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AWE’s A-level Science Challenge 2012

Bright sparks from local schools impressed organisers at this year’s AWE A-level Science Challenge on October 17.

This is an event run by AWE which forms part of the company’s ‘AWEsome Science’ campaign – an initiative which aims to foster an interest in science at a young age. The challenge is intended to complement schools’ curricula and encourage students in their study of science, through a series of challenges and puzzles.

Nine schools attended the event, at Tadley Community Centre, which was designed to test the students’ scientific knowledge in a series of three challenges in the morning, and a larger challenge in the afternoon. The event saw them tackling a variety of problems, including creating an energetic pyrotechnic reaction, solving a ‘crime’ by using forensic science techniques, navigating a laser through an optical maze and using trebuchets to fire at specific targets.

This event was a graduate project organised by a team of 10 AWE graduates with the guidance and help of project sponsor John Ansell, one of AWE’s assurance governance managers. The day concluded with a talk from Chief Scientist Peter Roberts, who shared insights from his career.
The feedback received was very positive with all students finding the challenges stretching but very exciting.

AWE’s Peter Adsley, said: “I thought that all of the graduates did absolutely brilliantly, making it a very fun, vibrant and interesting event and hence ideal from a learning perspective. All the students seemed enthusiastic, engaging with their challenges.”

AWE graduate, Heather Lacy, one of the event organisers, said: “I feel incredibly proud of our achievements; we have spent 10 months designing the challenges, using a trial day at Park House School in Newbury to develop them ensuring they stretch the students. It’s great that the students have participated with such enthusiasm, and the positive feedback has made us want to do it all over again.”

The winning team from St Bartholomew’s in Newbury won £500, a selection of signed popular science books, AWEsome Education t-shirts, a trophy donated by AWE’s Rapid Prototype team and a tour of Orion.

The Willink School in Reading came second, winning £250, a selection of popular science books and a trophy, and Kendrick School, in Reading, was also awarded a selection of popular science books as the most innovative team for demonstrating excellent time management and efficiency throughout the day.

Every student received a goody bag containing some gifts, as well as information packs from a variety of professional institutes to further promote future careers in science.

The other schools which competed were: The Abbey School, Reading; Highdown School, Reading; Kennet School, Thatcham; Little Heath Secondary, Reading; St. Gabriel’s School, Newbury and Trinity School, Newbury.

Notes to Editors

1.     AWE plays a crucial role in national defence by providing and maintaining warheads for Trident, the UK's nuclear deterrent

2.     AWE is contracted to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) through a Government-owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) arrangement. Whilst our sites and facilities remain in government ownership, their management, day to day operations, and the maintenance of the nuclear stockpile is contracted to a private company AWE Management Limited (AWE ML). AWE ML is a consortium comprising three equal partners: Serco Group plc, the Lockheed Martin Corporation and Jacobs Engineering Group.

3.     For further information contact Media@AWE.co.uk or 01189855888.

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