Richard Robinson


BBC Rough Science’s Jonathan Hare and I offer a full range of highly successful workshops, honed to perfection during the Brighton Science Festival’s school tours each January. They are curriculum-based and appropriate for whole classes (11+ years old), all with excellent reviews from teachers and students.

Encouraging team work and creative thinking, the workshops can function as either a lesson or as a drop-in and run for approximately one hour.

Angry Gulls

How do seagulls manage to bomb us so effectively? How do their tiny brains factor in their own forward motion and the acceleration of gravity? Did they study vectors while they were chicks? Can we design and build a delivery system of comparable accuracy? During the session the students discover the powerful blend of creative thinking and teamwork, questioning, answering, adopting, adapting, improving, experimenting, discarding and redesigning while finding the best way to drop poo on their friends’ heads. This is the physics and maths of moving bodies, also the pure engineering challenge of building them.

Capacitors, Resistors & Moog Synthesizers

This workshop explores capacitors and resistors, through the power of music – in particular the moog synthesizer. Together, the capacitor and the resistor are what makes a synthesizer synthesize. The workshop was developed over 60 sessions with 12-14 year olds. But it’ll work for anyone who would like to know a little about electronics in general and electronic music in particular.

Of All The Nerve

A Wellcome Trust supported exploration of the brain. The students each become a neuron and are wired up together to form a small brain (or ganglion). They experience thinking, practicing and learning as they attempt a simple task. They become distracted and fatigued, exactly like real neurons, and in the end they triumph. The session includes a survey of the neuron and a look at how ganglions in the eye are responsible for some optical illusions. For students 12+. 1 hour session for 26-30 people.


The Incredible Machine

(Sponsored by the Institute of Physics)
The students build a machine to send a signal around the room. Great fun, and a good test of creativity, observation, ingenuity and team-work. Explores energy, friction, mass, speed, momentum, levers, pulleys, etc. For anyone 12+. 1 hour session for groups of 30 or so, or a drop-in.

Windmill Workshop

Jonathan Hare’s workshop encourages bold thinking, planning and teamwork as they create a wind turbine powerful enough to power a radio. Best as a 1 hour session for groups of 30 or so.

Voice on a Light Beam

Jonathan Hare’s ingenious workshop shows teams of students how to transmit their voices across a room, using a simple torch beam and a tiny mirror. The mirror vibrates with the sound of the voice. The light beam therefore vibrates and the pickup translates the vibrations into sound – the voice of the speaker. A 1 hour session for groups of up to 35.