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Women and S.T.E.M
Celebrating International Women's Day 2018
Forty-five girls from Y9 visited Badminton School on Thursday 8th March, all joining together to celebrate International Women's Day and learn about the fantastic possibilities for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
The visit started with a fantastic and informative talk from a research graduate from Bristol University. She explained to the students how her passion for understanding sociology and genetics had led her through her education and into a profession that she loves. Her passion for science really enthused the girls and everyone liked participating in the quizzes she set, which were about her studies in social behaviour. The talk was followed by a superb international lunch and a chance for the girls to walk around the grounds to see the school.
After lunch, the students went back to the science labs for some amazing, interactive demonstrations. They saw how to make Liquid Oxygen, led by a professor who travels around the country, visiting schools and famous institutions such as CERN, to give scientific demostrations.
The girls also heard several small talks from Y12 students at Badminton School, supported by amazing hands on demonstrations from the school's science teacher.
Hands on experiments included: hammering nails made from blutak into a solid wooden block and using a hammer made from a sausage which was frozen in liquid nitrogen. They also saw balloons completely shrink in liquid nitrogen and then expand again when warmed up. The students jumped with fright when a balloon that was filled with nitrogen gas exploded - it expanded to over 700 times it's volume as a liquid! Other experiments involved superconductors frozen in liquid nitrogen, watching objects levitate above a magnet and fly above a magnetic track and freezing flowers which shattered like glass. Finally they were treated to some fantastic ice cream made using liquid nitrogen (it tasted great)!
The highlight of the day for me, a chemistry teacher at Merchants' Academy, was seeing the demonstration on how to make liquid oxygen. This was carried out by cooling an oxygen balloon in liquid nitrogen and for the first time ever, in nearly 30 years of chemistry, it was fasinating to see the clear blue liquid poured between two magnets and slowly evaporate.
Mr. Ivor Brittan
Overall, the whole day was an eye-opener for the Y9 students and an amazing opportunity to learn about STEM opportunities available to women. Hopefully some students will be inspired to explore the opportunities available to them in the STEM subjects and possibily become the next generation of female scientists and engineers.