Explorathon is a Scotland-wide programme showcasing the most innovative research in Scottish universities, with events taking place in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh on 26 September.

In Glasgow, the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow worked in partnership to run a number of hands-on activities aimed at children, families and schools, starting from lunchtime at Soar at intu Braehead. The main focus in the evening was at Glasgow Science Centre and Cineworld IMAX, where audience members heard European astronaut Alexander Gerst’s answers to the best questions local young people could devise in the “Ask an Astronaut” competition.

Dr Carol Trager-Cowan, of the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Physics, said: “It is fantastic to know that more than 2000 participants experienced the excitement of some of the fantastic research which takes place across Scotland’s biggest city.

“More than 200 researchers ran workshops, gave talks, discussed, debated and delivered stand-up comedy routines across Glasgow and beyond to engage the public with their research.

“Taking part in Explorathon was tremendous, it was really inspiring to see the enthusiasm, awe and wonder of all those who took part.

“For me Explorathon started at 8.20 am when we set up our workshops at Soar at intu Braehead.

“I really enjoyed seeing the excitement on kids’ faces when they looked through the spectroscope they had just made, or investigated nanojelly.

“Kids and adults alike had fun playing eco snakes and ladders or watching the elephant being printed with the 3D printer. My day ended at the Glasgow Science Centre where, well after 10pm, I was laughing at the psychology of sensation-seeking.”

In Glasgow, more than 2,000 people attended Explorathon events – between noon and 11pm – across five venues, including Glasgow Science Centre, Tinderbox, Mitchell Library, Soar at intu Braehead, and The Lighthouse.

This was the first year that Scotland took part in European Researchers’ Night – a Europe-wide initiative funded by the European Commission Horizons 2020 programme.

Seven of Scotland’s largest universities have received £133,000 over two years to stage the event, which sees cities across Europe host a range of research-led initiatives on the same evening.

Explorathon was run in partnership with Glasgow City of Science and Glasgow Science Centre. Ask an Astronaut was sponsored by Cineworld, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau and The Scottish Universities Physics Alliance.


University of Strathclyde: ‘Thousands inspired by fun-filled research showcase’

University of Glasgow


Glasgow Science Centre


Glasgow City Marketing Bureau

The Scottish Universities Physics Alliance

European Researchers’ Night