Lively camp for future scientists
Fifteen secondary students from throughout New Zealand descended on Wellington’s Victoria University for the 2012 NanoCamp last month.
The group of top science students from across the country was selected from a large number of applicants based on their academic standing, a written essay, and recommendations from their science teachers.
While the camp featured interactive sessions focused on cutting-edge research topics in nano-science and nanotechnology, it also included demonstrations of modern nano-fabrication methods and state-of-the-art equipment.
Besides seeing the facilities at Victoria, the students were spending one day at the Gracefield sites of Industrial Research Limited and GNS Science.
Gabrielle Young from Chilton St James in Lower Hutt said it was giving her “a more realistic view of what it’s all about”.
“It’s not just white coats and labs all the time,” she said.
“We had a cool lecture from a PhD student about nanotechnology and biological systems, and we extracted DNA from strawberries, which I didn’t know you could do. All the tutors have been really nice, and answered all our questions, explained stuff clearly.”
The science sessions were facilitated by MacDiarmid-Institute, with crucial help from PhD students and postdoctoral fellows.
Prof Uli Zuelicke, camp organiser, said the interaction between the visiting students and the reseachers was very stimulating to both.
“Thinking of ways to describe to bright high-school students how we approach our science quite often provides a new angle for how we academics view very fundamental issues.”
Prof Shaun Hendy, the Deputy Director of the MacDiarmid Institute, said the young technologists are New Zealand’s future.
“The high technology sector is the fastest growing part of the NZ economy, yet it is hampered by a shortage of scientists and engineers.
“I hope that the experience these young people had during their week at the MacDiarmid Institute showed them that cutting edge science and technology is alive and well in NZ and that it will encourage them to stay and build their careers here.”
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