Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Stronsay Science Festival Workshops 2019

Stronsay Science Festival Workshops 2019

Monday 9th September Activities:
Dr Alex MacKinnon from Glasgow University delivered a Radiation in Space workshop to the S4 Physic pupils and a shortened version to the remaining Secondary and Primary pupils. Dr MacKinnon explained how Scotland and its history of innovative scientific discovery were pivotal in understanding the way partials behave. CTR Wilson’s invention of the cloud chamber made the subatomic world visible by displaying particle tracks of condensation. Telling the story of the first Scottish Nobel Prize winner in Physics, born 150 years ago, and how his particular mix of interests remains topical in current research on cosmic radiation and climate.
Dr Mackinnon demonstrated radioactive decay using a Thermoelectric Cloud Chamber containing a Thoriated tungsten rod (2%) in which Thorium is used as an Alpha emitter showing the primary tracks due to alpha particles. It also showed the occasional Beta track seen due to the daughter nuclei of previous decays. 


Dr Bill Graham who worked within the Engineering Research Industry for many years developing new materials for the Aerospace industry delivered a workshop entitled ‘DNA to Butterflies’ in which Secondary student explored the role and importance of communication through modelling DNA.   
The pupils worked in pairs to build a model of DNA which acted as instructions for a computer aided design program to develop a unique Butterfly. The computer program developed by Mr Graham then printed the unique butterfly using a 3D printer which he brought to the school to show the pupils. The workshop demonstrated how science and technology teams effectively communicate and work together to develop and deliver new innovations within the Scientific and Engineering community.

Wednesday 11th September Activities:
Dr Dave Craig a former Research Production Engineer, whom as part of his engineering career was an instrumental part of the Engineering team which developed and manufactured the Typhoon Fighter Jet cockpit display unit. Dr Graig now works with schools and YESC (Young Engineers and Science Clubs Scotland) delivered two workshops for the secondary pupils:

The Secondary pupils in S4 participated in the Radiation Workshop delivered by Dr Dave Craig in association with CERN@school a programme designed to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers by offering access to CERN technology.
In which Students carry out their own research projects using detectors provided by the Institute for Research in Schools.  During this workshop we investigated and collected data relating to Ionising Radiation. The pupils had opportunity to use a MX-10 detector (Particle detector) to compare and measure alpha, beta and gamma radiation emitted from different sources such as background radiation,’ LoSalt’, Normal table salt, a charged balloon and various mobile devices . 

The Secondary pupils in S1 –S3 participated in the ‘The Energy Quest Challenge’  the aim of the challenge is to encourages young people to find out all about sustainable energy and learn about associated engineering careers. Within this workshop the pupils built; using a range of electrical components an electrically charged car. Using a multi-meter to record the voltage output the challenge was to investigate the charge voltage needed to get the car to stop at the target distance through graphing and analysing the results over different distances. The pupils really rose to the challenge of getting their vehicle to travel exactly 10 meters, no more or no less! 

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