From education to employment

Next Generation of Scientists Enjoy Unique Imperial College London Summer School

Photo: Jan-Philipp Strobel

24 talented school children from around the globe have attended a science-based summer school at one of the world’s top universities.

Saving the world, future sustainability and eco-friendly materials were hot topics discussed by a group of budding young scientists and top academics during a week-long summer school developed by ZEISS, an internationally leading technology enterprise, and Imperial College London.

With ambitions to create a more sustainable future for the planet, 14-year-old Kennedy Greene from Toronto, Canada was one of the cohort of students from across the globe to take part. She said:

“I applied for a place because I want to expand on my science knowledge in order to help build a more sustainable future for generations to come. The opportunity to learn more about biomaterials and how to help the environment from top experts, as well as study at one of the best universities in the world was too great to miss.”

The program focused on the theme of ‘The science of sustainability under the microscope’. Alongside some theoretical talks, the children were set challenges as well as taking part in practical workshops to examine various materials under the microscope and work on questions such as: How can we improve current materials? Which properties do they have? And how can they be used in an eco-friendly way?

Aspiring to pursue a career as a scientist 15-year-old Amelia Yuan, from Sheffield, UK won ‘The Composite Challenge’. She analysed materials through the ZEISS microscope and later developed the winning composite alongside her team. Amelia said:

“We put wooden sticks into paper straws, wrapped it around with carbon fibre and then sandwiched it in between layers of fibreglass. The combination of a strong material such as carbon fibre with natural components such as wood was our formula for success.” This clever combination withstood energy of 50 joules in the Charpy impact test, a standardized high-strain rate test that determines the amount of energy absorbed by a material during fracture.

The students spent a fully-packed week in London attending workshops, lectures and activities that saw them learn how to build and operate microscopes, using artificial intelligence for imaging and analysis, how microscopy and materials science are tightly interlinked and how the in-depth characterisation of materials can lead to a more sustainable future for all of us.

Dr Eleonora D’Elia, Senior Teaching Fellow, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Materials at Imperial College London added:

“It’s been fantastic to design this summer school program and share in the excitement of all the budding young scientists, from both here in London and around the world. It is an excellent initiative to help nurture these young scientific minds and direct them towards a more sustainable mindset. We hope this experience has given them an exciting insight into the diverse array of STEM careers available and how fundamental they are for the future of all of us.”

Katharina Enssle – Head of Employer Branding at ZEISS said:

“The aim of the ZEISS summer school was to give young people the opportunity to follow their passion for science while enjoying a unique experience at one of the world’s top academic institutes. It is important to give the young generation early exposure to the benefits of STEM subjects to help ignite their enthusiasm for how science can build a better future for us all. As a company we are passionate about inspiring the next generation of scientists and encouraging children from all backgrounds to follow their aspirations for a career in science.”

To learn more about ZEISS in the UK, click here to visit the ZEISS Group website.

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