Trains, CSI and Water Bowls

By PaulButler | footprints | June 27, 2013

It’s now April and off to a conference being hosted by the Institute of Physics about Nuclear Physics. Now this was being held in York University with a mixture of both academic and industrial delegates there to talk about the latest news in nuclear physics research, whether it be the progress of nuclear fusion reactors, new detectors being created or new methods of isotope production for medical purposes, all were interesting that I went too (sadly can’t go to all lectures as majority run simultaneously) with some guest speakers and lectures. An interesting lecture (which was for the public as well) was how in movies the laws of physics are usually thrown out the window and if they were achievable then we would be dead (an example is in Armageddon when in the space shuttle they are supposedly pulling about 30g-force, in real life you would be dead). Another interesting point of a conference is get to meet a range of people in different disciplines in nuclear physics and improve networking; though one of main highlights was the conference dinner, as we went to the national railway museum and saw some of the ancients trains of the past with replicas of the rocket, bullet train, as well as a train with a bath, study and bed (use to be the royal train) and of course Thomas the tank engine was there.

Later on in the month had one of my final STEM events, now this was different to other STEM events as this was for a whole school of 240 children with simultaneous events happening at once for the whole day, and I was too organise this!  At first this felt like a daunting task, however I managed to organise a meeting with people from where I work who had previously completed STEM events and came up with several ideas. For the young children (reception to Year 1) we did an activity called will it float, where using different items (toy cars, money, Lego, fruit, Tesco finest tomatoes) dropping them into a bowl of water and see if they would float, for children in Year 2 to Year 3, it was K-nex engineering with building bridges and towers. For the Year 4 we had a CSI style case, where using a PH experiment they were to find out who had poisoned the librarian. Finally for the older children (year 5 and year 6) it was Lego engineering, where they built sweepers, windmills and pneumatic lifts. With 9 helpers from my work place and a bit of training beforehand we ventured into the school, and with only one or two minor hiccups went swimmingly with teachers and students enjoying the day’s event so much, that they are interested for the same experience next year!

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