Researchers ranging from microbiologists to physicists were brought together with 180 students (11-16 year olds) from seven different Edinburgh schools in an interactive and informal way at the “Celebrating Science- Careers Event” held at Our Dynamic Earth, led by the Scientific Director, Dr Hermione Cockburn.
The collaboration of Our Dynamic Earth with Heriot-Watt scientists stemmed from the ‘Science, not Gender’ networking session held last year by HW Engage. There were just under a dozen delegates representing Heriot-Watt from across the different science disciplines.
PhD students from the School of Life Sciences Leagh Powell, Theodora Mantso, Valentina Ricottone, and Danai Patsiou organised an exhibit demonstrating a variety of ways nanomaterials are used in the world around us and how we research these materials. The exhibit contained snails used to study the environmental impact of nanomaterials, nanomedicines being developed and a selection of everyday items that contain nanomaterials, such as sunscreen and mascara.
Dr Ana Catarino, Marie Curie Fellow at the School of Life Sciences, presented a talk 'Neither here nor there: adventures of a marine biologist', covering her career path to date and the exciting opportunities in a research career including travel.
Highlighting the importance of physics and interdisciplinarity were Dr Ali Dun from The Edinburgh Super-resolution Imaging Consortium (ESRIC) and Dr Deirdre Kavanagh from the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering at Heriot-Watt University. They showed off some of the work going on within the Institute in fluorescent microscopy and spoke to some very inquisitive pupils.
Dr Hermione Cockburn, Scientific Director of Our Dynamic Earth, said “Dynamic Earth is delighted to be working with Heriot-Watt University on ways to encourage children and young people to study science and consider a career in STEM subjects."
Feedback and questions from the students was encouraged throughout the talks and demonstrations, with the high level of interest and excitement indicating a promising future for science research in Scotland.