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Out of this world experience for budding space scientists

15th February 2023

Pupils from a North East secondary school were given an insight into the fascinating world of space science during a recent visit to Northumbria University.

Caption:Pupils from Carmel College, pictured with staff from Jacobs and Northumbria University during their recent visitThe group of 13-17-year-olds, from Carmel College in Darlington, were all taking part in The Big Project – an annual initiative run by global technical consultancy Jacobs.

Each year students from schools across the region are set a challenge, working in teams to come up with original ideas which they pitch to a team of judges in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition over three rounds.

With this year’s challenge based around how space can improve our life on Earth, Jacobs turned to Northumbria’s internationally renowned Solar and Space Physics research team to support the students in their work.

Caption:Pupils were given a tour of Northumbria's new Space Technology Lab during their visitDuring the visit the students were given a tour of Northumbria’s brand-new Space Technology Laboratory, where they were involved in a number of experiments, including laser interferometry and gravitational waves, before presenting their ideas to a panel of judges.

Mike Bowen, Senior Associate Director at Jacobs, said: “Working with Northumbria has given us a fantastic opportunity to bring pupils from the schools we engage with to the University to give them an experience of what academia is like and help support them in making their future career choices.”

Louise Bracken, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange at Northumbria, added: “The pupils visiting Northumbria have been able to benefit from meeting our world-leading researchers and talking to them about the challenges associated with space, which will feed into their own projects. We really value our exciting relationship with Jacobs, which has real benefits in terms of education, research, the wellbeing of the region, and developing the workforce of the future.”

Newcastle upon Tyne Central MP Chi Onwurah spent time meeting the pupils during their visit. She commented: “What is important about events like today is that it makes science real for young people and makes them realise that there is something they can contribute to the exciting sectors and industries linked to space.”

Find out more about the visit and hear from some of the people involved in the video below.


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