Irvine company Merck's amazing Curiosity Cube, a shipping container turned into a mobile science lab, has been on tour across Ayrshire again.

More than 700 students from Marr College, Robert Burns Academy and Ardrossan Academy had the opportunity to become scientists alongside Merck employees.

The Cube was also open to the public at the Irvine Merck site.

During their visit, students participated in three hands-on experiments about sustainability based on the lifecycle of a T-shirt.

Using modular electronics and other scientific instruments, the students became sustainability scientists by:

  • Examining different types of synthetic and natural fabrics utilized in the fashion industry with microscopes and categorizing them based on their level of sustainability. 
  • Designing and testing a windmill that produces enough renewable energy to power a model t-shirt factory. 
  • Exploring the process of recycling an old t-shirt into a new one by building a threading machine. The students also learned how old clothing can be sorted, shredded into fibers, and re-spun into thread for new garments. 

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The Curiosity Cube

Launched in 2017, the Curiosity Cube, with a floor space of 17.5 square metres, is a solar-powered shipping container travelling to schools and public events to reach tomorrow’s scientists.

At each event, participants learn how science is all around them through lessons led by Merck scientists. The goal is to excite students by opening their eyes to the many possibilities of what a career in science may look like.

And the Cube will soon be touring across Europe and North America too.

The Curiosity Cube also addresses the need for a robust and diverse pipeline of voices for the growing number of STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and maths) jobs.

According to a recent survey from Merck, 48 per cent of middle school students find it hard to see themselves as scientists, even though their everyday activities often involve science.

The Curiosity Cube helps students make that connection, while at the same time connecting them with professionals who are living proof of the variety of career options available in STEM.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The Curiosity Cube

In Europe and North America combined, the 2024 Curiosity Cube tour will reach 45,000 students through more than 280 events in 14 countries.

The European tour, which began in April, will include visits in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K.

Beyond the travelling Curiosity Cube, there is another Curiosity Cube stationed at Merck’s headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany.

To learn more about the Curiosity Cube and see the complete 2024 tour schedule, please visit You can also follow the Curiosity Cube on Instagram at @curiositycube_merck