Issue date: 02 August 2002

The Graphic Science team1 from the University of the West of England have come up with a fun and educational ruse to combat boredom during congested motorway travel in the school summer holidays.

Their latest venture is taking them to motorway service stations, where they will do tricks and hand out family packs. The project is called Science in the Fast Lane and is being funded by both the (Copus)2 and the Institute of Physics3, and takes place during Science Year4. The tricks have all been designed so that they can be safely performed by back seat passengers, for example paper bangers, which fold into shape and pop. The family pack includes a quiz with questions about things like how cars work and what lives on motorway verges.

All completed quiz sheets will be entered for a free draw and the winner will receive £200. The answers to the quiz and the winner of the prize will be announced on a specially designed web page. The site will include links to other science sites, which give information about the subjects covered in the quiz. For more information visit

Project Director Professor Frank Burnet, said: ”The project is going to be great fun to deliver, and we might make a contribution to one of the greatest unsolved problems of our time – how to keep kids quiet in cars.”

The team will be performing the events at the following locations from 10am-4pm:

6 August, Easton-In-Gordano service station JN 19 of M5, Portbury, Bristol
*press call

9 August, Sandygate service station, JN 30, M5, Exeter

12 August, First Motorway Services, Magor Road, JN23A, M4, Newport,
South Wales

Press are invited to attend the first session on 6 August but are welcome to attend any of the sessions. For more information please contact: Madeleine Ings, tel 0117 344 3756,
e-mail or contact the Press Office – see details below.

Editor’s notes

1 Graphic Science is a science communication team based at the University of the West of England. The largest project to date is ‘Science on the Buses’, a national bus-based campaign with a potential audience of 7 million, which won an MBE for Professor Burnet and one of the largest grants ever given for work of its kind by the Office of Science and Technology. The team has also organised events that take science into generic venues used by the public, such as pubs, supermarkets and even concert halls.
2 Copus is the national umbrella body for organisations and individuals involved in communicating science, and is committed to supporting ways of increasing public engagement with the issues and processes of science.
3 The Institute of Physics is a leading international professional body and learned society with over 37,000 members, which promotes the advancement and dissemination of knowledge of and education in, the science of Physics, pure and applied. For information about the institute of Physics contact the Public Relations Department on Tel. 020 7470 4800, e-mail or website –
4 Science Year is a 12-month packed calendar of events, projects and resources designed to stimulate the imagination about science and technology.

In-kind sponsors include Techniquest, the EPSRC, Science Year, Institute of Physics Publishing, Royal
Society of Chemistry, University of the West of England

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