Oxfordshire Young Scientists of the Year 2019

To be a Young Scientist of the Year, you need attributes such as enthusiasm, creativity and a willingness to take on-board new ideas, all whilst being determined and focussed. Last week, Science Oxford was delighted to welcome seventy-three Oxfordshire secondary students with such attributes to the perfectly neo-gothic University of Oxford Museum of Natural History for our annual celebration of awesomeness.

The Young Scientists of the Year celebrations honour the region’s most outstanding Year 13 science students, whether they’re studying physics, biology, chemistry, psychology, applies sciences or health and social care. They can be nominated based on exam results, progress made during their A-Level course (or equivalent) or in recognition of their enthusiasm and commitment to the subject.

Our Oxfordshire celebration began with drinks and canapés, under the stony gaze of some of the world’s most illustrious scientists, was enhanced by some inspirational speakers from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the Faraday Institution and the Nuffield Department of Medicine, who explored the worlds of neutron accelerators, spacecraft design and the future of battery technology.

Hearing about how people found their pathway in to a job they love is a great way to engage young people about STEM careers. Professor Philippa Matthews, an immunologist at the Nuffield Department of Medicine, told the story of her journey from training in medicine at Nottingham University, to spending time doing research in communities in Malawi and Uganda and eventually ending up at the University of Oxford; all in the name of tackling one of the most prevalent global diseases of our time – Hepatitis B. Philippa and her research group are part of a global collaboration that aims to eradicate Hepatitis B by 2030. She inspired the students to look to the future, and to think about how they, as STEM professionals, might take on some of the most challenging global issues of our time.

Fran Long, Education and Training Co-ordinator at the Faraday Institution in Didcot, described how her career began as a midwife before going into teaching and then discovering science engagement. She extoled the virtues of keeping your options open and taking every opportunity that comes along.

The celebration ended with each student being presented with a certificate of achievement. Surrounded by family and the teachers who nominated them, our Young Scientists of the Year beamed from ear to ear as they posed for photographs under the smiling jaws of the museum’s magnificent T-Rex.

Andy Kensley Head of Education Outreach, said “The evening was a fantastic celebration of the successes, enthusiasm and hard work of our local young scientists. Our speakers were inspirational in sharing about their work across a huge variety of science and technology fields. We wish our students all the best for their future careers!

See photos of the evening below.

The Buckinghamshire Young Scientist of the Year event is taking place on Monday 25th November at New Bucks University – closing date for applications is Monday 11th November. For more information and to nominate your Bucks students visit here.

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