Jacqueline Campbell our new Education Outreach officer arranged this brilliant visit to Tolworth Girls School.
To celebrate Women in Science Day and promote STEM subjects to girls, Tolworth Girls School in London had asked if Mullard Space Science Laboratory would be interested in sending someone along to talk to the girls about career paths and research. I arranged for 4 of us to go along for the day: Myself (Jacqueline Campbell) to talk about searching for organic signatures on Mars. Kiky Putri, to talk about machine learning and developing 3D models of planetary surfaces. Divya Persaud, to discuss planetary geology and Mars rover missions. Si-Ting Xiong, to talk about radar remote sensing techniques on Earth and other planets.
Left to right, Si-Ting, Jacqueline, Divya and Kiky
We each set up at table with a laptop showing some of our research, and some information about us, and throughout the day, the entire year 7 and year 11 year groups rotated around the tables and participated in Q&A sessions.
The younger children were very enthusiastic, and all seemed very interested in space science in particular, and had a lot of questions about astronomy and planetary topics, and were interested in how to become a space scientist. Some of the girls were concerned that they weren’t good enough at Maths to become scientists, and we spoke about the diversity of disciplines involved in space science, many of which do not focus on maths and physics, and talked about the history of women in science.
The older girls were more reticent, and many claimed that they did not have an interest in science, but after discussion, many of them were actually interested in subjects such as psychology and physical education, and we discussed how these subjects are reliant on scientific disciplines, and how they can also relate to space science, i.e. physical and mental health of astronauts. We also spoke about how satellites and remote sensing impact social and political areas, and how business and economics relates to funding for space science. Many of the older girls were surprised at how much technology results from the space industry.
The head teacher of the school is very interested in continuing to promote space science at Tolworth, and would like to participate in the Google Hangouts sessions and arrange a visit to MSSL in the near future.
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