That´s what it says on the flyers: “We bring the sun down to earth.” Now we bring it directly into the classroom. “Sun Dome” is the name of a new device that has been developed by the Public Relations Department at the EURATOM/UKAEA Fusion Association at Culham, England.

The Sun Dome is an inflatable movie theatre measuring 6 metres in diameter and 3 metres high. Thanks to a special wide angle projector, the young visitors, mainly primary school children, get a wide angle view of the sun and the process that powers it: fusion. To reinforce the message, the pupils are then led through an interactive role play game in which they become atoms. They are taught about the dynamics of atoms as they heat up and how they ultimately fuse! At the end of the show, a movie on the work at Culham (MAST and JET), ITER and the future energy challenges wraps up the 30-minute-show.

UKAEA Culham Division’s Education Outreach Manager, Chris Warrick, is confident about the Sun Dome´s potential: “I hope that the Sun Dome will foster the excitement and thrill of scientific discovery amongst primary school children,” he said. “We also hope it makes them more aware of energy and climate change issues – and how fusion might help in the future”.

Footnote: The Sun Dome was funded directly by public engagement funds from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and EURATOM.