University Open Days "May Fest" and "Wonder"

The University of Nottingham has always run “Open Days” to showcase its work and activities to local people, but in 2009 formalised as “May Fest” it became a fixture in the University calendar, growing to include contributions from more schools and departments, in addition to supporting alumni and donor relations, as well as widening participation. 

After a short hiatus and a review, in 2017 May Fest transformed into “Wonder” to invite local families and communities back onto campus for a stimulating day of discovery, play and learning. With visitor numbers usually exceeding 6000 events enables us to reach a wide local audience.

SBRC-Nottingham has always been a keen contributor and staff and PhD students eager to share their enthusiasm for science and explain their research to local people, two examples follow.


Wonder 2017

To contribute to the theme of “The Environment” our stand ”Bugs, Biofuel and Biosphere” included various fun activities to show that not all microbes are bad and how some turn unwanted waste gases into fuels and chemicals. 


Wonder 2017


There was something for everyone: younger children had fun making placticine microbes inside an “anaerobic cabinet”, older ones raced against the clock to build bioethanol from molemods and parents were engaged by the biology of the bubbling bioreactor.


Wonder 2019

To Contribute to the theme of “The Periodic Table” our activity focused on “Carbon” with our own original board game “Game of Fuels”. 

Whilst the take-home message varied according to age, it was clear that all had fun.   

We generally felt a good awareness of the need to find fossil fuel alternatives and perceived considerable support for the research being done.

Wonder 2019

For more information on Wonder at The University of Nottingham visit: