31 October 2012

The University of Queensland’s Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems student, Glen Harris, has been awarded an ATSE Youth Science Ambassador Award for science education and outreach.

“I've always been a very inquisitive person and physics represents, to me at least, the most fundamental concepts that govern the natural world,” Glen said.

Glen is completing his PhD in experimental physics as a student in EQuS.

Glen also is the president of The University of Queensland (UQ) Chapter of the Optical Society of America (OSA).

“OSA regularly joins forces with the UQ Physics Demo Troupe to take science education into the rural classroom, and this is where I started to develop my passion for science education,” Glen said.

OSA and the UQ Physics Demo Troupe have visited schools as far out as Cunnamulla, Warwick, Charleville, and St George.

“I'm concerned about a growing apathy towards science,” Glen said.

“I think school students are not getting exposure to really interesting science experiments, particularly in rural Queensland, which is where we focus our education efforts.

“It's also lots of fun doing science demos.”

As part of his ATSE Award, Glen has visited Atherton State High School to mentor the students with their “Wonders of Science” project.

“The project was to create a Rube Goldberg machine, which is an over complicated machine that does a simple task, in this case to pop a balloon,” he said.

“For example, a ball rolls onto a see-saw which triggers a switch that turns a motor attached to a needle that pops the balloon.”

The “Wonders of Science” program launched by ATSE this year, involves multiple schools in Queensland that design and conduct science experiments.

These experiments are judged at the end of semester.

Glen headed back to Atherton State High School to see how the student got on.

“I was delighted that the students from Atherton won for their age bracket (Year 8).”

“I went to Cairns to judge the other age brackets Year 7, Year 9 and Year 10, so was able to see what other solutions each school came up with.”

EQuS is an Australia Research Centre of Excellence that seeks to initiate the Quantum Era in the 21st century by engineering designer quantum systems.
Through focused and visionary research EQuS will deliver new scientific insights and fundamentally new technical capabilities across a range of disciplines.
Impacts of this work will improve the lives of Australians and people all over the world by producing breakthroughs in physics, engineering, chemistry, biology and medicine.

For more information about Research at EQuS visit equs.org or contact Lynelle Ross (lynelle.ross@uq.edu.au) or Glen Harris (glen.harris@uqconnect.edu.au).