Rob Jeffries

New CPE course

Outreach and Teaching

I teach on the undergraduate courses in Physics and Astrophysics at Keele University and have an active outreach (or public understanding of science) program.

The Stardome The Keele Uinversity Stardome (a.k.a The Exoplanetarium - see opposite) is now a long-standing outreach programme that I began and now runs in collaboration with the Widening Participation section of Keele's Marketing and Media division.

The Stardome project won the 2015 Times Higher Education Award for "Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year". The judges said "The statistics on the sheer number of children and schools associated with the project demonstrate its success, with more than 5,000 children involved in 2013-14 alone. The project made excellent use of 'astronomy as a gateway into physics' and explained 'the work of a university to a wider group of people'.

The Exoplanetarium

The Exoplanetarium

I obtained a grant in 2012 from the Science Technology and Facilities Council (STFC) to develop a schools outreach program using an"inflatable" planetarium, that we call the Exoplanetarium. I can take this dome into schools and project dynamic images of the night sky, solar system and exoplanetary systems. Our aim is to visit about 30 schools/colleges and do shows for around 5000 pupils per year. More information can be found and bookings made through Keele's outreach team. Follow this link for an (old) leaflet wchich also spells out the basic details.


Undergraduate Teaching

I teach a first year course in Mathematics and final year courses in Electromagnetism and The Physics of Compact Objects.

I have been experimenting with some innovative online teaching tools in the last 12 months. These are Screencasts and Interactive graphical models.

Both techniques are easier to show than explain. The screencasts involve me solving problems on a graphical tablet, whilst recording the screen and audio using some open-source software called Camstudio. The output AVI files are then compressed into flash FLV files using the converter from Free Studio.


The interactive graphics uses the fantastic free, Java-based Geogebra software to create interactive or animated simulations of Maths and Physics problems. The following examples should make things clear (they require Shockwave Flash and Java to be enabled).

The motion of a damped harmonic oscillator.

Examples of differentiation by chain rule.

Get in touch with me if you want to know all the technical nitty-gritty.