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Friends of Catalyst

A friends organisation was formed in 1987 to support Catalyst and now has more than fifty members. Its aims include:

  • Supporting the Museum by giving money for the purchase of artefacts, equipment or facilities.

  • Providing voluntary help when needed.

  • Encouraging others to visit the Museum to enjoy its displays and facilities.

The Museum is continually expanding its activities and needs more support from its Friends to help it achieve this growth.

Please help us to help the Museum by joining the Friends today.



  • A lively programme of talks and activities throughout the year

  • Information about the progress and development of Catalyst

  • Invitations to special events

  • Private views of all major new Museum exhibitions

  • Regular issues of the Friends newsletter

  • Opportunities to participate in a range of voluntary work at the Museum

Download an application form


Friends can make a valuable contribution to the practical work of Catalyst by helping in a range of interesting Museum activities.

These currently include:-

  • Assisting with the cataloguing of books and photographic archives.

  • Acting as guides for visitors

  • Helping to staff Special Events for schools

  • Helping with the maintenance of the Museum's artefacts and exhibits


There are two categories of membership, category a (membership only) and category b (membership PLUS annual admission to the museum)

Annual subscription rates are currently as follows:

Type A membership 


Type B membership (inc. entrance to Catalyst)

Individual membership           



Individual membership          


Retired member                     



Retired member                     







Joint members (couple)             



Joint members (couple)          


Joint (pensionable couple)    



Joint (pensionable couple)      


Students (single membership subscription)       14

Organised by ‘Friends of Catalyst’ and Catalyst Science Discovery Centre, Widnes SciBar meets on the second Wednesday of each month (not August) at the Hillcrest Hotel, Widnes. It’s an opportunity to meet in a relaxed setting, be entertained with talks from science professionals and discuss topics with like minded individual.

With the help of David Hornby we have set up a Widnes SciBar blog.

The next meeting of Widnes SciBar will be at 7.30pm, on the date shown below, in the Trafalgar Room at the Hillcrest Hotel, Cronton Lane, Widnes.

12th April
Louise Dennis, Department of Computer Science, University of Liverpool
Reasoning Machines: Could a Machine Think?

How might a computer work out that if all men are mortal and Socrates is a man then Socrates must also be mortal?

If computers can reason does that mean that they can also think or are there other important components involved in thinking?

This talk will look both at techniques for creating reasoning machines and survey the philosophical discussion around whether a computer could think.


10th May
Dr. Aravind Vijayaraghavan, School of Materials, The University of Manchester
Graphene – Unexpected Science in a Pencil Line

Graphene is the world's first 2-dimensional material and the subject of the Nobel Prize winning research at The University of Manchester.

Dr. Vijayaraghavan will describe:-

its superlative properties such as strength, electrical/thermal conductivity, transparency, stretchability, etc.

how you can make it using just a piece of graphite (found in pencil lead) and a roll of Cello-tape

potential applications, such as bendable electronic devices and super-fast computer chips