10 01

Mysteries of the universe on the agenda at new Abingdon science club

DETECTING particles created by nuclear decay or cosmic radiation might sound like something confined to the world's most high-tech labs. But science-mad youngsters in Abingdon will have the chance to do just that at a new after school club.

The club, at The Abingdon Science Partnership in Faringdon Road, has been given access to a particle track detector from the CERN@School – linked to the large hadron collider at CERN in Switzerland.

It is one of just a host of opportunities Abingdon School teacher Jeremy Thomas hopes can be opened up to youngsters through the club.

He said: "I want to get young people in and enable them to work on an open-ended project.

"They may come in with their own ideas, which is fine, and we can support them.

"But we also have links with The Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) and CERN@School, who have loaned us the particle track detector.

"It is a piece of equipment that you would not get elsewhere."

The sessions will run on Wednesdays from 3.30pm at the partnership's lab at the Yang Science Centre in Faringdon Road and are open to all young people in the town from year 10 to year 13.

Those taking part will also have the chance to take part in a slug-tracking project run by the Royal Horticultural Society, including exploring possible deterrents.

Mr Thomas said: "We are also going to access the Faulkes telescope in Hawaii so we can have time viewing through it using a computer.

"There is a huge range of things we can suggest or we can support young people with their own project."

Many of the young people who take part in the club will study science at school.

But Mr Thomas said it would give them more chance to explore areas outside the curriculum.

He said: "It is a chance to go that bit further that they sometimes do not get the chance to.

"Kids often feel a bit frustrated by the fact they cannot go for everything in the time available in school.

"So it is hopefully a good opportunity."

Mr Thomas added that science, particularly the sort of things youngsters would be taking part in at the after school club, could benefit them in the future.

He said: "There are all the advantages for CVs and applications for universities and so on.

"And there are also all these soft skills that are so important.

"Going to a club like this shows an enthusiasm and an interest for science."

For more information email jeremy.thomas@abingdon.org.uk

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