Thirty Year 9 and 10 students recently took part in a day-long ‘Meitner Day’ experience to help encourage young women to pursue studies and careers in science.
Addressing the gender disparity seen nationwide across all STEMM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), creative learning company, ‘Links to a Life’, ran an immersive educational experience focusing on the life of Austrian, Lise Meitner, a little-known physicist who, throughout her career, made significant scientific discoveries in atomic physics and nuclear fusion that still have influences on the world today.
Students enjoyed morning workshops, where they were introduced to the mathematical and physics background to nuclear fission, as well as learning more about the scientists whose work contributed to the to the discoveries Meitner ultimately made. The day concluded with a play depicting Meitner’s life before, during and after the Second World War and the lasting effects of her work on the modern world, followed by a debate covering all aspects of her life from historical gender inequality, the importance of women in science and the injustices Meitner faced throughout her life and career.
Chris Salt, Teacher of Mathematics, said of the day: “At Newton Abbot College, we are always looking for new ways to challenge and inspire our students; this project, focusing on Lise Meitner’s incredible journey through the scientific discoveries of the early twentieth century, did just that. A great day to learn about the interconnectivity of mathematics, science and the sheer determination needed to succeed in a way that will inspire all young students, potentially encouraging some to take a leap of faith and consider a career in physics. Our future is dependent on engaging our students into science and technology.”