ron Pethig, and based in part upon his successful 2010 collaboration with SCI-FUN and FUSION to create the IET Christmas lecture, the case study for which is here.

Ron showed how Maxwell's equations (and his other scientific discoveries) underpin his own research in Bioelectronics.

As part of that presentation, FUSION set up an on-stage demonstration of the world's first colour photograph: a series of black-and-white plates (held by the Maxwell Foundation), illuminated through coloured gels. The photograph opposite shows Ron constructing the image (of a tartan ribbon) from the three monochrome plates, viewed through three separate slide projectors (carefully oriented to minimise distortion). Click on the image for a larger version.

The talk was aimed at an adult audience, and as such it was more complex (and had more on-screen text) than the IET Christmas lecture. The principle of keeping things as simple as possible still holds, however, and considerable time was spent with Ron in trying to maximise the use of graphics (rather than bullet points).