From BBC News 18 January 2012

Alvaston Park Science Garden is officially opened


A new £43,000 science garden featuring a human sundial and concrete planets has opened at a park in Derby.

Alvaston Park Science Garden was built by volunteers and local schools using a National Lottery grant.

As well as a scale model of the inner solar system, the garden features several interactive science activities.

Katie Smith, a former teacher who came up with the idea, said she hoped it would encourage young people to take an interest in the world around them.

She said: "If the garden could inspire just a few people to play with natural phenomena, such as sound and shadows, then it will have done its job."

Sound and sight

At the centre of the garden is a sun mosaic, created by a local school, orbited by concrete sculptures of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.

Ms Smith said the distance between each planet had been worked out to scale with one metre representing a million kilometres in space.

The human sundial is a mosaic which requires a person to stand on a particular slab each month to cast a shadow on the right time of day.

Other activities installed in the garden encourage visitors to experiment with sound and sight, although two of the exhibits are still to be installed.

Ms Smith said: "This has been a long journey for Alvaston Park Friends, but it is fantastic to see the Science Garden almost complete."

The park officially opens on 18 January with a day of activities, including school pupils letting off rockets they have built themselves.