National Physical Laboratory

Prepare to be amazed and get hands-on with science at Open House 2018

On Thursday 17 May we are opening our doors to the public, to showcase some of the world's leading research taking place inside our laboratories. All money raised will be donated to Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

Prepare to be amazed and get hands-on with science at Open House 2018

From new antibiotics to tackle resistance and more effective cancer treatments, to secure quantum communications and superfast 5G, technological advances must be built on a foundation of reliable measurement to succeed.

You will have the opportunity to visit our laboratories, get involved in hands-on demonstrations and learn about some of the amazing science, engineering and technology that takes place here at NPL.

You can learn how our scientists accurately measure many aspects of the world around us, from time and temperature, to cosmic rays and climate change.

Some of the tours and activities taking place on the day include:

  • Making the most of renewable energy: See what effect everyday appliances have on the electric grid – some of them may surprise you.
  • Magnetics: Experience the world's strongest 'fridge' magnet and see a number of interactive and fun displays that will demonstrate the wonder of magnetism.
  • The most accurate thermometer in the world: This is a rare chance to see the NPL–Cranfield Acoustic Thermometer, the most accurate thermometer in human history.
  • Investigating Graphene and 2D materials: Graphene is a newly-discovered material and has a range of remarkable properties. Learn more about this important material and see how we research its properties.
  • Observing the Earth and climate change from space: The Earth is warming, but what temperatures will it reach and what will that mean? See how we measure incoming and reflected solar radiation using satellites in space, and how we monitor the health of our planet.
  • Time for the UK: In this laboratory we generate the national time scale, UTC (NPL). Discover how we keep the time scale in step with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Find out how our NPLTime® service enables the financial sector to meet regulations.
  • Mass spectrometry imaging: Find out how we use mass spectrometry imaging at the National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry Imaging (NiCE-MSI) to investigate disease at a molecular level, helping identify new targets for next generation therapies.
  • Fuel cell technology for greener cars: Find out more about environmentally-friendly fuel cell technology, see our model fuel cell car and learn about our hydrogen refuelling station.

In a rare opportunity, visitors will also have the chance to learn about and see the UK's copy of the International Prototype Kilogram and a Kibble balance. Part of the International System of Units, also known as the SI, it's the most widely used system of measurement in the world.

These measurement – including the kilogram – are being defined in a new, more accurate way. NPL has led the international research that culminated in this change, and it is expected to be effective from May 2019.

Prepare to be amazed and get hands-on with science at Open House 2018

Mary Harrison, Head of Marketing at NPL, said:

"NPL's measurements affect each and every one of us, but it's not always clear what this means. The Open House event will give the public an opportunity to learn about some of the world-leading research that goes on at NPL and a chance to meet the scientists behind it all.

"All proceeds from this event will go to CRUK and not only will it will be a fantastic day for the whole family, but it will offer everyone a chance to learn something interesting about how measurement impacts their everyday lives."

For more information about the event and to purchase tickets, please visit the website

Last Updated: 30 Apr 2018
Created: 30 Apr 2018


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