You're never too young to be a research scientist

Image © Diamond Light Source Ltd Loading a protein gel for electrophoresis. (Image © The Wellcome Trust)

The Langton Star Centre is working with students from primary and secondary schools to give them first hand experience in scientific research.
 
"The philosophy we have in the Star Centre is of giving students the experience of working alongside scientists on real research," says Dr Graeme Poole from the Langton Star Centre. "Our work has expanded from physics to include biology, chemistry and mathematics, covering a diverse range of topics to interest students."
 
Physics students are learning how to measure cosmic rays in space and how to track near-Earth objects in daylight hours. Students interested in medicine are studying the myelin sheath that protects the nervous system to discover how it degenerates in the onset of multiple sclerosis. Chemistry students are studying how designer drugs are created. The students are then collecting their data and sharing it with other schools.
 
A student participating in the project recently gained national recognition. Peter Hatfield won the Young Scientist of the Year 2009 at the National Science Competition. He has been working on projects supported by the Royal Society about solar plasma flare emission and cosmic ray detection.
 
"The students are not just reading textbooks about science, but they are actually taking a leading role in cutting edge research, and learning what its like to be a real young scientist," says Graeme.
 
Web links

Exhibitors

  • The Langton Research Group, Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys
  • Professor Mick Tuite, University of Kent
  • Dr David Fox, Pfizer Global Research and Development
  • Dr Michael Campbell, CERN
  • Dr Stuart Eves, David Cooke, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd
  • Professor Steve Rose, Imperial College London
  • Dr Paul Roche, Faulkes Telescope Project
  • Professor Steve Lloyd, Queen Mary, University of London