Press release

Wellcome Trust initiative links science to the Olympic and Paralympic Games for everyone in 2012

How do athletes move so fast and jump so high? As the world focuses on the extraordinary feats of human performance that will take place in London next summer, the Wellcome Trust is leading a London 2012-inspired UK-wide initiative to engage the public with the science of how their own body works during exercise, movement and rest.

With free experiment kits for every UK school and an interactive touring exhibition for the whole family, there will be an opportunity for everyone to explore what happens in our bodies and minds when we take part in sport, exercise or everyday movement.

The Wellcome Trust's In the Zone initiative will be formally launched by five-time Olympic Gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave CBE at the Association for Science Education conference in Liverpool today. Sir Steve will take to the stage with medic and physiology expert Professor Hugh Montgomery and BBC Science Presenter Greg Foot for a live and interactive demonstration of some of the experiments from the free school kits.

Commenting on the launch, Sir Steve said: "It's often said that there's more to sport than winning medals, but there's also more to winning medals than sport. Science played a huge role in my Olympic success, and understanding how my body works was as important on race day as any brutal training regime.

"With In the Zone, the Wellcome Trust is giving kids everywhere an opportunity to understand their own bodies and how to use them, which will hopefully see them inspired in both science and sport."

From February 2012, the Wellcome Trust will deliver free kits with all the equipment and information needed to conduct hands-on experimental investigations into human physiology to every UK school and Further Education college. Does having long legs help you jump further? How does the cardiovascular system adapt during exercise and sport? These questions and more are explored in the curriculum-linked experiments developed in collaboration with Pearson Education.

In spring 2012, In the Zone goes on tour with an interactive exhibition for the whole family. The high-quality, immersive experience features interactive high-tech exhibits and guided investigations to explore how the body works. Visitors will be able to capture their movement with a high-speed camera, see their veins, sharpen their reaction times and race for gold in a show-stopping finish.

Designed and delivered by At-Bristol, one of the UK's leading science and discovery centres, the exhibition promises to delight, inspire, entertain and engage people with the amazing human body. In the Zone will travel to festivals and county shows in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from March until September.

Clare Matterson, Director of Medical Humanities and Engagement at the Wellcome Trust, said: "The Olympic and Paralympic Games will be an inspiring time for sport and medicine as the world grapples to comprehend the astonishing capabilities of the human body. Wellcome Trust is harnessing the enthusiasm around the Games to get people thinking about how their own bodies work with some fun, hands-on experiments."

In the Zone has been awarded the Inspire Mark from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and is a key strand of Get Set+, part of the official London 2012 education programme.