At the beginning of January, five Lower Sixth students from Burgess Hill School for Girls attended a residential course at the University of Surrey as part of their ongoing participation in the Engineering Education Scheme (EES). The scheme has been set up to inspire future engineers and scientists to fulfil their potential in pursuing careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Alicia Critchley, Bonnie Tse, Caroline Welford, Georgianna Kloos and Jessica Liu took part in a two-day project which allowed them to experience the highest levels of scientific pursuit, using the cutting edge technology and assistance offered by the University.
They were tasked with creating a project brief with a measurable set of defined specifications and targets, and a range of designs which could be implemented to solve the problem; exactly the same procedure as a full-time member of the university scientific community would be asked to produce.
Working with their link company, Photek, the team are developing a system which can test the efficiency of image intensifiers. This involves creating a system to rotate the grating of an ultra-violet light photometer and then calibrate it using lasers. It involves highly scientific technology that the girls are learning to manipulate with aplomb – the sort of technology that is found at CERN.
During the residential course the girls were able to commence their prototype solution, and will work to complete this at school during the coming weeks.
Jessica Liu said: “Although programming was hard, we worked as a team to solve the difficulties that we met and the outcome was very satisfying. We were proud of our achievement.’
Bonnie Tse added: “Despite having lots of trials on coding which is new to all of us, we have gained huge success during these two days. Working with these mechanical instruments has been fresh to me; this was an unforgettable experience.”
On conclusion of the project, the ultra-violet spectrometer and software produced by the girls will be incorporated into Photek’s wide variety of photon detection systems for applications in military aircraft, space science and biological inspection systems.
The five students aim to gain a CREST (Creativity in Science and Technology) Award, conferred by the British Science Association later in the year following presentation of their project.