MEETING Nobel Prize winner Dr Brian Schmidt, dissecting a human eye, building a robot that responds to human movement – just part of the holiday mix for six Year 12 students from The Armidale School.
Attending separate Rotary National Youth Science Forums in Canberra and Brisbane, Nicholas Bohlsen, Ashini Ekanayake, Sambavan Jeyakumar and Nicholas Jackson said it was more like a conference that opened up opportunities, than a summer science school for nerds.
Both choosing the Medicine stream at the forum, Ashini and Sambavan had scalpels in hand in an anatomy workshop, visited a pathology museum and visited the new John Curtin School of Medical Research where they learnt about medical imaging.
“It was really hands on and designed to show us that medicine was more than being a doctor but a really broad field with lots of options,” Sambavan said.
For budding physicist Nicholas Bohlson, seeing a particle accelerator at ANU’s Research School of Physics and Engineering was a major buzz, while Nicholas Jackson was inspired by a talk from 2017 Australian of the Year Alan Mackay-Sim and wowed by a video conference with a scientist at the CERN atomic laboratory in Switzerland.
“It’s the most incredible facility – but just having the opportunity to be exposed to new things and possibilities was the best part of the week,” he said.
Meanwhile at the National Computer Science School at the University of Sydney, Owen Chandler built a website “from the ground up” and Hannah Van Roy designed a robot driven by human movement using micro:bit pocket-sized computers.
“There were some awesome site visits to the headquarters of (software companies) Atlassian, Google, Optiver and WiseTech and it was fantastic to socialise with tutors and other students who were just amazing,” Hannah said.
For his skills, Owen was presented with one of only a handful of awards for outstanding technical contribution.
“Whichever we did, all six of us just loved meeting others with a similar interest, having our eyes opened to awesome opportunities and job pathways that we didn’t know about, and showed us a world of real science applications far beyond the whiteboard,” Ashini said.
All six lived in university colleges, giving them an insight into residential life on campus. The four attending the National Youth Science Forums thanked Armidale North Rotary for sponsoring their attendance.