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Orion laser facility

Orion is one of the most powerful lasers and largest laser facilities in the UK.

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ORION wows local students

As part of AWE’s focus on helping to inspire the next generation into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), winning groups of local students who took part in two separate challenges – at events during the summer – were given a treat, with a unique opportunity to visit the world-leading Orion laser. 

Fourteen students from the Clere School, Berkshire, won first prize for the AWE technical challenge at the TeenTech event while a group of five pupils, from the AWE-supported Royal Institution masterclasses, came out on top in the engineering challenge - where students had to design and build a trebuchet – testing it for accuracy and distance by catapulting balls and bean bags! The schools participating in the masterclass were Hurst Community College, Baughurst; Denefield School, Reading; Downs School, Newbury; Park House School, Newbury and the Everest Academy, Basingstoke. Both groups of students were given fascinating tours of Orion to find out about how the laser can recreate the temperatures and pressures found in the centre of the Sun.

Clere School pupil, Matt, said: “AWE was a great experience because it went into a lot of detail and it was so interesting to see how a laser actually works. It was amazing to see how much work goes into every experiment and the detail of how the data is captures and analysed. I felt it was a huge privilege to be able to go on the visit.”

 Head of Science at Clere School, Adrian Callaway, said: “Thank you so much for such an interesting visit. The enthusiasm of the presentation was hugely motivating for the students. It certainly will give them something to strive for in their remaining time at the Clere School. It was such a brilliant experience to visit the site to see what is happening at the cutting edge.”

 AWE has a thriving outreach programme with local schools and regularly hosts STEM events to enthuse pupils to enjoy the subjects. Last year, AWE launched the AWEsome Education Zone, a free online educational resource to support local schools. With the launch of the 2016 Young Scientist of the Year competition, AWE continues to foster and inspire an interest in science.

 Photo:

Pupils and teachers from Clere School accompanied by AWE staff

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