A group of Portuguese-speaking scientists delivered a unique workshop to children in Edinburgh.
Around 20 youngsters aged between 6 and 12 were given expert insight into the origins of the universe at Dynamic Earth, courtesy of Native Scientist - a not-for-profit network of international scientists that promotes diversity in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).
The day was specifically aimed at boys and girls whose parents are originally from overseas where Portuguese is their heritage language.
This initiative celebrated diversity in STEM and was led by Dr Ana Catarino from Heriot-Watt’s School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society and Catarina Novo, a PhD student from the university’s Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences.
Catarina Novo, who is the Portuguese Manager of Native Scientist in Edinburgh, said: “This was an amazing opportunity for both students and scientists to interact and explore important scientific concepts. Time-travelling through important geological events in a virtual and extremely interactive environment and engaging with colleagues and pupils about science in my mother tongue, was a very inspiring experience.”
Team of Portuguese-speaking scientist guiding the visit to Dynamic Earth.
From left to right: Ana Catarino, Diogo Oliveira, Daiane Oliveira, Joana da Luz, Amanda Santos and Catarina Novo.
The young explorers visited the immersive galleries at Dynamic Earth to discover key aspects of our history, from the explosive nature of early Earth to the extinction events that trace a line from the first living organisms through to the 21st century and beyond.
The workshop was only possible thanks to The Principal’s Public Engagement Award won by Dr Ana Catarino, recognising her work engaging with audiences traditionally less involved in science and outreach.
Dr Catarino continued: “The collaboration between Native Scientist, Heriot-Watt and Dynamic Earth, brings a new dimension to outreach events, where diversity and multilingualism are part of the core communications between scientists and the public. Science has no frontiers and should be accessible to all.”
Brendan Seenan, Community Learning and Development Officer, says “We’re very grateful to host this event at Dynamic Earth and explore this partnership with Native Scientist and Heriot-Watt. Language is just one of many barriers that prevent people accessing learning opportunities and Native Scientist provides a unique opportunity to remove that barrier. Dynamic Earth is proud to provide fascinating ways to engage with the science of our planet and Heriot-Watt are providing the scientists who are out there uncovering it for us all!”