Scientists of tomorrow’s world gather at Priestley

Scientists of the future put green energy under the microscope at Priestley College on Wednesday.

The team from Sir Thomas Boteler built the most efficient water wheel.
The team from Sir Thomas Boteler built the most efficient water wheel.

The college welcomed 60 pupils from William Beamont, Sir Thomas Boteler and the Bankfield schools to its second science conference, sponsored by international chemical group Solvay.

“Our aim is to inspire young people to study science in the future,” said Tutor Shahida Khanam, who organised the conference.

The focus of the one-day event – which was attended by other businesses and Warrington Mayor Cllr Peter Carey – was green energy and sustainability.

Solvay, which is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary, supplied a team of engineers and scientists to help with the workshops and offer careers advice to those taking part.

Len Sharpe, Managing Director at Solvay, said: “It was wonderful to see how enthusiastically the students set about the experiments. It is important that we develop our scientists of the future and I am sure they will have gained a lot away from the day.”

Pupils, supported by students from Priestley College, enjoyed some fun experiments in Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

Bags of leeches, water fleas and dragonfly lava were delivered to Priestley in special packets so that pupils could investigate pond life in the confines of the laboratories.

“At the end of the day all the animals were returned safely to ponds,” said Biology Tutor Doctor Louise Norbury.

Students took a closer look at pond life during the science conference.
Students took a closer look at pond life during the science conference.

The youngsters also learnt about their own carbon footprint, produced a bio-degradable plastic in the laboratory and built waterwheels as they discovered more about alternative forms of energy and sustainability.

A team from Sir Thomas Boteler won a competition to build the most efficient waterwheel.

“I was impressed with the level of focus and activity in the labs,” said Elin Sohlberg, Managing Director at Perstorp, a world leader in the chemicals market which also supported the event.

“To stay competitive in a global market, a key success factor is access to competent scientists and engineers and the innovation skills shown in the lab reassure me that this important future competence base for the chemical industry is being developed as we speak.”

Julie Hitchin, from Solvay, said: “A most stimulating day for both students and helpers.

“I wish science had been taught with such enthusiasm and support when I was at school.”

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