It’s not every day you get to meet a Nobel Laureate. Dr Brian Schmidt won this prestigious prize for Physics in 2011, and last Friday gave just one of the many inspirational speeches to 3 of our Year 10 students. Urangan High students were joined by 200 Queensland students and teachers at QUT in Brisbane for the Wonders of Extreme Science workshops, Speed meet a scientist and introductions to the winners of the prestigious Clunies Ross awards. The Clunies Ross Awards are Australia’s top awards for mastery of new technology and business expertise.
Dr Schmidt spoke of scientists as ordinary people doing extraordinary things because they try. “Science allows you to think about solving problems. We need to be able to outsmart robots by learning STEM subjects and taking up STEM careers”.
The students also heard Dr Brody Foy, a 25 year old Brisbane kid with a PhD in Maths and a Rhodes Scholarship! Dr Gurion Ang from University of Queensland inspired us with the story of his passion for Entomology and how some insects are destroying our crops, for which he has a PhD. Dr Allister Page of the University of Newcastle told us his own story of how he started his journey in science –Allister was fascinated by the colours produced when doing the Flame Test in Year 9.
Our students communicated with scientists such as Dr Geoff Garrett, Queensland Chief Scientist; Associate Professor Leigh Ward from the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biology UQ; plus a robotics research fellow, PhD students, and a Mining Engineer.
Stimulating workshops such as Sustainable House and Engineering Our Future provided wonderful opportunities for the students to meet more real scientists and participate in thought provoking hands-on activities.
The afternoon session provided students with careers information from world leading mining and engineering companies Bechtel and Rio Tinto.
Just 6 student speakers were invited to give a summary of their day. This gave Maddi the opportunity to tell the 200 students, teachers and university staff what activities the USHS group had done, favourite moments and what was learnt.
Urangan students were inspired to continue their studies beyond school and university. Real scientists generously gave their time to attend to inform the students that “whatever” is possible and to maintain their passion for what they want to achieve. A science degree has so many possibilities for future employment, further study and research beyond test tubes and lab coats – business, mining and engineering, environment, geophysics, agriculture, mathematics, biomedical science…… Where could a career in science lead you?