Summer Schools: Skateboards to starships (age 16–18)

10.30am to 4.30pm, Wednesday 7 August

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Credit: Tim Mitchell
  • Type

    Summer Schools
  • Audience

    Age 16–18

  • Speakers

    • John Davies
    • Satinder Shergill


Standard £50

Ri Young Members £42.50

Event description

Join us for a truly astronomical day with John Davies and Satinder Shergill, as students explore how maths, science and engineering come together to reveal how humanity can reach the stars.

Based on the work of three great thinkers, Al-Karismi, Newton and Tsiolkovsky, students will be challenged to use their maths and physics to see how skateboard equations can apply to fusion drives and massive lasers to take us to distant stars - and how simple experiments and demonstrations can back up the theories.

About the speaker

John Davies is a lifelong engineer and has been fascinated by space travel ever since he read the Dan Dare stories in the Eagle in the 50s.

John studied electronics at Liverpool University. After this he worked on satellite projects including a design study for the Hubble satellite.

John was fascinated by digital technology and then moved to Edinburgh University, where he wrote communications software and studied Computer Science at Manchester University.

He's now retired but busier than ever with educational outreach to schools for the Initiative for Interstellar Studies, coordinating work on i4is website and email, and editing Principium, the quarterly newsletter of the Initiative for Interstellar Studies.

He's a long-established member of both the British Interplanetary Society and the British Computer Society.

Please note

Please note, this workshop is strictly for 16–18 year-olds and will include a 45 minute supervised lunch break. Students will not be able to leave the building at lunch time unless permission is given at the time of booking. Students should bring lunch and a drink, pens and pencils.

Discounted tickets are available to Ri Members. Find out more about how to join.

This workshop is based on an Ri Engineering Science Masterclass. Students who have attended a Masterclass series which included a session on a similar topic may have already seen some of the content in this workshop. Please contact us on with any questions.

Refunds can only be issued for tickets cancelled at least two weeks (14 calendar days) in advance of the event date. Please note that this supersedes our normal event terms and conditions.


Workshops are on the first floor of our building, for which there is step-free access from the street via lift.

The closest underground station is Green Park, which is step-free.

Seating is usually unreserved for our events. If you and your group require seating reservations, or if you have any other questions, please do let us know by email and we’ll be more than happy to help. Email:

Financial assistance

The Potential Trust may be able to offer financial assistance to enable children to participate in Ri events and activities if this would otherwise be difficult. Please contact Anna Comino-James preferably via telephone on +44 (0)1844 351666, or at their email address

Ri Young Members receive 15% off workshops

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