Science and STEM Milestones
Science is booming at Wenona as the students win awards in three competitions and engage with one of the country's top researchers.
Two Wenona students have been named recipients of 2022 School Science Awards as part of the Victor Chang Science Awards. Presented last night by The Mayor of North Sydney and representatives of the Victor Chang Institute, the Awards were established in 2004 in honour of pioneering cardiac surgeon, Dr Victor Chang. They celebrate young, gifted students and aim to stimulate growth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The Wenona students recognised were Mimi (Year 11) and Sophie (Year 11), who were also given the opportunity to hear from a lead researcher at the Institute about the latest research and learn of the importance of curiosity, imagination and passion for any successful scientific career.
Wenona STEM skills were recognised last weekend at the First Lego League Challenge Regional Qualifying Tournament, held on the University of Newcastle's Central Coast campus. The competition gives students a real-world engineering problem and challenges them to design, code, and build to solve it. Our team 'BrickBros' received the Innovators Award and has qualified for the national final on 3 December. All our teams performed admirably, demonstrating out-of-the-box thinking and strong collaboration as they accrued some of the skills required for a future career in engineering.
Two Year 9 Wenona students have jointly won the joint Years 7 to 9 section of the 'Making Dark Matter Come to Light' contest. Initiated by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics (CDM), it is a high school art contest with a difference that encourages students to apply their creativity to the concept of dark matter, thus spreading awareness and interest in this fascinating area of scientific research.
Tabitha (Year 9) was recognised for her piece Universe Glue (above). She reflected: "If theories are correct and axions are related to dark matter, then when dark matter (the glue that holds the universe together) exists at temperatures that are only just above absolute zero (so that no other objects can emit light/heat), it will emit a very faint light." Bethan (Year 9) was recognised for her work Noninteractive, "My interpretation of dark matter is based on the premise that it is not immediately visible but encompasses a lot of the universe," she said.
On Monday of this week Year 9 received a visit from Australia's leader in the new astronomical survey of the southern sky – Professor Sarah Brough from the University of New South Wales. Professor Brough recently secured ARC LIEF funding for 235 Australian astronomers to access the Vera C. Rubin Observatory's Legacy Survey of Space and Time. She has also been a key member of three major Australian-led surveys of galaxies, and has published over 240 research papers examining how galaxies have changed over time. It was a fantastic opportunity to immerse our students in the wonders of space, telescopes and useful techniques for calculating the distance to objects.