Stars 'r' Us! started out as a collaboration between UK university-based researchers at the Open University, University College London and the University of Nottingham with colleagues from the Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands and the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Stars 'r' Us! was developed in 2003 and operated for the the first times as a public engagement exhibit in Astrochemistry at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition in July 2004, which showcased the best of scientific research across the UK. The week long event was busy but rewarding for both us and those school children, students, members of the general public and scientists were able to visit our exhibit, discuss its content and interact with scientific research in action. Indeed Stars 'r' Us! proved to be amongst the most popular exhibits at the event, especially with children. Our appearance at the 2004 Royal Society Summer Exhibition was featured in the house magazine of the Royal Astronomical Society, Astronomy and Geophysics, and the article "The Making of Stars 'r' Us!" can be download from here as a PDF file. You can see some pictures of us at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition here.

Stars 'r' Us! was founded with the intention of taking our science to the public; of explaining the how, what and where of Astrochemistry. As such Stars 'r' Us! was not founded as a one-off activity but as an on-going project.  Therefore we have made every effort to exhibit Stars 'r' Us! at other local, national and international events including 

With the start of 2006, the Stars 'r' Us! consortium was extended to include Heriot-Watt University and Strathclyde University and September 2006 saw us invited back to participate in a second Royal Society Summer Exhibition; this time in the Royal Society's only venture north of the Border to Scotland in the Glasgow Science Centre.  Again our exhibit proved to be a popular attraction at this events. Photos from this event can be found here. By this time, SRU was consider as the PE activity of the EPSRC-supported AstroSurf Network in Surface Science Applications in Laboratory Astrophysics and as such took the opportunity to further our agenda of explaining our science to the public with events including

By the end of 2009, Stars 'r' Us! was beginning to look tired and dated. The creation of the LASSIE (Laboratory Astrochemical Surface Science in Europe) Initial Training Network (a direct descendant of the UK AstroSurf Network) with funding from the EU Framework 7 marked a new starting point for Stars 'r' Us! The Stars 'r' Us! consortium was expanded to include all the member institutions in LASSIE and the LASSIE public engagement partner, Graphic Science Ltd. This provided the impetus, funding and PE expertise to refresh and re-develop Stars 'r' Us! for 2010 and beyond. Several events have followed:

Stars 'r' Us! today remains the primary public engagement activity of the LASSIE Network. We are currently planning possible activities for the future. Several ideas are being considered; but we would welcome approaches from organisations that might like to engage with us in engaging with the public as we have done over the last decade. For further information about the Stars 'r' Us! exhibit please contact one of the partners.

Stars 'r' Us! has been very successful in attracting the support of our universities and research networks, learned societies, research councils and industry to bring it's activities to the public. A list of those who have contributed financially and otherwise to the activities of Stars 'r' Us! since its inception in 2003 is given below:

Built and Maintained by Members of the SRU Consortium