COME and join us for our big celebration.

That is the message from the University of Southampton as it gears up to throw open its doors to the public to celebrate its own diamond jubilee this weekend.

The institution is holding a special open day tomorrow at its Highfield Campus, aimed at showing off some of the world-changing research that has been carried out there over the last 60 years.

Unique experiences on offer will range from the chance to watch exciting demonstrations in some of the university’s cutting-edge hi-tech laboratories, to poring over historical pictures and documents from through the centuries in its Special Collections Archive.

The free community event, which marks the 60th anniversary of university being granted its Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth II, as one of her first acts on the throne, is designed to give members of the public the chance to meet and speak to some of the world’s leading academics working on their doorsteps.

Visitors will have a rare chance to see inside the RJ Mitchell Wind Tunnel, which is a centre of excellence for sports engineering, while a full-size Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 racing car will also be on display.

Elsewhere, people can tour and enjoy demonstrations in the globallyrenowned Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory, which has put the university at the forefront of innovative research in power supply conduction and distribution.

Inside, they will have the chance to view a high voltage demonstration include arcs, discharges, plasma generation and high voltage breakdown.

Visitors will be able to discover their own “signature”

of the way they walk thanks to the world’s only electronics and computer science (ECS) Biometric Tunnel, and see some of the incredible underwater creatures discovered by university scientists deep on the Caribbean sea-floor.

University Vice Chancellor Professor Don Nutbeam said: “Over the last 60 years our university has been at the forefront of life-changing research; we want to celebrate these achievements with our neighbours and community.

“By opening our doors we hope we can interest, excite and inspire our visitors, and demonstrate what an impact the discovery and invention of our staff has had on the world around us.”

Tomorrow’s free event runs from 10.30am to 4pm at the Highfield Campus .

l Southampton University has risen three places to 17th in this year's “table of tables”, drawn up by Times Higher education magazine.

Cambridge University came out top for the second year running in the magazine's survey of how the best higher education institutions are viewed.