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Contents and Editorial

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Editor: Geoff Auty

Investigating possibilities of energy supply from a tidal lagoon at Swansea Bay

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Denise Thomas and students of Gower College, Swansea

Extract: Derivation of an energy source from the movement of the tides is the reason for considering a lagoon to trap seawater in Swansea Bay. But while the professional engineers are investigating the possibility of that development, this student group has undertaken a study of the viability of developing biological sources of energy in this restricted environment. Having concluded that farming microalgae would not be economic, they focused on macroalgae, selecting Saccharina latissima as the best species to use. They investigated methods of farming and harvesting it and went on to research anaerobic digestion and build their own prototype anaerobic digester. Finally, they investigated potential markets for their fuel.

Taking STEM through the looking glass

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Colin Inglis

Extract: There is much more to science education than the requirements demanded by the examination curriculum. This article illustrates one example of an in-depth investigation, kickstarted with a Royal Society Partnership Grant, into essential oils as antimicrobial agents. The project and subsequent extensions were selected to be presented at various science events and for several awards. Building on this success, the author has obtained a Wellcome Trust grant to set up a regional hub in North Yorkshire to encourage schools carrying out biomedical science research projects, with ten schools participating in its first year.

Smells like teen shampoo

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Adrian Allan

Extract: Reform of the Scottish science curriculum for Higher Chemistry gave students the opportunity to experiment with essential oils and fragrances. With the support of a Royal Society Partnership Grant, the students learnt how to isolate and identify compounds in essential oils using microscale steam distillation and thin-layer chromatography. The isolated oils were used to produce shampoos and then test the stability of foam (lather) obtained from their samples. Finally, they did a poster presentation to their industrial partner and fellow students.

Bulletproof ice: how to teach materials science using Pykrete

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Caroline Riggs

Extract: Students make and test a seemingly impossible material made from ice and sawdust that had been developed for possible emergency use during the Second World War. It was open to the students to be creative with their methods of testing the viability of such a material. The thought of making a battleship from ice that would gradually melt seems ridiculous, but if used in the freezing temperatures of the North Atlantic Ocean the possibility is there because the presence of salt in the water lowers the melting point.

Girls inspiring girls doing A-level physics

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Theresa Conlon

Extract: Through the development of clubs such as an engineering society and a space society, managed by sixth-form students themselves and structured to hand over responsibility to the next year-group an appropriate time before the A-level exams, girls throughout this school are encouraged to take an interest in physics and physics-related topics. One secret of success is to avoid high-level or high-intensity physics, but instead make sure that the meetings remain quite informal and can be seen as social occasions. Hence the students can ‘live and think’ physics without feeling under pressure; in this way, curiosity is developed that enables students to think further – and eventually take their turns as leaders of the groups.

The ASE Scotland Annual Conference 2017

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Jennie Hargreaves

Extract: Some impressions of the ASE Scotland Annual Conference 2017 from a teacher participant and exhibitor.

Be a road crash investigator: the physics of road safety

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Jennie Hargreaves

Extract: This project, presented at the ASE Scotland Annual Conference in March 2017, was part of a wider project funded by the Royal Society Partnership Grant scheme and presented at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2014, teaching science in the context of road safety throughout the author’s school. Students started by using model cars and road layout playmats to learn about speed and road safety and progressed to using scientific processes to investigate the physics of road accidents.

Your students as published scientists?

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Christina Astin

Extract: 'Young Scientists Journal' is an online journal entirely produced by students aged 12–20. Started in one school in 2006 as a vehicle for publishing school students’ research, the twice-yearly journal has expanded to include contributions from schools across the UK and in over 45 other countries. It aims to enthuse students to carry out their own scientific research and publish the results. The author, and journal co-founder, has showcased the journal at ASE Annual Conference and a Science on Stage festival in Hungary.

Theme editorial: Public Understanding of Science

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Michael Hal Sosabowski

Extract: In the times in which we live, it is now not uncommon to become aware of science ‘breakthroughs’ on Twitter, Facebook or other social media platforms. These media can, on first inspection, convey an air of authenticity to the reader. It is equally common for stories that appear in this way to be just as quickly debunked, leaving the public uncertain and unsure about who or what to believe. The real science gets mixed in with the fake science and pseudoscience and it becomes ever more difficult to differentiate between them...

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