'Science has no frontiers and should be accessible to all'

A group of Portuguese-speaking scientists delivered a unique workshop at the weekend to children in Edinburgh.

On Sunday 3 June 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 who promote 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 sciences 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.”


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 first life 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 way to engage with the science of our planet and Heriot-Watt are providing the scientists who are out there uncovering it for us all!”

For more information on the event, please contact Dr Ana Catarino, the Native Scientist Project Leader in Scotland, at anai.catarino@nativescientist.com. Currently Ana is a Research Associate from the Nature and Environmental Research Council (NERC) at the Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. More information available at Native Scientist’s Facebook Page and @NativeScientis1

4 Jun 2018


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