Monday, 19 January 2009

Sixth formers at Galaxy Zoo!

Great news advertised on the Galaxy Zoo Blog. If you're doing A levels in the UK, you can apply for a Nuffield bursary to spend a summer working at Galaxy Zoo!

It's not the first time young people have been involved - besides some wonderful ones on the forum, of course, we've had Ciaron, a sixth former who helped out with ring galaxies.

Work experience is a chancy business. When I was in sixth form (I will resist the temptation to wallow in annoyance that we were never even told Nuffield bursaries existed!), there was only one environmental place available. Two people applied, so it went to the guy doing Geography. (Nothing to do with the fact that the teacher in charge had once caught me climbing out of the window, obviously!) I ended up going to what was then called Hyder, which seems to have been renamed Welsh Water. I was disappointed at the time, but in fact it was a wonderfully informative experience, and I've been interested in water chemistry ever since. They not only later helped me out with a totally unrelated A level Chemistry project, but also with my university dissertation many years later. During my teaching course, I read an interesting paper which pretty much stated that people choose a science career very early in life. It studied some 12-year-olds who went on science and engineering school trips; those that decided, as a result of these visits, to be scientists, had not changed their minds several months later. So I don't doubt these two lucky young people will have their lives changed by this coming summer.

It looks as if Galaxy Zoo is going to develop a lot of educational aspects. More on that when they get around to announcing it, but I'm already thrilled. The best of luck to you sixth formers out there - go and apply! I am green with envy - but wish you a wonderful summer which broadens your horizons by many light years, and brings many galaxies and much happiness to your lives.

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