In 2014, a group of IRIS students visited CERN, one of the world’s leading research institutions. This eye-opening experience included a look into leading technologies that allow scientists to better understand radiation. Students and their teachers marvelled at the clarity in which they could visualise radiation using Medipix technology. The ability to see the tiniest of particles gave students a different perspective on the subject and, ultimately, reinforced their understanding.
Recognising the potential impact this technology could have on science learning, IRIS worked with CERN and funders to bring this technology to UK schools. They aimed to empower burgeoning physicists to actively discover more about radiation through world leading technology, collaborative research and by communicating their findings to others. To enrich their experience further, IRIS provided students with access to data from radiation monitors on the International Space Station.
Armed with technology, students across the country, embarked on their own journeys of discovery. Some investigated the radiation levels of tea leaves, others sought out a correlation between solar activity and the number of muons reaching Earth.
We are deeply impressed by how the high school students have continued to find new and innovative ways of using the devices we developed.
The projects enhanced students understanding’ of radiation. It also taught them how to seek out answers and to clearly communicate their findings. Even more, it gave them experience of the trials and tribulations of real research. Many times, students’ findings uncovered more questions, rather than the answers they desired. Discovery lies in the long game and the refinement of research over time. The trick is to stay curious. Scientists at CERN were blown away with the students’ approach to using this technology.
“We are deeply impressed by how the high school students have continued to find new and innovative ways of using the devices we developed. It is particularly rewarding to see the enthusiasm this has generated for physics and engineering among the students. As scientists and engineers working in this field, we understand the challenges and rewards of working in fundamental physics Logos – Wellcome Sanger Institute, Wormbase and the European Bioinformatics Instituteon (or near) the leading edge of technology. It is wonderful to see our technology being used by the people who will one day take our place.,” says Dr Michael Campbell, spokesperson from CERN Medipix2 Collaboration.
Our partners on this project included CERN, IEAP University of Prague, the Institute of Physics (IOP), the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the South East Physics Network and The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.