Year-eight girls at Burgess Hill School for Girls experienced what it is like to be a scientist in the national ‘I’m a scientist; get me out of here’ challenge via live chat sessions at the end of the spring term. Over the fortnight, the girls quizzed the scientists on a wide range of topics, from ‘how do you trap atoms with your laser?’ and ‘what can be done to encourage girls into STEM careers?’ to ‘describe your typical working day’.
The group of scientists, who work in the areas of X-ray, light and laser physics, voted for the student who they felt demonstrated the highest levels of interaction and engagement during the challenge in their zone. Burgess Hill girl Emma Naunton was awarded the student winner prize from a pool of more than 400 students.
During the second week of the challenge, the girls, along with more than five thousand other school pupils, voted for the scientist who they thought deserved to win a £500 research prize. The winning scientist was Dr Hugh Harvey a radiologist at the Institute for Cancer Research. ‘It was very interesting and exciting learning about each scientist’s field of work. We all had so many questions to ask!’ said pupil Sorrel Peel-Yates.
Physics teacher Katren Bishop said: “By talking to these passionate scientists, the girls learnt more about rewarding STEM careers from experts in their fields, and were able to expand their scientific knowledge through in depth questioning. They encountered compassionate and imaginative people who love their work and strive to make a difference in our lives.”