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Science at Work

A chance to 'meet' 3 historic figures, Florence Nightingale, Gene Cernan and Isambard Kingdom Brunel to see how science was important in their roles. Then meet a range of current scientists who talk about their work. In each video, children pose questions to learn more about the jobs the scientists do and how science is important in their lives.

Skill Level:

In each video, the past scientists (played by an actor) and present scientists talk about their work and answer questions submitted by children. There is an activity sheet for each scientist with information about them and what they do, plus lots of links to related topics and activities. Children are encouraged to think of questions they would like to ask the scientist and although there is no longer an opportunity for them to send them in, the children are quite likely to hear the scientist answer the same or a similar question in the video.


  1. Florence Nightingale – The content of this video relates to the context we are in today with covid-19. Florence discusses the importance of hand-washing and the legacy of this.
  2. Junior Hospital Doctor and Viral Immunologist – The hospital doctor tells us about what she does at work and how they are looking after patients, including those with covid-19. The immunologists explains some of the science of viruses, how our bodies defend ourselves against them, and how vaccination works.
  3. Gene Cernan – The last man to walk on the moon describes this exciting mission and talks about surviving in space, including how to drink a glass of water and how to go to the toilet.
  4. Trainee Astronaut and a Climate Scientist – The trainee astronaut talks about the different challenges of becoming an astronaut as well as about her project to find out more about the planet Mercury. The climate scientist tells us how she uses space weather to understand events on planet Earth, and she shows us how we can make our own instruments to measure the weather.
  5. Isambard Kingdom Brunel – This great engineer tells us about some of his most famous projects – the Albert Bridge, the Clifton Suspension Bridge and his series of steamships.
  6. Two Engineers – The structural engineer talks about building different structures using examples from real projects, e.g. the velodrome in the Olympic Park in London, and she explains how bridges stand up. The civil engineer tells us about what being a civil engineer is like, and she talks about her role on a construction site, e.g. the new London Bridge Station.

All the scientists share their passion for and commitment to the jobs they do, and they talk about what they did at school in order to pursue their chosen career. You can download the activity sheets and watch the videos of these past and present scientists we have met.


An investigation of friction

Rapunzel wants to escape from her tower. Can the handsome prince help test her escape plan?

Healthy plant growth

Watch a runner bean seed grow roots, shoots and eventually seed pods!

How do scientists use electricity to study fish populations

What is electrofishing? Join Josh Bernstein as he learns how electricity can be used to safely catch fish.