Viti, Serena; Brown, Wendy; McCoustra, Martin; Fraser, Helen; Mason, Nigel and Massey, Robert
The making of Stars ‘R’ Us!.
Astronomy and Geophysics, 45(6)
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Say “astrochemistry” and many people imagine something remote, irrelevant and, well, pretty dull. Yet to someone working in the field this is exciting science that delves into the origins of life itself. Astronomical observations have already identified more than 120 different molecules in space. Chemists and astronomers are now working together to understand how these molecules are formed. But how can we probe reactions occurring light years from our labs? This is where astronomy, chemistry and physics come together to generate exciting and cutting-edge science that helps us understand the evolution of the cosmos. At the 2004 Royal Society Summer Exhibition, the leading annual showcase for fundamental science in the UK, we won the opportunity to show to the public how such science is performed, in an exhibit called Stars 'R' Us! In this article we set out how we approached the challenge of making our science as interesting to members of the public as it is to us.
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