Harwell, UK – 16th April 2009: Today, His Royal Highness The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, met the winners of the National Science Competition, whose prize included a visit to Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron science facility, which is based on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in South Oxfordshire. HRH The Duke of York toured Diamond with Prof Gerd Materlik, Diamond’s Chief Executive, meeting some of the scientists and engineers behind this UK science success story before talking to the National Science Competition winners and finalists about the projects that led to their own success in this inclusive competition that covers all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths.
|HRH the Duke of York meets competition winners, Chris Jefferies and Peter Hatfield|
Among them were Peter Hatfield from Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury and Chris Jefferies from Pershore High School in Worcestershire. Peter Hatfield is the UK Young Scientist of the Year and his winning entry incorporated technology from CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in a device designed to detect cosmic rays. Testament to the outstanding quality of Peter’s device, the detector is due to be launched into space on a satellite in 2011. The title of UK Young Technologist of the Year went to Chris Jefferies who, together with his team-mates, designed and constructed devices that detect and prevent damage to the equipment used in the testing of gearboxes.
HRH The Duke of York commented: "The Harwell Science and Innovation Campus has a key role to play in keeping the United Kingdom at the forefront of scientific developments in trade and industry. It can provide inspiration for young people on a wide variety of science and engineering career paths. For youngsters such as the National Science Competition winners and finalists, being able to meet with the experts working at facilities such as Diamond is vital if we are to keep them excited about the prospect of a career in science or engineering".
|HRH the Duke of York with Prof. Gerd Materlik in the Diamond atrium|
Prof Gerd Materlik, Diamond’s Chief Executive, added, "We are extremely grateful to HRH the Duke of York for taking the time to visit Diamond and speak to our staff, all of whom are vital to the delivery of the science that we undertake here. It has also been a pleasure to welcome the National Science Competition winners and finalists to tour the facility and meet practicing scientists and engineers. Each of them has demonstrated a real talent and enthusiasm for creative thinking and for turning complex ideas into practical solutions. Their projects were extremely impressive and spanned a range of disciplines including space science, health, engineering, and the environment. All of these fields can be studied at Diamond so we hope that some of them will return to undertake research projects here in the future".
Whilst at Diamond, the National Science Competition winners and finalists learnt that the facility currently has 13 experimental stations up and running and that these ‘beamlines’ are being used to progress research in fields ranging from medical and environmental sciences to nanoscience and cultural heritage studies. In order to produce the brilliant beams of light that make this science possible, Diamond needs to accelerate electrons to nearly the speed of light. This results in the electrons travelling around the 561.6 metre long storage ring over 500,000 times a second, the same as 7.5 times around the Earth.
|HRH the Duke of York presents competition finalist, Hannah Johnston, with a gift|
The National Science Competition is a new initiative of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and responds to a recommendation in Lord Sainsbury’s report ‘The Race for the Top’. It is coordinated by the British Science Association (formerly the British Association for the Advancement of Science) with support from Young Engineers and the broad science and engineering community. The initiative has proved extremely popular with young science enthusiasts and, out of the 130 projects that were eligible to win the National Science Competition, two winners (the UK Young Scientist of the Year and the UK Young Technologist of the Year) and four runners-up were chosen by a panel of experts at the UK Young Scientists’ and Engineers’ Fair on 4-6 March 2009.
For members of the public who are interested in visiting Diamond Light Source, public open days called ‘Inside Diamond’ are held on a quarterly basis. Forthcoming dates are Saturday 23rd May when, as part of Artweeks, the public will also be able to view Diamond inspired artwork produced by 3 artists over the years, and Saturday 3rd October. To book for ‘Inside Diamond’, please call 01235 778431 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diamond is funded by the UK Government, through the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), which has an 86% shareholding, and the Wellcome Trust, the world's largest medical research charity funding research into human and animal health, which has a 14% shareholding.
Notes to Editors
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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