A hundred and twenty local children will meet scientists and learn about evolution with scientist, author and broadcaster Professor Alice Roberts to mark the launch of the University’s Milner Centre for Evolution.

The Centre is a unique research hub that bridges biology, health and education. Not only will it pioneer the latest evolution research, it will also research the best methods to teach evolution and provide invaluable resources to schools to support their teaching of the subject.

Professor Alice Roberts is a member of the Centre’s Advisory Board and will be taking part in evolution activities alongside children from local primary schools including handling shark skulls to learn about how they smell and making frogspawn beads using jelly.

Following an official building opening event, Professor Roberts will present a free public lecture on three species tamed by humans that changed our civilisation.

The Milner Centre for Evolution is named after University of Bath alumnus, Dr Jonathan Milner, who provided founding capital to establish the Centre.

The Centre is also launching a free online course aimed at primary and secondary school teachers that starts on Monday 29 October to provide tried-and-tested resources to support them in teaching evolution.

Professor Roberts said: “Evolution is a key concept in biology - in fact, it’s impossible to understand biology without it.

“Evolution explains how life on this planet has unfurled into all the wonderful diversity of species we see on the planet today. Genetics has joined traditional disciplines such as comparative anatomy, embryology and palaeontology to reveal more than ever about the way evolution works.

“I’m delighted to be involved in the new Milner Centre for Evolution.”

Professor Laurence Hurst, Director of the Milner Centre for Evolution said: “The Centre is uniquely based on three pillars.

“Firstly we conduct quality evolutionary research to further our understanding of the history of life on Earth. However, we do not lock that knowledge away in erudite papers, we explain it through outreach, our second pillar. The public are hungry to understand evolution and we want to work with both children and adults to help answer these fundamental questions.

“Finally, our third pillar is applying evolutionary knowledge for the public good. Understanding evolution better can inform how to treat cancer more effectively, to develop better therapies, or to help tackle climate change.

“By combining pure science, applied science and outreach, we will endeavour to make discoveries and make a real difference.”